History:1876 – 1977

[1876 - 1977] [1980 - 2000] [2000 - Present]

Our first records of the Company are details of the third annual dramatic entertainment at the Royal Aquarium Theatre in 1876, under the name The London and Westminster Amateurs. The production was a double bill, An Ugly Customer and The Honeymoon. There are however, clear indications from the Bank’s archives that the Company existed even before.

After the First World War the Company was renamed The Westminster Bank Dramatic and Operatic Society, and mention is made of a production of The Arcadians in which a live horse was ridden across the stage!

Up to the Second World War the Company presented three shows a year, with Gilbert and Sullivan well represented. Theatres used included the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End.
Postwar productions were restrained due to a lack of finances and a change in musical style was seen in the late 1950s and early 1960s with productions of Oklahoma and Carousel (received well by the Daily Telegraph critic!).

1966 saw the UK Amateur Premiere of’Little Me following the Southern Amateur Premiere of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Throughout the 60s and 70s various venues were used by the Company, including the Steiner Theatre. the Westminster Theatre and Queen Mary’s Hall.
In 1970, the Westminster Bank merged with The National Provincial Bank to form National Westminster Bank Plc, and the company changed its name accordingly, first to The National Westminster Theatre Club, and then to The NatWest Theatre.

In 1974 the Company produced Me and My Girl, introducing the late Buster Merryfield, who went on to find fame as Uncle Albert in Only Fools and Horses. Buster worked for NatWest as a manager in London at the time, and left the Bank to follow a full time acting career in 1977. The late 70’s saw The Golden Lane Theatre become the home of the Company.