Southwick & Fishersgate Community Association – Seventh Festival of Arts & Crafts
The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
June 11 1960
Adjudicator: Mr D. Doggett, East Sussex Drama Adviser to Sussex Rural Community Council
Winning Group: The Southwick Players
One-Act Drama Festival
Competitors – in order of appearance:
1. The Green Circle Players
The Light You Know
by Patricia Brooks
Produced by Peggy Corte
2. Kingston and District Women’s Institute Drama Group
Produced by Venetia Baker
3. The Southwick Players
by Anthony Booth
Produced by Unknown
4. The Young Wick Players
Dukes and Fairies
by Pat Garrod
Produced by Elizabeth Penney
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: June 17 1960 issue – page 3
Text Header: Southwick Players again win festival drama contest
For the second year running Southwick Players won the drama event in Southwick and Fishersgate Community Association’s Festival of Art and Crafts at the Barn Hall, on Saturday.
The adjudicator, Mr D. Doggett, East Sussex Drama Adviser to Sussex Rural Community Council, felt that although the other three competing groups gave performances of a high level the Southwick Players’ production was best for all-round entertainment.
The punchy one-act winning play, Anthony Booth’s Permanent Way an up-to-the-moment murder drama, was described by Mr Doggett as “meaty and strong theatre which gave the cast every opportunity of using their talents to the full. It was a play that could have flopped, but the treatment it received brought off neatly and forcefully. ”
Jim Reed [Jon Peaty] a train driver, said Mr Doggett, was a credible character but Liz, his daughter [Pauline George] while she projected the character nicely, switched from emotion to emotion too rapidly. Sue, Jim Read’s [sic] unfaithful wife [Muriel Press] acted well, but could have given more emphasis to some of her lines. Phil Pope [John King] the self-centred mate secretly sharing Jim’s wife gave a convincing and well controlled interpretation of the selfishness of the character. Ruth Briggs [Phyll Beard], Sue’s sluttish friend, moved well and spoke convincingly, but could have been dressed a little more authentically for the part.
Fred Watkins [Fred Fludder], the disappointed and drunken flower enthusiast “stood up well to his drunken scene and played the part with feeling. He took the play through its crisis and came out with flying colours”, Mr Doggett said. Ronnie Shaw [Edward Hood jnr.] was good but again the dress was a little too sensible. His mother Rose [Kay Russell] “took the audience along beautifully and held us all with a difficult part which was made to look very easy, “he said.
The first play in the bill, Pat Garrod’s Dukes and Fairies offered by the Young Wick Players – the story of an old women living in Hyde Park who dreams of dukes and fairies – was described by Mr Doggett as ” a very , very slight play which more effective music would have helped. ” Nevertheless, the cast played it with feeling, although the acting could have been more projective. A noticeable fault was that the leading character’s face was masked for about half of the play ” he criticised. This play was produced by Elizabeth Penney.
Applause greeted Mr Doggett’s fulsome praise of Venetia Baker who, besides being producer of Cato’s Daughter performed by Kingston and District Women’s Institute drama group, had to step in at almost the last moment to take over the title rôle from Dorothy Stevens who is ill. “This play [the last moments in the life of Caesar’s wife after Caesar’s death] was admirable largely due to the playing of Portia which was an excellent interpretation indeed.”
“The production was not an easy one because of the absence of men in the cast, but the plot was well maintained and put across“, said Mr Doggett. One criticism that the adjudicator had was that the setting of the play would have been more effective if it had been staged on two levels instead of one.
The fourth play – Patricia Brooks’ The Light You Know presented by The Green Circle Players – was another with an all women cast. Mr Doggett told the audience that the hand of the producer, Peggy Corte, was much in evidence in this piece of theatre and as a result a play with very little action was kept interesting. The setting was excellent, but a fault not confined to any one of the players was a slow response to cues. Another fault, he said, was that nearly all the cast fell in to a trap and took the whole play too literally.
Mr Doggett was introduced and thanked by the chairman of the festival sub-committee, Mr R. W. Guy.