The RATS were formed in 1974 and the first production, ‘Cinderella’ was performed at Braunston Village Hall in January 1975. The RATS were able to use the hall for reasonable rent and allowed to build a stage and put up lighting which in thosedays were just footlights. The facilities were fairly basic and the dressing room was minute, sometimes we would have 25 to 30 people in at one time!
There has always been a regular cycle of 3 performances a year, a panto at the start of the year, a play in the Spring and sometimes a musical show or aseries of one act plays in the Autumn. This cycle has continued up to the present day.
RATS have a long history of performing Music Hall and as part of Oakham Festival and in 2004 we were able to revive that tradition. The audience always used to dress up in their ‘hats and boas’ and join in with all the fun of the “Good Old Days”.
In 1989 we moved to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre based at Oakham School, where we
continued to perform quality amateur drama, in fact the group has competed in Leicestershire One Act Play festival over many years and won every award in the festival. It was especially exciting in 2004 when one of our younger members won best young actress. RATS has always been proud of their ability to encourage young talent.
The RATS changed its name to Rutland Arts Theatre Society in 2001, but we are still the RATS and will always be known by that name. In 2006 we moved to the Victoria Hall which we have now made this our home and this is where all future productions are to be held.
The RATS are the only Amateur drama group in Oakham and continue to maintain a high standard of production for our loyal followers. We still perform 3 productions a year and always do a ‘home grown’ pantomime at the beginning of every year to the delight and enjoyment of the people of Oakham, both young and old!