The Blane Valley Players

village activities

There have been amateur drama societies in the village on and off since the late 1800s. Current records cover the existence in the 1960s of the Strathblane Amateur Drama Club which produced a number of plays at the Edmonstone Hall, attracting good-sized audiences. One review, in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald in 1965, of the comedy play ‘Friends and Neighbours’, described it as a ‘tremendous success’. The producer was Daphne Leach and the actors included club president Frank Kane, Ron Spalding, William Linning, Joan Miller, Joan Duncan, Rita Sinclair and Hugh Cameron.

The cast of the 1965 production of “Friends and Neighbours” by Strathblane Amateur Drama Club

That same year the hard-working club put on a Christmas comedy play, ‘The Geese are Getting Fat’, by Arthur Watkyn. Again Daphne Leach was the producer, and the cast included Sheila Harrison, Carol Cook, Rene Morrison, David Leach, Audrey McLaren, John Miller and Tom Wright.

The latest resurrection of acting performances saw the Blane Valley Players put on a spectacular series of pantomimes and plays between 1998 and 2009 at the Edmonstone Hall. Typical shows included:

  • Dick Whit?”, the January 2002 pantomime
  • “Waiting for Percy”, a play in 2006
  • “Raiders of the Lost Lamp”, the January 2004 pantomime
  • “Babes in the Wood”,  the final pantomime in January 2009

The Players also performed a memorable play in 2003 about the history of the Blanefield Printworks, the massive Victorian enterprise that employed 500 men, women and children in the second half of the 1880s. Written by Murray O’Donnell and Lynne Arrol – who also wrote scripts and music for other BVP productions – it introduced many local people to a part of their history of which they knew little.

The performances were usually a sell-out, created as they were by a strong writing team, based heavily on local characters and scenarios and drawing on an unexpectedly deep reservoir of local acting skills.

The founder of the Players, and producer of many of their productions, was Joyce Ward from Netherblane who sadly died in August 2023. Her back-of-stage team included Joyce Simpson, who also acted in many of the shows, Patsy Fischbacher on piano, Alan Morris on sound, Lynne Arrol who wrote some of the material, Peter Wilks, David Green and Graham Dawson on lighting, Mike Fischbacher on posters and publicity and Kim Kinnear on make-up.

A regular feature of the pantomimes was the Lynda Turner Dancers. Indeed such was the splendid encouragement provided for the village’s younger talent that many primary school pupils found themselves participating, some of them growing into major roles in future productions.

Amongst the leading actors over the Players’ 11 years were Martin Arrol, Roderick Barclay, MacLean Currie, Gareth Dale, Billie Ferguson, Phillip Graves, John McCaig, Malcolm McLean, Michael O’Neill, Gillian Petrie, Susan Rhind, Rodger Simpson…..and of course the late, great Murray O’Donnell, whose ‘informal’ style of acting won rafts of applause while confusing his fellow-actors.

Will the village ever see another local drama group arise to entertain and inform its audiences?


Please let the website know if you can date these photographs.


Blanefield Thistle

A true tale of footballing fortunes.  Your recently-formed village football club obtains the priceless opportunity to play one of the nearby city’s leading clubs after a good first run in the Scottish Cup against rival local teams. As this is likely to provide...

Blane Valley Burns Club

The club’s own painting of Robert Burns, by local artist Norrie Barclay. Itself a copy of the famous Alexander Nasmyth portrait (above), mysteriously disappeared in the mid-1990s. (National Portrait Gallery)  Picture the scene: a snowy January evening at the...

Strathblane Lawn Tennis Club

On a pleasant summer’s evening back in the late 1990s, Strathblane Lawn Tennis Club president Professor David Hole and a fellow-player headed to Dunblane for a doubles match in the Lawn Tennis Association’s Central Scotland league. Their cheery mood was enhanced when...

Strathendrick Pipe Band

A comforting and familiar sight and sound, the Band is a regular feature of village life, including its stirring playing at the annual Remembrance Sunday service and parade in November. Its weekly rehearsals at the Edmonstone Hall make themselves known to the Glasgow...