Horndean Amateur Theatrical Society

The History of HATS

HATS is probably one of the oldest amateur theatre groups in Hampshire, having been around for well over half a century.

Back in 1946, a group of friends went to see the dress rehearsal of a play being performed at the church hall. This inspired them to form their own drama group which was set up under the auspices of the Horndean Social Centre, later to become the Horndean Community Association.

The group quickly moved into play production, initially confining themselves to one-act plays. Rehearsals for these early productions were held in the opulent and impressive surroundings of the dining room of Cadlington House in nearby Blendworth. The final product was performed to much acclaim at the Annual Cadlington House Garden Party.

Cadlington House in the early 20th Century.
Taken from the book 'Horndean 2000' by Barry Stapleton

The first full length play to be performed by the group was “The Camel's Back” by Arnold Hesley. The play was very well received and this success really launched the group for its future ventures, not knowing then that the group would still be going strong into the 21st Century.

The Society later moved to Merchistoun Hall in the early 1950s which has remained the home of HATS ever since. The members of HATS can now enjoy a well equipped stage and backstage area dressing rooms and space for the storage of scenery and props. HATS can also boast the use of modern lighting and sound systems along with a 'Loop System' for the hard of hearing.

In 1987, HATS officially became a Section of the Horndean Community Association.