The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
April 12, 13, 14 & 15, 1989.
When We Are Married
by J. B. Priestley
Rosemary Mose – Ruby Birtle
Ray Hopper – Gerald Forbes
Daphne Thornton – Mrs. Northrop
Margaret Faggetter – Nancy Holmes
Gerry Lane – Fred Dyson
Ronald Cheesman – Henry Ormonroyd
Keith Denyer – Alderman Joseph Helliwell
Jean Porter – Maria Helliwell
Douglas Tucker – Councillor Albert Parker
Harry Atkinson – Herbert Soppitt
Betty Dawes – Clara Soppitt
Frances Moulton – Annie Parker
Paddy Hartley – Lottie Grady
Ralph Dawes – Rev. Clement Mercer
Stage Manager – George Laye
Continuity – Joan Bearman
Props & Decor – Margaret Davy
Props & Decor – Sue Whittaker
Lighting – James Boath
Lighting – Frances Thorne
Wardrobe – Jenny Law
Call Girl – Carol Collis
Call Girl – Lindsay Collis
Set Design & Construction – Ralph Dawes
Set Design & Construction – Brian Box
Set Design & Construction – Dave Collis
Set Design & Construction – Dave Comber
Set Design & Construction – Mike Davy
Front of House Manager – Margaret Murrell
Box Office – Jill Redman
Foyer Flowers – Rosemary Biggs
Programme Note #1: When We Are Married
AL wrote: “I am delighted to have been invited to work with the WICK THEATRE COMPANY once again. To be given the opportunity to direct one of my favourite plays for a second time is an added bonus.
How appropriate that this play was chosen for the 40th Anniversary Year of WICK. The play itself celebrates its 50th Anniversary, having been first produced in October 1938 and the theme of the play is a 25th Anniversary. How the play has stood up to the passage of time!
During the past 50 years it has been seen on the stage over and over again, presented by both professional and amateur companies the length and breadth of the country and very recently it was seen on television and is still very well received by audiences.
The reason for this, in my opinion, is that it is a well written play both in characterisation and situation with plenty of humour. Priestley has drawn on memories of his boyhood and characters from his own surroundings, for he admitted it was a pure nostalgia that prompted him to write the play. Whatever his reasons, it is for us a peep into the past when the predicament of the three ‘happy’ couples would cause far more concern at the turn of the century and even in 1938 than it does today, but however we approach the story line it surely is entertainment and that is what we aim to give.”
Programme Note #2: When We Are Married
The unsung heroes of many a Wick production are our backstage team. Frances Thorne, Margaret Davy and Sue Whittaker have for many years handled the properties and their expertise and reliability in providing the right article in the right place are much appreciated by all the actors on stage. Although they have never aspired to ‘tread the boards’ we were all delighted to have Sue and Margaret on stage with us in the crowed scenes of Cabaret last year, while Frances, the company’s Chairman, is now working with the Centre’s lighting team and thereby helping with another vital part of our productions.
Back in the 1970’s Wick and Southwick Opera achieved an ambition; a joint theatre workshop. This was achieved by a grand fundraising effort spear-headed by Jean Porter [then Secretary] and Barrie Bowen [then Chairman] and followed with enthusiasm by the Company, which enabled us to buy a half share in the workshop. It has proved to be a great asset to our other unseen team of Ralph Dawes, Dave Collis, Dave Comber, Mike Davy and Brian Box. It is their skills and hard work that provided our actors with the well designed and appropriate sets and the smooth, rapid scene changes that are so important if we are to provide good entertainment.
We are pleased to welcome Audrey and George Laye back to the Company for this production in our 40th Season. Audrey is directing the play and George has designed the scenery. Audrey first joined the Company in 1969 when she moved to Lancing having previously acted with Henley Players and Croydon Players for many years. She directed a number of plays for us in the 1970’s amongst which The Marquise, The Amorous Prawn and When We Are Married all gained awards in the Brighton 3-Act Festival, the last gaining both overall winner and Best Actor for Douglas Tucker. Audrey will also be remembered as an actress playing a wide variety of rôles in such productions as Roots, Trelawny of the Wells and My Fair Lady. She achieved a notable success in winning the Best Actress award at Southwick and Henley for her rôle as the old lady in Stay Where You Are. George will be remembered for his atmospheric sets in My Three Angels and Hobson’s Choice amongst many others.
Profiles were also included:
Keith Denyer – Keith joined Wick in the 1970’s and by coincidence his first major rôle was as the General in The Amorous Prawn – Audrey’s production – and later in 1976 gave a great performance as Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Always in great demand, he has played many parts over the years. His Boris Karloff look-alike in Arsenic and Old Lace was particularly memorable. Keith has all the talents – a good singing voice, presence and good looks, good characterisation – but we still have to keep telling him how good he is in order to overcome his natural reticence.
Paddy Hartley – Paddy is a Northerner and they call a spade a spade, don’t they! So Priestley’s play is very much her cup of tea. However, Paddy’s experience has been gained in a foreign field – she ran a Drama Society in the beautiful city of Rome for the ex-patriot British working on various Government Commissions. She acted in and directed many plays – those of Noël Coward being particular favourites. She has been with Wick for three years and has been an active participator in all the Arts scene in Southwick. In 1987 she gave a powerful performance as the dragon of a mother in Margaret Ockenden’s production of The Anniversary by Bill McIllwraith.
Publicity #1: When We Are Married
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: April 7 1989 issue- page 15
Text Header: “Celebrating with a Priestly farce”
PRIESTLEY’s classic play When We Are Married comes to Southwick next week at the Barn Theatre. To celebrate its 40th anniversary the Wick Theatre Company are to present its second production of the Yorkshire farcical comedy from Wednesday. It will almost be a flashback of the company’s production 14 years ago, with five of the six principals in the same part.
Back in 1975, their performance won the drama festival and Douglas Tucker was acclaimed best actor. Mr. Tucker, whose acting days go back to World War Two when he formed a troupe in Jerusalem, is back in the part of councillor Albert Parker. Again playing his wife Annie is Frances Moulton, an experienced producer with Wick.
Keith Denyer has slipped back into the guise of Alderman Joseph Helliwell and Jean Porter has returned to be his wife Maria. Wick founder member Betty Dawes takes to the stage as Clare Soppitt. The odd one out is Harry Atkinson, who has not played in the production before.
The anniversary production is produced the second time round yet again by Audrey Laye, who has clocked up 40 years in amateur dramatics.
When We Are Married runs until Saturday, April 15. Tickets are available at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Street.
Review #1: When We Are Married
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: April 21 1979 issue- page 18
Reviewer: Marcus Agar
Text Header: “WICK PLAY PLEASURE”
PERIOD COSTUMES and pompous characters made Wick Theatre Company’s last production a pleasure to watch. The company chose J. B. Priestley’s comedy When We Are Married to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The true atmosphere of Yorkshire in the early 1900’s was created by the superb set design and well-developed characters. But they had plenty of time to get the parts right.
Five of the six principal actors played the same parts in the company’s production 14 years ago. Keith Denyer returned to the rôle of Alderman Joseph Helliwell and his wife Maria was played by Jean Porter. And Douglas Tucker fell nicely into his rôle as councillor Albert Parker, flanked by his wife Annie played by Frances Moulton. Domineering Clara Soppitt was marvellously portrayed by Wick founder member Betty Dawes. Her slightly timid husband Albert was played by Harry Atkinson.
While the acting was good, the cast went slightly over the top with their northern accents, which were sometimes hard to pinpoint anywhere between Lands End and John O’Groats.
The farcical show at the Barn last week was full of laughs and moral dilemmas as three couples recalled what they believed were 25 years of happy marriage. But the celebrations turned into a nightmare as they realise they had not been properly married. And that was where the fun started as the three ‘husbands’ tried to keep the horrific news from their overbearing wives.
It was strange to realise the traumas and public ridicule the couples feared would not be much different today.
All in all this was a fine production by one of the county’s top companies.