In 1957 several members of the cast of Dry Rot at the Whitehall Theatre, including the great farceur Brian Rix, sat in the green room between a matinee and evening show listening to a new cricket commentary programme called Test Match Special. This sparked many cricketing anecdotes. History doesn’t relate which actor came up with the notion of having a Whitehall eleven, but a team was soon put together.
Word quickly travelled to the company of No Time for Sergeants, then playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre, with 20 young men in the cast. A match was arranged between the two theatres at Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath. The Dry Rot eleven included Brian Rix, John Slater and Leo Franklyn, while the No Time for Sergeants featured Anthony Booth, Roddy McDowall, and a young actor called Douglas Blackwell. Sadly, there is no record of who won, but the seed had been sown and soon other West End theatres put together their own sides.
The following year Dougie was instrumental in forming The London Theatres Cricket Club. Actors, singers, dancers, musicians, stage management, lighting and sound designers joined the club and a series of fixtures were secured. 1958 was LTCC’s first season. We’ve been turning out every summer Sunday since then.
The alumni of LTCC reads like a who’s who of British Theatre, TV and film. From Sean Connery, Sam Kydd, William Franklyn, Leslie Crowther and Bernard Bresslau to Philip Stone, Roger Mutton, Peter Hughes….(and occasionally his son, Simon), Clement Freud, Ray Cooney and….the master…..Anthony Ainley. Over the years the club has broadened its casting remit.
These days we have producers, directors, musical directors, actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, designers, but also many from outside “the business”, including doctors, recruitment directors, consultants, event organisers and plumbers!
We pride ourselves in playing the glorious game in the right spirit, competitively, but with a smile on our faces. As a wandering side we travel to many beautiful grounds, usually within the M25, but occasionally venturing further afield to Warwickshire, Berkshire, Bukinghamshire, Sussex and Hampshire.
We generally play 40 over matches, but this is at the discretion of the home team. Our season begins in mid-April and our last fixture is the first weekend in October. We don’t play league cricket.
We are always on the lookout for new talent. If you’re a cricketer looking for a new club, a lover of this wonderful game, please get in contact.
As we begin our 63rd season, we look forward to each game as a new challenge. Old rivalries will be renewed, new alliances formed. If you would like to join a forward looking, friendly cricket club, London Theatres CC would love to hear from you.