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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

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“Wilde night lights up Barn”
– Shoreham Herald –


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 ManagerDavid Comber

Assistant to the DirectorCaroline Blick

Lighting DesignMike Medway

Lighting TechnicianChris Grey

SoundSimon Snelling

Set DesignDavid Comber

Set BuildingDavid Comber

Set BuildingDavid Collis

Set BuildingBrian Box

Set BuildingMike Davy

Set BuildingMarc Lewis

Set PaintingSheila Neesham

PropertiesSue Whittaker

PropertiesMargaret Davy

Wardrobe TeamMargaret Pierce

Wardrobe TeamCherry Briggs

Wardrobe TeamJudith Berrill

Hair DesignSheila Neesham

Press & PublicityRosemary Bouchy

Press & PublicityRosemary Brown

Press & PublicityJudith Berrill

Box OfficeMargaret Murrell

Front of House Co-ordinatorValerie 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.”