Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

The Bethel Crowd

About Us

Bethel Crowd Youth TheatreA long-established amateur dramatic group that had been performing at Westhoughton United Reformed Church (The Bethel) over many years until its closure in 2019; usually putting on two to three shows per year with a traditional Pantomime in January, a youth production during the summer and an autumn show, with performances running over a couple of weeks. Not only does the group provide an opportunity for local talent to try their hand at acting and performance, but it also provides opportunities in stage craft (design and building), as well as costume design and the technical aspects of putting on a show.

Following the closure of the United Reformed Church, the society was was able to rehearse at Daisy Hill Football Club, whilst looking for venues for their shows. They are currently based at The Hub, Westhoughton where they are able to rehearse and put on smaller shows such as murder mysteries.

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd putting on a show - The Dracula SpectacularThere is a focus on youth and The Bethel Crowd has seen many a young performer gain confidence and experience and go on to do well at senior school, university and beyond. Youth productions are fun and rewarding for those involved, offering challenge, routine and a good sense of team-work, The shows come thick and fast, and offer plenty of opportunity to get involved whether acting or in support roles. Whether the iconic Bugsy Malone, the school favourite The Dracula Spectacular or the classic Wizard of Oz, the shows are always of a high standard and well worth checking out.

Audition Process

Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival 2nd / 3rd July 2016 - Bethel Crowd perform songs from upcoming Little shop of Horrors productionThere is an initial meeting for anyone interested in auditioning or being part of the production; followed shortly after, an audition preparation evening for practice, pointers and tips for readings of parts prior to casting… before formal, open auditions usually on a Sunday afternoon. Audition pieces are uploaded to allow would-be cast members to prepare.

New talent - the lifeblood of a successful drama society is always welcome and encouraged.

Bethel Crowd: Upcoming Productions

Panto: Rapunzel

The 2024 panto is 'Rapunzel'. Auditions and casting took place in summer and rehearsals began after the September show ('Bombs and Blackberries'). The story of Rapunzel is a well-known fairytale that kids love; a girl with beautiful long golden hair who was locked up in a tower by an evil witch! Can she defeat her captor and lived happily ever-after with her Prince?

The venue this time round is Peace Community Theatre, Rishton Lane, Great Lever, Bolton BL3 2BN and performances take place Friday and Saturday 23rd and 24th February (7:15pm) with a Saturday matinee (2:15pm).

Tickets for all shows available online through Ticket Source or order by calling 01942 790578.

The Bethel Crowd has been involved in the Westhoughton Town Centre Regeneration Project and is hopeful that plans for the Library and Carnegie Hall can be of benefit to the group as it reaches its 50-year anniversary. Bethel Crowd Submission.

Bethel Crowd: Recent Productions

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd - 'Bombs and Blackberries' Bombs and Blackberries (Wartime Drama / Wartime Songs - 2023)

Bethel Crowd autumn show was a heart-warming wartime-themed countryside evacuation story by awarding-winning Gruffalo author, Julia Donaldson. A one-act play that follows a group of evacuees through the Second World War. Perfect for all the family, we saw the Chivers family and friends and a tale of separation, uncertaintly and togetherness with drama and songs. The second part of the performance featured wartime songs to sing along and tap your feet to sung by the cast.

Performances Friday 15th and Saturday 16th September with a special matinee show on the Saturday at St. James CoE High School, Lucas Road, Farnworth (BL4 9RU).

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd - Murder Mystery 'The Great British Bump Off!' The Great British Bump Off! (Murder Mystery - 2023)

One for local super-sleuths. A fun evening (with a pasty and peas supper) at the Hub in the company with the Bethel Crowd ensemble bringng you a 'whodunnit?' loosely based around a famous cookery competition! Performances took place Friday 24th and Saturday 25th March

You Still Can't Stop The Beat: A Musical Revue (2022)

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd 2022 Revue Show - You Still Can't Stop The Beat Originally to be performed in 2020, this Musical Revue show had to be postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. The troupe were delighted to be able to perform the show as their first post-Covid production at St James' High School in Farnworth from September 22nd to 24th 2022 (Bolton News article). The revue featuring songs and dances from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Wizard of Oz, Blues Brothers and many other shows.

Whilst it was great to be back and performing on stage in a dedicated theatre, unfortunately not being in Westhoughton hit numbers attending and there were some issues with the company managing the theatre at the school which affected the schedule. So, whilst still without an suitable space for staging bigger shows, the Bethel Crowd is currently rehearsing and putting on smaller shows such as Christmas Nativity shows and Murder Mysteries at The Hub on Central Drive - grateful to be able to keep going.

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd 2022 Revue Show - You Still Can't Stop The Beat rehearsal 'You Still Can't Stop The Beat' was a most enjoyable show with great performances throughout. A representative from NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association), the charity for amateur theatre societies, came to see the show gave a glowing review. The show received nominations for the NODA North West District 5 Awards 2022 for Best Concert and Best Staging, with a special nomination for Dorothy Ward for the Unsung Hero in Amateur Theatre Award - Dorothy has been continuity backstage and raffle ticket seller for over 40 years, and has occasionally been on stage as well. In getting the nomination she said: "I am so proud of our small town amateur dramatic society, and the town should be too, especially after all they have had to bear [lately/loss of home]."

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd 2019 Panto - Little Red Riding HoodLittle Red Riding Hood (2019)

After all the preparation and rehearsals the classic tale of 'Little Red Riding Hood', the little girl running errands for granny and a hungry and devious wolf running amok in the woods… As usual, a pantomime with fun - and scary - moments… singing and dancing and audience participation encourages.

Performances took place over the weekends of 18th/19th & 25th/26th January. After which preparations soon began the next Youth Theatre production 'Hoodwinked' (a swashbuckling Robin Hood musical) (Jnue 2019).

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd Autumn 2018 production The Wizard of OzThe Wizard of Oz (2018)

The 2018 autumn, show performed 14th/15th & 21st/22nd September, was the RSC version of the colourful, endearing and enduring classic 'The Wizard of Oz' as adapted from the film for the stage. The story of Kansas girl Dorothy dreaming of what lies over the rainbow. A storm and an epic journey of mystery, discovery and challenges as she is joined by a Scarecrow, a Tinman, and a Cowardly Lion as they search for Wizard who can help Dorothy get home. There are witches, Munchkins, yellow brick roads and of course, Toto the dog. Some great songs including: 'Over The Rainbow', 'Munchkinland (Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead)', 'If I Only Had A Brain…', 'We're Off To See The Wizard', and more.

After all the hard work on stage and off, a fun and engaging show, drawing good audiences over its 2-week run, with some great performances.

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd 2018 Pantomime AladdinAladdin (2018 Panto)

With open evenings and auditions taking place in July, followed by months of rehearsals in between other shows, the 2018 pantomime, 'Aladdin', which as well as all the fun and great songs you'd expect, saw the Bethel Crowd will be unveiling their new pantomime dame!

This traditional pantomime, second in popularity only to 'Cinderella', is based on the 'Tales of the Arabian Nights', with the pantomime version set in China, and first performed in 1788. Featuring Aladdin, Wishee Washee and their mum Widow Twankey, and the villain Abanazar. Full of magical numbers and hilarious jokes, this pantomime will be enjoyable for all ages.

Performances took place over Friday/Saturday 19th/20th & 26th/27th January 2018

Westhoughton's Bethel Late Summer Musical Review (September 2017) - tickets via Ticket Source or call 01942 790578You Can't Stop The Beat! (September 2017)

In the midst of preparations and rehearsals take place for the 2018 panto, the Bethel Crowd performed a Musical Review covering some of their favourite songs from over the years. The show took place on Saturday, 16th September.

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd Junior - Cinderella & Rockerfella (June 2017)Cinderella & Rockerfella (June 2017)

Hot on the heels of the Panto success, the Bethel Crowd Junior Workshop's turn to dazzle and impress with a new production of Cinderella & Rockerfella, written By: Sue Langwade, and Mark and Helen Johnson, and directed by Ben Kilburn.

With performers aged between 8 and 18, a modern, panto-style reworking of the classic tale with all the traditional characters: downtrodden Cinderella, Rockerfella (formerly known as Prince Charming), Buttons, the Ugly Sisters and the Fairy Godmother, together with a selection of additional characters, from music managers and paparazzi to good and bad fairies - all placed in a world of fame and celebrity.

The production took place Friday/Saturday 16th/17th and 23rd/24th June.

Panto: Puss in Boots (January 2017)

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd - Puss in Boots (January 2017 Panto)With open auditions in June, then a programme of rehearsals, the January 2017 pantomime, directed by Ben Kilburn and choreographed by Helena Carter, took place the final and first weeks of January and February respectively. The story of an Ogre threatening the land; King Oliphant wanting rid, and newcomers Ralph and Puss, helped by mum Hermoine, and armed with some magic boots out to rid the land of this evil menace!

Puss in Boots, a very traditional pantomime full of laughs, excitement and song, and another success for the Bethel Crowd! After 26 years of playing the Dame, entertaining and making everyone laugh, it was Will Taylor's final performance.

The Panto was preceded in December (10th) by a special performance of Silent Night - the audience discovering how a poem written by a parish priest resulted in the much-loved carol Silent Night. With an Austrian feel and a selection of well-known carols, this wonderful children's nativity combined humour, drama and festive traditions.

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd - Little Shop of Horrors (September 2016 Musical)Little Shop of Horrors (September 2016)

Taking place over two weekends in September 2016 , Little Shop of Horrors was a fun musical where a man-eating plant takes centre stage! Seymour, Audrey, Audrey II (the plant) and a maniac Dentist. Brought to life in a cult movie starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. It is a tale of love, magic and danger! With some great songs. The cast were made up of actors 14 and above, who rehearsed over the summer months.

In the summer the Bethel Crowd had the opportunity to try out the songs and perform on stage as part of the Westhoughton Yarn Bombing Festival in July.

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd - Wind and the Willows (June 2016 Youth Production) Wind in The Willows :: Youth Theatre Production (April 2016)

With an initial meeting and auditions early February (age range: 8 to 18.), the Bethel Crowd's June production was the whimsical tale of 'Wind in The Willows' - a children's musical with twelve songs, in two acts.

Performances took place over the weekends of 10th & 11th; 17th & 18th June with Saturday matinees.

'Directing Dilemma' (April 2016)

A Murder Mystery evening took place on Saturday, 9th April (7:15pm). These events allow our actors some stage time, whilst providing some local entertainment, but are also important in helping to raise extra funds for our AODS group.

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd - Mother Goose (January 2016 Panto)Panto: Mother Goose (January 2016)

After recent productions, the Bethel Crowd regrouped to prepare for the 2016 Panto. This year it was the ever-popular and hilariously funny Mother Goose; performances took place the weekends of Friday/Saturday, 22nd/23rd and 29th/30th January (7:15pm), with matinee performances on the Saturdays at 2:15pm. Tickets £5.50; available from the Bethel or online.

Grease :: Youth Theatre Production (September 2015)

Westhoughton's Bethel Crowd - Grease the September 2015 Youth Theatre productionFollowing auditions and readings for parts in April, The Bethel Crowd's Youth Theatre took on this much-loved musical as High School students Sandy, Danny, T-Birds and Pink Ladies reunite following the holidays with tales of summer romances and adventures. You'll be hopelessly devoted to this classic 1950s era, toe-tapping romp set at Rydell High. The production took place Friday/Saturday 18/19th and 25/26th with matinees on the Saturdays.

Red Macintosh | Double Bill (June/July 2015)

Directed by Benjamin Kilburn, featuring the Bethel Crowd Junior Workshop (Ages 8-18), this popular, well-written 'James Bond' spoof has all the characters as fruits. The performances featured two stories as a double bill, with uplifting songs and plenty of humour.

Initial cast meetings for Red Macintosh took place on Wednesday 18th February with auditions on Sunday 22nd February, followed by weekly rehearsals for the young cast, including some promising newcomers. Performances the weekends of 26th/27th June and 3rd/4th July, with Saturday matinees.

Panto: The Beauty and the Beast (January 2015)

Following on from the last Bethel Crowd production, Alice - The Musical, January means it is 'Panto Time!' for our local Thespians. Planning meetings and auditions took place in August with rehearsals taking place weekly - it is always good to see new faces coming through.

Performances of the now familiar tale of Beauty and the Beast took place on the last two weekends of January with extra matinee performances on the Saturdays. As ever lots of fun moments, good and evil, audience participation, as well as music and enchantment. Tickets sold well, helped by the new online booking service.


Other Events & Fundraising

As well as the amateur dramatic performances, the Bethel Crowd also holds special events throughout the year to raise funds, showcase talent and have some community fun. Events such as the Bethel Crowd performing Murder Mystery evenings, Quiz nights… These are always evenings of fun that help keep the Bethel Crowd going.

Bethel Crowd Junior Workshop

The Bethel Crowd Youth Theatre was relaunched by current chairperson, Susan Burchall, in 2001. It has steadily grown from strength to strength over recent years with several high quality productions.

The aim of the junior workshop is to give the younger generation (ages 8- 24) a chance to shine on the stage and prepare themselves to compete against older and more experienced performers. Each member is given the opportunity to work with an experienced director and learn more about acting as both a hobby or vocation. It is a great way to bolster up confidence or channel excess energy as well as being both fun and challenging.

In the run up to productions, meetings and auditions open to all take place welcoming newcomers and regulars alike [Ages 8+] to see what The Bethel Crowd is all about.

Previous Main Productions

  • 2001 Bugsy Malone
  • 2002 Dazzle
  • 2003 Oliver
  • 2004 Peter Pan
  • 2005 Dracula Spectacular
  • 2006 Kids Extravaganza
  • 2007 Razzle Dazzle Your Senses
  • 2008 The Wizard of Oz
  • 2009 Sweeney Todd Shock 'n' Roll Show
  • 2010 Dazzle
  • 2011 Peter Pan
  • 2012 Bugsy Malone
  • 2013 Dick Whittington and His Cat
  • 2013 The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
  • 2014 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • 2014 Alice - The Musical
  • 2015 Beauty & The Beast!
  • 2015 Red MacIntosh (Double Bill)
  • 2015 Grease
  • 2016 Mother Goose
  • 2016 The Wind in the Willows
  • 2016 Little Shop of Horrors
  • 2017 Puss In Boots
  • 2017 Cinderella & Rockerfella
  • 2017 You Can't Stop The Beat!
  • 2018 The Wizard of Oz
  • 2018 Aladdin
  • 2022 You Still Can't Stop The Beat!

Getting in Touch

The Bethel Crowd are currently based at
Daisy Hill Football Club (for rehearsing).

More information about the Bethel Crowd and Junior Workshop at the Bethel Crowd website.

Facebook Bethel CrowdBethel Crowd Facebook Group | Twitter Bethel Crowd@bethelcrowd

Bethel Crowd videos on YouTube.

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Participating Groups

Local Amenities

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Useful Links

Community Events

  • Panto: 'Rapunzel' - Bethel Crowd
    Fri 23, Sat 24* Feb (7:15pm)
    Peace Community Theatre, Rishton Lane, Bolton BL3 2BN
    Always good fun! The Bethel Crowd travel to Bolton to perform their latest Panto. *Extra matinee show Saturday 24 Feb at 2:15pm. Tickets £7.50
  • Daisy Hill Station Improvements
    March to December 2024
    As part of 'Access for All' improvements station will see changes to ticket hall and installation of a lift and toilet, as well as car park changes. £4m project. Some disruption but services continue. Details of Friends of Daisy Hill stage page -
  • History Group
    Monthly meetings - 3rd Thurs (10:30am)
    Westhoughton Library
    After a busy 2023 including the Wingates Band Story exhibition celebrating the brass bands 150th anniversary (Q323), schedule resumes with speakers and special events for this popular heritage group. Next mtg 21/3 st March - Speaker Ruth Duckworth: My Life in Cricket (Part 2)
  • Rotary Christmas Float 2023
    During December Rotary Club of Westhoughton were out and about visiting local estates and will at Sainsbury's ahead of Christmas. As well as Santa and his Rotary Elves bringing Christmas cheer to young and old, it is an important fundraiser; this year £6,249 was raised to be shared out with local community organisations. £5,640 raised and shared in 2022 - Presentation evening 20/4/23; 19 organisations receiving cheques.
  • Hub at Westhoughton
    The Hub at Westhoughton on Central Drive is home to a range of groups and activities serving the community. Information Leaflet.
  • Westhoughton Library
    Library now open for books, general reading and computer access. With current refurbishment complete, community activities on both ground and upper floor have resumed. Info | Community Plans.
  • Robert Shaw / Book of Quint
    Special event with Ryan Dacko, author of 'The Book of Quint' took place at Wetherspoon's 1st July, celebrating Westhoughton-born Robert Shaw and introducing the backstory of the shark hunter from Jaws. It was a great success with people coming far and wide, leading to Amberley publishing deal.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:00pm
    John Holt Centre (BL5 2NR)
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. New meeting venue. Updated programme.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    Cutters season in full flow. New management, new signings and clubhouse improvements. Support your local team. KO Sat 3pm or Mon 7:45pm. £5 adults / £3 concession / £2 U18s / U12s free w/ adult.
  • Lockdown information (Covid-19)
    For 16 months life and community was disrupted by measures to deal with the pandemic. It has been a long and impactful period, thankfully things are opening up again there is a return to normal. Watch for updates as community re-engages here and on
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market Street focus) were consulted upon in 2019-20 with a Steering Group meeting to discuss plans for £4m investment and significant changes to Market Street, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and Town Hall.
  • Hope Community Centre
    The Central Drive church and community space is currently closed pending refurbishment discussions with Bolton Council. Hope Church services take place in the Hub.
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