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The Dresser

The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.

October 8, 9, 10 & 11, 2003.


The Dresser

by Ronald Harwood

1960310_the-dresser_playbill
“Pacey, intense – sustained joy”
– West Sussex Gazette –

 

Directed by
Pat Lyne

Cast

David Creedon – ‘Sir’

Bob Ryder – Norman

Kati Szeless – Irene

David Goodger – Geoffrey

Sheelagh Baker – Her Ladyship

Diane Robinson – Madge

Tony Brownings – Oxenby

David Bickers – Shakespearean

Kevin Isaac – Shakespearean

John Garland – Shakespearean

 

Production Crew

LightingMike Medway

SoundSimon Snelling

Stage ManagerDavid Comber

Technical Stage ManagerJohn Garland

ASMOlive Smith

TechniciansChris Grey

TechniciansJanice Gooch

PropertiesSue Whittaker

PropertiesMargaret Davy

WardrobeMargaret Pierce

WardrobeJudith Berrill

Set ConstructionDavid Collis

Set ConstructionMike Davy

Set ConstructionBrian Box

Set ConstructionDavid Comber

Set ConstructionMarc Lewis

Press & PublicityRosemary Bouchy

Press & PublicityRosemary Brown

Press & PublicityJudith Berrill

Box OfficeMargaret Murrell

Front of House Co-ordinatorBetty Dawes

 

Programme Note #1: The Dresser

From the eighteenth century right through to the Second World War, the ‘actor-manager’ was the British theatre. He played from one end of the country to the other, taking his repertory to the people – frequently offering five different plays in a week’s ‘run’ in each town. They rarely played London. Their stamping-ground was the provinces. They toured under awful conditions, like the miserable railway journeys on Sundays [mentioned in The Dresser] and the long hours in the freezing cold at Crewe station waiting for train connections. They developed deep reserves of strength and determination, essential if they were to survive. They worshipped Shakespeare, believed in the theatre as a cultural and educational force, and saw themselves as noble public servants.

Nowadays we tend to laugh a little at this strange breed, represented by ‘Sir’ in Ronald Harwood’s play. There is no denying that their obsessions and single-mindedness often made them ridiculous, so they were often written off by London critics as megalomaniacs and hams. But in truth, many of them were extraordinary and very talented.

The Dresser is of course about the backstage drama of one such imaginary touring company, not least the struggle of Sir’s loyal assistant, Norman, to ensure that the show does indeed go on. It has been a popular stage play ever since it opened in 1980, featuring Tom Courtney and Freddie Jones. And it became even better known in the faithful film adaptation, when Courtney was joined by Albert Finney. The film won many awards and is now a British cinema classic. However, this is a work essentially about the life of the theatre – and there is no better place to enjoy it!

 


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