AN amateur theatrical group has launched a fundraiser to make repairs to its shed and replace aging equipment as it comes up to celebrating 60 years on stage.

Colne Engaine Dramatic Society has been treading the boards at the village hall for six decades.

Formed in 1963, the group’s first performance was on January 17, 1964, with the show called An Evening of Victoriana, directed by Dudley Swell and assisted by Jean Pudney, both founder members.

Braintree and Witham Times: OLD SCHOOL: The group’s first performance on January 17, 1964OLD SCHOOL: The group’s first performance on January 17, 1964 (Image: Brian Fleming)

Over the years the group has put on more than 180 shows including 58 pantos, which have been seen by a collective audience of nearly 40,000.

Members range from eight years old to cast in their 80s.

A spokesman said: “It’s a privilege to be following in the footsteps of our founding members and looking at past photos.

"Recognising familiar faces, seeing a faithful costume or prop still in use and laughing at captured behind-the-scenes mishaps, knowing that we will also be fondly remembered and looked upon in years to come.”

The group is now looking to repair its storage shed and equipment to continue on “for another 60”.

Braintree and Witham Times: BIG MILESTONE: The Colne Engaine Dramatic Society is celebrating 60 years on stageBIG MILESTONE: The Colne Engaine Dramatic Society is celebrating 60 years on stage (Image: Brian Fleming)

The spokesman said: “We have in the past managed to fund essential repairs needed ourselves, but due to Covid and lockdown we were not allowed to tread the boards for almost three years.

“With no productions, there were no audiences which had a huge impact on our income.

“With rising costs, we need money for costumes, props, stage scenery and our aging lighting and sound equipment, but especially our 40-year-old shed, which is the heart of CEDS, housing everything we need.

“We do our best to maintain the shed yearly but now 40 years on and with several bees living within the cavities, we need to do extensive repairs costing more than we have in group funds.

“So, in our 60th year, we are fundraising to make repairs to our shed and replace some aging equipment so we and other generations beyond us can perform for another 60 years.”

To donate, visit

Colne Engaine Dramatic Society is staging Caught in the Act on May 18, 19 and 20.

For more information or tickets, visit