GTC's first incarnation, the SOCIETY PLAYERS (founder member Derek Green), came together in 1954, presenting mostly one-act plays for festival performance while also becoming, briefly, the GAINSBOROUGH AMATEUR DRAMATIC PLAYERS and then the COMEDY PLAYERS. 

By 1963, they had transformed into the COLLEGE PLAYERS, presenting their first show, "BONAVENTURE" at Queen Elizabeth's school hall. Building both an audience and a reputation, the company adopted the name of their home town in 1969 and became the GAINSBOROUGH THEATRE CLUB.


Several landmark performances were produced: in 1970 the company presented "THE CRUCIBLE" in Gainsborough's medieval Old Hall as part of the Mayflower Celebrations; in 1978, their first in-the-round performance, "UNCLE VANYA", was presented in the Town Hall; and in 1979 the company acquired the town's old police station and magistrates court, a grade II listed building in the heart of Gainsborough.

GTC Patron Douglas Parkinson leased the venue to the company for a nominal rent, and they transformed the premises to create a Bar, Coffee Room, Costume/Props stores and a unique 55-seater theatre-in-the-round where the courtroom had been. The newly rechristened OLD NICK THEATRE opened to the public in 1980 with "DEAR BRUTUS".

Douglas Parkinson became the company's first Honorary President, enjoying the results of his generosity until he died in 1993, paying GTC the ultimate compliment by leaving them the Old Nick building in his will.

The company's reputation continued to grow, not only at the Old Nick but through their occasional forays into other town venues with pantomimes and musicals, and their regular appearances at community events.

In 1992, they were awarded an unprecedented 5 awards, including Best Play, for their rock and roll version of Shakespeare's "A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM" at the Skegness Drama Festival (pictured above). The following year, they repeated this success with their original mystery play "CHRIST MASS". That production was selected for the National All-Winners Drama Festival, one of just four plays chosen from companies throughout Great Britain, and GTC scooped the Adjudicator's Award.


The new millennium saw another name change, to the GAINSBOROUGH THEATRE COMPANY, and the formation of an offshoot group. Responding to the increasing number of young people interested in joining, GTC set up the MIRROR IMAGE YOUTH THEATRE.

Run by its own senior members and supported by the parent company, Mirror Image have produced several full length shows and seasonal works, also providing actors and backstage personnel for GTC shows and events.

Also in 2000, the Old Nick Theatre, was featured in Yorkshire Televisions Calendar programme, as part of their series on unusual theatre venues in the region. Presenter Ian Clayton enjoyed an afternoon exploring the building and watching extracts from the latest production "SHIRLEY VALENTINE".

In 2005, the Company celebrated 25 years at their unique venue with a new production of their first Old Nick show "DEAR BRUTUS", attended by past members and local dignitaries. It also became part of the towns successful Ghost Walks programme.

In 2013 the company was awarded funding to establish plans for the major transformation of the Old Nick premises and facilities, these will continue to provide the best in local theatre well into the future. Also sadly this year Mirror Image has ceased to exist due to other commitments by it's leaders, however the creation of a new Youth Theatre company as a part of the GTC took place the following year.

Subsequently the cafe and bar areas, which had been seperate entities were remodeled with the assistance of a Grant from Wren and the work was undertaken by Gelders. The new much larger lounge cafe/bar area was formally opened by the Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable in September 2017.

The ground floor area of the building was converted into a Police Museum by our volunteers with the assistance of young people working for the Princes Trust. The majority of the exhibits on display are on loan from the Lincolnshire Police achive.  

Another chapter in the history of Gainsborough Theatre Company is being written...


 2000/2001 - Shirley Valentine, The Exorcism, Blithe Spirit, Two     - also Skegness Theatre Festival);

2001/2002 - September Tide, The Cemetary Club, Suddenly At Home, The Canterbury Tales;

2002/2003 - Murder By The Book, Dracula (also Felixstowe Theatre Festival), Trojan Women (original adaptation, also Fleetwood Theatre Festival), A Chorus Of Disapproval;

2003/2004 - Misery (also Wakefield Theatre Festival), Goodnight Mrs Puffin, Death & The Maiden, My Mother Said I Never Should;
2004/2005 - Strangers On A Train, Happy Jack, Dear Brutus, Talking Heads - A Chip In The Sugar, Bed Among The Lentils, A Lady Of Letters & Her Big Chance (also FTF);
2005/2006 - Separation, A Woman Of No Importance, Murderer, Dangerous Corner;
2006/2007 - One For The Road, A Touch Of Danger, Fool's Paradise, September In The Rain (also WTF);
2007/2008 - Improbable Fiction, Maladite's Last Christmas, Trespass, Our Day Out (with Mirror Image Youth Theatre);
2008/2009 - Wash Day Blues & Elvis (original script, also STF), The Killing Of Sister George, Iron, Maladite's Night In;
2009/2010 - A Life In The Theatre, The Little Photographer, Strictly Flamenco (original script), Rope; 
2010/2011 - Have You Heard The One..? (original script), Darker Shores, The Old Time Music Hall, Like A Virgin. 
2011/2012 - A Murder Has Been Arranged, A Kick In The Baubles, A Dickensian Christmas, Our Promise (original script), You're Only Young Twice.
2012/2013- The Edge of Darkness, A Day To Remember/Wardrobe Wars (also Sheffield and District Amateur Theatre Association One Act Play Festival 2013), Shakers, Take VII, Summer End;


The Secretary Bird, The Birthday Party (also STF), Pongo Plays, Home & Beauty, Ten Times Table, The Taming Of The Shrew, The Killing Of Sister George (also STF), Pink String & Sealing Wax, And A Nightingale Sang, The Seagull, Plaza Suite, Blithe Spirit, The Browning Version, Black Comedy, Arms & The Man, A Summer Day's Dream, Wait Until Dark (also STF), Mrs Kettle & Mrs Moon, Table Manners, Hindle Wakes (also STF), The Man Who Fell In Love With His Wife (also STF), Dial M For Murder, Godspell, Beside The Seaside, An Inspector Calls, Love Affair, The Other Fellows Oats, Playboy Of The Western World (pictured above), Relatively Speaking, Oh What A Lovely War, It Must Have Been Murder, Abigails Party (also STF), All For Mary, Candida, Butterflies Are Free (also STF), Witness For The Prosecution, Happy Birthday, Deathtrap, The Wizard Of Oz, Brimstone & Treacle (also STF).


Miscellany, The Crucible, The Reluctant Debutant, They Don't Grow On Trees, Maria Marten, As Good As New, The Killing Of Sister George, She Stoops To Conquer, The Chalk Garden, Spring & Port Wine, Goodnight Kathy, Boeing Boeing, Dangerous Corner, Look Back In Anger, Pygmalion, I Am A Camera, Gaslight, Little Boxes, Rookery Nook, Rain, Hay Fever, Big Bad Mouse, Time Present, The Enchanted Well, Thunder Rock, Ring Around The Moon, Habeus Corpus, A Doll's House, The Wizard Of Oz, The House By The Lake, How The Other Half Loves, Clifford The Computer (original script), Uncle Vanya, The Dock Brief, The Real Inspector Hound, The Night Of The Ia, Time & Time Again, Ghost Train, A Midsummer Night's Dream, How's The World Treating You, Just Between Ourselves. 
The Owl & The Pussycat.