About us

Mountbatten Players produced their first proper pantomime in 1991, though many will tell you the origins are much earlier!

Countess Mountbatten House is a NHS hospice for patients with cancer, offering specialist care and support both in the acute hospital setting, the community and the in-patient unit at West End. The unit was opened 25 years ago this year and from very early days the staff created a tradition of sketches and entertainment for the patients and each other. Over the years this tradition grew and a grand Christmas show became the annual highlight. The spirit of performance even spilled over into teaching and training other health care professionals using specially written plays and sketches. Led by one of the now retired consultants, Graham Thorpe, the theatrical aspirations of Countess Mountbatten House flourished and was enjoyed by many.

The 1989/90 Christmas season saw the production Phantom of the Hospice, a somewhat irreverent take on life in a NHS hospice with few apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber, written and produced by Graham Thorpe and Peter Pitcher, a nurse at the unit. The group became known as Mountbatten Players and the following year saw its first pantomime, Dick Whittington, presented at a Church Hall at Bitterne in Southampton. Patients, staff and the public saw the doctors, nurses, social workers and administrative staff in a very new and amusing light.

The following year the company moved to Eastleigh Town Hall (now The Point) and began to attract other members from different parts of the NHS and even other professions. The group has grown and developed over the years and developed the reputation it has today for spectacular pantomimes with a strong traditional base.

With over 60 members from all walks of life the group continues to strive for the highest possible quality productions, both pantomimes and more recently other plays as well. Countess Mountbatten House continues its theatrical tradition both within the group and apart. The group today still values its roots with Countess Mountbatten House and recognises the contribution made by early founding members, some are still members, others have moved on. Perhaps some of you are reading this. If so, thank you, we hope we have maintained the tradition!