A drama society based in Amersham began celebrations for its 70th anniversary this week by launching an exhibition about their history.

The Amersham Playgoers Theatre Group was founded in 1946 by a group of local residents hoping to brighten up the community during the post-war period.

Plays were first performed in the theatre in Station Road, Amersham, now the auction rooms. Following that, productions were moved to Chesham Bois Church Hall and in 1970 to the Amersham Community Centre and, specifically, the Drake Hall, where they still perform today.

Louise Audoin, a third generation member, tells me: “I first acted with Playgoers in Murder in Play in 1998. After returning from university in 2002 I took part in Steel Magnolias and have been seen regularly on stage since then.

“Acting has always been in my blood and although I have dabbled with other groups, Playgoers is where my heart is. Seventy years ago my grandparents George and Vera Marks were founder members of this lovely group. My mother Rosemary Marks first trod the boards here playing Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank at the age of 15 and in the 70s she met my father David Audoin when he joined. The Amersham Playgoers really is a part of me and I am delighted to be a part of it.”

Their exhibit in the Amersham Museum takes you through the history of Playgoers, and also takes you through their creative process of each production.

Their anniversary show will be in November. I spoke to the director, Ros Thomas, about how important it is.

“Its going to be a version of The Wizard of Oz. I wanted something that was a little bit different to what we normally do. It’s not going to be a pantomime. It was very difficult to decide what to do because we have got a very diverse group of members. We’ve got some people in their 30s and then we’ve got a lady who is 85, I think.

“On an anniversary production you want to involve lots of people so I wanted to choose something that lots of people can be in and with The Wizard of Oz even though there are only a handful, ten maybe, principal characters, there are a lot of people as well like the Munchkins or the people from Emerald City. Most people have an affection for the Wizard of Oz, we’ve all seen it as children.”

Without wanting to add to the pressure, I couldn’t resist asking if she was feeling any.

“I’ve done big productions before. It doesn’t bother me. When you direct, really direct, you eat sleep and breathe it. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it so you’ve got to like it.

“The pressure for me is will all the members enjoy it in rehearsal. It is our hobby and we rehearse for about three months at a time and I think that’s the pressure, I don’t want people to come to rehearsals thinking it’s a drag. It’s a celebration of the 70 years.”

Amersham Museum, 49 High St, Amersham, HP7 0DP, until Sunday, June 19. Details: 01494 723700