The English-Speaking Players Association
THESPA Founded in 1979
Patron Sweeland Ford
Members of the THESPA Board for 2018
Geoffrey Stansfield - President
Wendy Smith - Vice President
Janet Gillett - Secretary
Albert Doody - Treasurer
Shirley Knauf - Membership Secretary
Julie Belham-Payne - Committee
A few Notes for THESPA members
We hope that you will find them helpful.
Bookings for THESPA productions can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 622454422
If you have the choice it is always better to book by email rather than by phone.
If you use the phone number you are likely to reach our THESPA voicemail - so please leave a message.
If you book by email or phone can you please provide the following information:
Total number of places required
The names of those in your party
Whether you require the set meal or vegetarian option
How THESPA can contact you
As our Venue has limited seating capacity, THESPA bookings will be taken and made on a strictly first come, first served basis.
THESPA is always looking for more of its members to participate in their monthly productions, either as players or directors.
Please inform any member of the THESPA Board should you be interested or simply require further information. They will be most pleased to help.
Increased THESPA Membership
THESPA continues to strive to increase its current membership. The annual fee still remains at the modest 10 Euros!
If you have enjoyed your evening, and we really hope you have, then please retain this evening’s programme and pass it on to a friend or acquaintance. They could be interested in attending one of THESPA’S forthcoming evenings and seeking membership.
A Brief History of THESPA The Story so far
These notes in the main, kindly prepared by Margaret Spencer-Brooks, one of Thespa’s founding members.
THESPA (The English Speaking Players Association) was founded by Patricia Hammill in March 1979. The title evolved thus: -
“Thespian” the classical word for the “actor”. English-speaking” because anyone who could speak the language was welcome as a member, regardless of his or her nationality.
There was not theatre on the Costa del Sol at that time. The premises known as “Salon Varieties” in Fuengirola were used as a warehouse.
THESPA productions were first staged in the ballroom of the Hotel Las Palmeras on a temporary platform, complete with lighting and curtains.
The ‘green room’ was a small bar opposite the hotel named “Jan’s Pantry”. In the early days THESPA was as much operatic as dramatic. A number of musicals were presented with piano accompaniment including an excellent production of “Fiddler on the Roof”. In 1984 THESPA put on the show “Music Hall” with Richard Knight as M.C. The director, Norman Richards OBE, rang Margaret Spencer-Brooks and her late husband Eric when they were in England, requesting they come out for the show as straight singers.
Early in 1985 Norman Richards rang again informing them that the least of the warehouse building was up and THESPA would like to make a bid for it, provided the necessary funds could be raised. Would they help? They did and the necessary funds were found.
THESPA acquired a long lease. The warehouse had originally been built as a Zarzuela theatre in 1925 and ran as a theatre until 1956 when it became a cinema, showing films mainly in Spanish and once a week in English. It was renamed by THESPA “Salon Varieties” and opened on the 14th June 1985.
For a period of 16 years THESPA regularly staged many shows until in 2001 “SALVA”, short for “Salon Varieties” was formed as a separate management body. It has continued and expanded by way of a very wide range of productions to the present day in a semi-professional format.
After 2005 THESPA adapted to the present arrangement of acted play readings in a more informal and social manner. In this revised format THESPA has staged their regular monthly productions at a number of venues, including “Veramar”, the Danish Club at Pueblo Lopez, the “Riverside” in Los Boliches, “Crumps Restaurat” in Pueblo Lopez and currently the Masonic Centre in Los Boliches.
THESPA can be proud to have made a small contribution to professional theatre in the UK. A young man named Keith, a former schoolboy actor in England, joined us, became a Bar Manager of Salon Varieties and finally made it into the London theatres as a successful actor. A young girl, Angharad, teenage daughter of two THESPA members, who played suitable your parts for us, went on to win the Margaret Rutherford Scholarship to R.A.D.A.
THESPA continutes on the Costa; Long may it be!
Thespa Members "treading the boards".