The Players were founded in 1936 by Gladys Waterer, a cousin of the celebrated actress Margaret Rutherford.  Her love of the theatre gave her the idea of performing dramatisations of Dickens' works to celebrate the novelist's love of the town and his numerous visits there.  In Gladys's days no one could "join" the Players  ...  they were always "invited".  This process involved taking tea with Gladys (and, if they were lucky, Margaret Rutherford) during which she would assess whether the candidate would "fit in"!

The first performance was to have been an outdoor presentation of scenes from Pickwick Papers in the grounds of Bromstone House in Broadstairs, but heavy rain caused the event to be hastily moved to St. Peters parish hut.  Dickens' works in dramatic form proved popular and led to the annual Dickens Festival in the following year.  There, a full length version of Pickwick Papers was presented in Pierremont Park exactly 100 years after the novelist wrote some of its chapters during his first visit to Broadstairs.

With the exceptions of the War Year, the Players continued to perform a Dickens play every year until the mid 1970s.  By then the group had changed its policy from having invited actors to open membership.  It had also extended its activities to performing all types of plays that were frequently entered into the Kent One Act and Full Length Play Festivals, winning numerous awards.

Since then the choice of productions has been varied and challenging.  It has ranged from the classics, including plays by Shakespeare, Shaw and Chekov, to the contemporary works of Coward, Rattigan, Miller, Bolt, Bennett and Ayckbourn.  The Players have performed in theatres all around Kent, including Ramsgate, Whitstable, Canterbury and Margate.  On one memorable occasion, the Players were honoured to perform at the Ellen Terry Memorial Theatre in Smallhythe.

The Players usually present two plays each year either at the Theatre Royal, Margate, Granville Theatre, Ramsgate or Sarah Thorne Theatre Company at the Memorial Theatre in Broadstairs. Members also continue to participate in the Dickens play each year, which is presented as part of the Broadstairs Dickens Festival in June.

Broadstairs Dickens Players are affiliated to the Kent Drama Association (KDA) and the National Operatic and Drama Association (NODA).