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When We Are Married

The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre

April 12, 13, 14 & 15 1989

When We Are Married

by J. B. Priestley

Directed by
Audrey Laye

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“Pleasure to watch”
– Shoreham Herald –


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


Production Crew

Stage ManagerGeorge Laye

ContinuityJoan Bearman

Props & DecorMargaret Davy

Props & DecorSue Whittaker

LightingJames Boath

LightingFrances Thorne

WardrobeJenny Law

Call GirlCarol Collis

Call GirlLynsey Collis

Set Design & ConstructionRalph Dawes

Set Design & ConstructionBrian Box

Set Design & ConstructionDave Collis

Set Design & ConstructionDave Comber

Set Design & ConstructionMike Davy

Front of House ManagerMargaret Murrell

Box OfficeJill Redman

Foyer FlowersRosemary 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.