About Us

faringdon townFaringdon is a small picturesque market town overlooking the upper valley of the River Thames, on the edge of the historic Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, England.

Faringdon was a small Anglo-Saxon settlement when it was named after the dun now called Folly Hill at the side and foot of which it nestles. The name ‘Faerndun’ (possibly pronounced ‘fair-en-doon’) and meaning ‘fern hill/dune’) first appears written down in 924, around the time when England was being united into a single kingdom. The name has evolved over the years; becoming ‘Ferendone’ (1086), ‘Ferendun’, ‘Farendon’ (1100-1300’s), ‘Faryndon’ (1327) then ‘Faryngdon’ (1501). Conversely, the nearby hamlet of ‘Fernham’ suffered no such corruption.

Faringdon’s Market Charter – On 7th March 1218 during the reign of Henry III, the Shire of Berkshire was ordered to ensure that the market in Ferendun be henceforth held on Mondays. A market was probably held previously on Sundays and it was later changed in 1313 by another royal charter to Tuesdays. Faringdon was transferred from Berkshire to Oxfordshire in 1974.

The Faringdon Dramatic Society FDS, an amateur group formally known as the Faringdon Community Theatre, has been in existence since 1948, with its ups and downs over the years like all organisations. Read more history

The level of membership varies from fifty to seventy, augmented by up to sixty children who become temporary members for the annual pantomime. While there is a constitution and a properly elected committee to manage the society, there is no pecking order or time-serving in our approach. Everyone plays to his or her skills and there is considerable flexibility in how jobs are shared out, someone may be painting scenery in one production and directing the next. A new member is quite likely to be given a major part when they first join, in fact this is positively encouraged – assuming, of course, that they have the required skills. Having said this, no one is pressurised if someone wishes to stay behind the scenes, that’s fine.

We produce at least two plays a year in May and November and a pantomime in late January/early February, with play readings and other activities in between. There is also the odd one-act play, which we enter for the Abingdon Drama Festival. We are a very friendly group of people. As well as the party after the final performance of each production, we organise the occasional theatre trip, a regular mid-summer barbecue and a Christmas dinner. New members are always very welcome, for more information or to join, please contact us. You could also come along to one of our performances or auditions and introduce yourself.

See our History page and FDS-A to Z (pdf) for more information.

About this website

The Faringdon Dramatic Society FDS first went online on 22 January, 2000. The whole site was originally written and designed using basic html script. It now has over 500 pages which include programs, photographs and press articles from many past productions. In 2017, I converted it to a WordPress platform and wrote bespoke admin and page templates using php script. There was little change in design but it allows for much more future flexibility and content can now be automated across various pages making it is much easier to update for each new performance.

Many people have been involved in its production:

Penny & Jessica Lee – original creation, programming and graphic design.
Ian Lee – continued maintenance, improvements and content production.
The Faringdon Folly for providing most of the press articles and some of the photographs.
Joan Lee, Helen Barter, Peter & Jo Webster, Nigel & Brenda Keith-Walker, Dave Headey, and Gary Bates for the loan of their archive material.
Adrian Wells – the website makes much use of all his excellently designed posters in many areas.
Dave Headey – who has created all the highly informative programmes since 1990.