The society began it's life as an outlet of the United Reformed Church of Westhoughton (affectionately known as the Bethel) during the late 1940s. Each year, the members of this group performed a gang show entitled 'The Bethel Boys'. Unfortunately, this was disbanded in 1963 due to the hiring of a new minister who did not appreciate the power of performance.
However, in the Autumn of 1972, a group of church goers led by Jim Unsworth and Colin Crompton decided to start the group up again, but this time, with both males and females involved, thus the name 'Bethel Crowd' was coined.
They set about the huge task of re-conditioning the old stage, rebuilding most of it in order for it to be safe, and finding new 'bethelers' to perform.
In 1973, The Bethel Crowd performed their first show , a revue entitled 'Showtime '73'. It was a great success and many more friends joined us to work behind the scenes, on props, costumes and stage.
January 1974 saw the Bethel produce its first pantomime and it has grown from strength to strength ever since.
Around 1980 the Bethel began a Junior Workshop, giving the younger generation a chance to perform on the Bethel's stage. Several years later, it was, unfortunately, disbanded until 2001 when the brand new Bethel Crowd Youth Theatre performed 'Bugsy Malone'
Even today there is still a huge link with the church. The Chairman, Peter, leads worship at the Church, the Vice-Chairperson, Ben, Assistant Secretary Lisa, the Ticket Secretary Bob and his wife Anne are all members of the congregation, and several other members of the society have decided to marry in the church, due to their powerful connection.
Every production we see several new members arrive and old depart. Although we are always happy to see our members progress onto bigger and better things, they will always be Bethelers at heart and most importantly our friends.
Thank you to everyone for your continuing support.
"Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to."
– Willem Dafoe