top of page



It all began in 1954  when Duns Players staged its first production, the comedy 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' by John Dighton. The title is borrowed from the old saying that schooldays are the happiest of our lives, and the plot has a strong post-war flavour: Thanks to a bureaucratic bungle, St Swithin’s girls’ school is relocated from its bombed-out  premises to Hilary Hall boys' school, with interesting results for pupils, teachers and parents.   

'Happiest Days' was followed with a new production a year (sometimes two) until 1969, when falling membership, possibly compounded by a loss of stage audiences to cinema, left Duns Players in temporary suspension.

In 2008, however, help arrived in the shape of actor, musician, writer and man-about-Duns, Bob Noble, who revived the group with a staging of the inimitable 'Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of Macbeth'.

Since then, Duns Players has grown, thrived and branched into ever more adventurous theatrical territory, from Shakespeare to world premieres, from one-act plays to musicals. In 2023, for example, we will be staging at least five separate productions, including 'Colonel Anne' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

If you would like to find out more about Duns Players or to join us on- or off-stage, please contact us via our Contact Page. We would love to hear from you.


John McEwen.jpg

John McEwen, Chair

Eloner Crawford, Secretary

Jerry Ponder, Treasurer

Below: John McEwen playing Siegfried Sassoon in Duns Players' 2022 production of  Not About Heroes

Siegfried at Lecturn.JPG

2016    Gagarin Way

             Dancing at Lughnasa

            You Dunce!

            Blackadder Goes Forth

2017    The Importance of Being Earnest

            Broth & Dead Dad Dog

            The Importance of Being Earnest at Paxton House

            Fire & Ice: Refugee Monologues

2018    Blithe Spirit (and at Paxton House)

            Singing I’m No A Billy He’s A Tim                                                (and at The Hippodrome, Eyemouth)

            Oh What A Lovely War (with DDAOS)

2019    DunsPlayFest staged three Duns Players’ productions:

           Somethin for Nothin by Thomas Clark                                          Better at the Strath by Campbell Hutchison 

            Margarets by John McEwen.

            Also featured was:

            The Shortlist by Bob Noble

            Colonel Anne by David Shirreff 

            Turning Tide by Emily Larner

            No Regress by Robert Sproul-Cran

            First Steps by Anita John.

2019 cont

             Play It Again, Tam (three plays from DunsPlayFest)                   Macbeth    

2020    There were no productions in 2020.

2021    DunsPlayFest online festival, which included Duns                  Players’ Borderlands plays by Craig Knight, Kevin                    Purvis &  Eloner Crawford,  Leein’ Jamie, an                                 adaptation of a Wilson’s Tale by Michael Fenty, and                Whit like? written and performed by John McEwen.

2022    The Ladykillers

             DunsPlayFest included eight Duns Players' works:                     A Haggle of Witches by Kevin Purvis

             Nothing Ever Happens in Duns by Bob Noble                             Perception by Peter Lerpiniere

             Rainbow’s Ending adapted by Eloner Crawford

             Borderland Plays by Alex Watson, Linda Gray

              & Craig Knight                        

             Look Out by Robert Sproul Cran

             Be Still A Man by Michael Fenty

             The Freebooter of Coldstream adapted by Anita John.

             DunsPlayFest online included You Can’t                                       Always Get What You Want by John McEwen.

2022 cont

              Jim Clark the Musical

              Not About Heroes

Duns Players' productions 1954 - 2023

1954   The Happiest Days of Your Life

           This Was Odd

1955   One Wild Oat

           Open Verdict

1956    Dear Octopus

1957    Bonaventure  

1959    Ladies in Retirement

1960    Sailor Beware

1961    Candied Peel

1962    Breath of Spring

1963    The Blue Goose

1964    Night Must Fall

1965    Chiltern Hundreds

1966    Blithe Spirit

1967    Home at Seven

1968    Ghosts and Old Gold

1970s - 2007 Duns Players rests

2008    Bob Nobel revives Duns Players

2009    The Farndale Avenue Housing                                Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic                  Society’s Production of Macbeth

2009    Murder at the Vicarage

2010    Celebration

2011    Fawlty Towers

            Eyeload 4

            Talking Heads selection

            Brylcreem Boys

2012    Talking Heads selection on tour 

            Fawlty Towers

            The Tree of Knowledge

            Tracey’s Hen Do

             Calendar Girls

            Flare Path

2013    More Talking Heads

            Steptoe & Son and The Vicar of Dibley

            Tracey’s Wedding

            Flodden Walk

            Glengarry Glen Ross

            Roll Out The Barrel, incl Dad’s Army

2014    Talking Heads on tour

            Vicar of Dibley & Dad's Army

            A Reiver’s Carol

            Ladies’ Day

            We Will Remember Them

Bob Noble headshot.jpg


It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of our much-loved President, Bob Noble, on Friday 9th June. 

Bob was an exceptional person of great character and talent, and he will be very much missed by Duns Players, as well as his many friends, contacts

and, of course, his family.  

Duns Players' Chairman, John McEwen, writes:

We are devastated to report that our President, the great Bob Noble, has died. Here pictured in a photo he didn't much like, Bob was a wonderful person, and our hero. He revived Duns Players in the early years of this century and is entirely responsible for the troupe's subsequent success.

As well as his many achievements in the world of farming (for which he received an MBE), Bob was a supremely talented musician, a carpenter of skill and imagination, and an excellent actor.

The many roles he played on the stages of Duns, for Duns Players and Duns & District Amateur Operatic Society in particular, include both Jesus Christ and God Almighty. He was beloved by all. His bravery in many battles against ill health was phenomenal.

This year, in February, Bob made a brilliant job of leading an evening of cabaret entertainment based on his life story and musicianship (see review in News below). In May he provided "Still Nothing Ever Happens in Duns", which proved the greatest hit of DunsPlayFest. He will be missed with immense sadness as well as with astonishment and delight and gratitude from all those who will feel forever blessed to have known such a fellow. The greatest of all Bob's many great achievements was to find Joan who was the only person who could have performed the unique task of being Bob's wife. She is amazing and we send our deepest sympathies to her, Gus and Kirsty and the lovely grandchildren. Bob was a strong believer and we salute him as he continues on his journey. Thanks, Bob, it was great knowing you. Farewell. 

bottom of page