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The Importance of Being Earnest

The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.

April 10, 11, 12 & 13, 2002.

The Importance of Being Earnest

by Oscar Wilde



Directed by
Margaret Ockenden


Phil Balding – John Worthing

Kevin Isaac – Algernon

Claire Wiggins – Gwendolyn

Candice Gregory – Cecily

Olive Smith – Lady Bracknell

Hugh Hemmings – Lane

Rosemary Mose – Miss Prism

Derek Fraser – Dr Chasuble

Simon Druce – Merriman

Linda Mostyn – Maid


Production Crew

Stage Manager – David Comber

Assistant to the Director – Caroline Blick

Lighting Design – Mike Medway

Lighting Technician – Chris Grey

Sound – Simon Snelling

Set Design – Dave Comber

Set Building – Dave Comber

Set Building – Dave Collis

Set Building – Brian Box

Set Building – Mike Davy

Set Building – Marc Lewis

Set Painting – Sheila Neesham

Properties – Sue Whittaker

Properties – Margaret Davy

Wardrobe Team – Margaret Pierce

Wardrobe Team – Cherry Briggs

Wardrobe Team – Judith Berrill

Hair Design – Sheila Neesham

Press & Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy

Press & Publicity – Rosemary Brown

Press & Publicity – Judith Berrill

Box Office – Margaret Murrell

Front of House Co-ordinator – Valerie Bray


Programme Note #1: The Importance of Being Earnest

MO wrote: “The impact of The Importance of Being Earnest on the first night audience of 1895 can only be imagined. To be invited to laugh at the pretences and foibles of the aristocracy would have been shocking, but, oh such fun.

I wonder about Wilde’s impact on theatre and television had he been born 100 years later. What a chat show guest! What plays he would have written! he may even have been offered a knighthood. Would he have accepted? I think so.

The Importance of Being Earnest is well known for having been written one summer in Worthing, which is the name given to our hero and there allusions in the names of Lady Lancing and Lord Shoreham. Oscar was clearly inspired by his sunny surroundings for his play is light hearted and full of fun. Much of the plot is about the ‘grand art of lying’. His characters practice this with panache, coming across entirely sincere.

And there’s a story behind the comic opera aspect of Act III, Gilbert and Sullivan wrote the comic opera Patience, parodying the aesthetic movement and a notable member, Oscar Wilde. Wilde replied by using elements of Gilbert and Sullivan in this act, when at times the characters speak and move in unison and the feel-good factor of the operetta is reflected in the Cinderella ending of the play.”