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The Secretary Bird

The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre

February 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15 1975

The Secretary Bird

by William Douglas Home
Directed by
Betty Dawes

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“Object lesson in light comedy”
– Unknown –


Barrie Bowen – Hugh Walford

Miranda Bowen – Liz Walford

Sheila Wright – Mrs. Gray

Jane Durance – Molly Forsyth

Roger Stott – John Brownlow


Production Crew

ProducerAnn Baker

Set DesignVincent Joyce

Stage ManagerPaul Vrettos

Assistant Stage ManagerAnn Baker

Assistant Stage ManagerEthel Barrs

Set ConstructionPaul Vrettos

CostumesMiranda Bowen

Lighting PlotFrank Hurrell

SoundAndrew Theaker

PropertiesMargaret Davy

PropertiesFrances Thorne


Programme Note #1: The Secretary Bird

BD wrote: “The Secretary Bird had an enormous success in the West End and is one of the best examples of modern British comedy. Hugh’s battle to keep his wife, fought out in a deceptively urbane and good humoured atmosphere, is in fact a skilful and ruthless campaign planned to the last detail. He is the ‘puppet-master’ and all the other characters dance at his bidding”

Programme Note #2: The Secretary Bird

We are still a little breathless after our multiple success in the Brighton and District Drama Festival. Anna Welch’s production won all the major awards: Best Play, Best Actress [Monica Joyce] and Best Actor [Douglas Tucker].
We must be forgiven for blowing our own trumpet just a little – look at those cups in the foyer [Henley & Southwick Drama Festivals as well.]

Tonight we offer you something very different – the polish and comic unpredictability of William Douglas Home’s The Secretary Bird.

Have a good time and bear in mind that we still have two plays in hand: Nikki le Roy’s Othello and Monica Joyce’s Festival production of Antigone.

Programme Note #3: The Secretary Bird

Settings note – Vincent Joyce

The library includes Vincent’s plans for the settings so admired by the critic. Vincent wrote to Paul Vrettos and the workshop crew.
“First look at the sketches, then read on: Apart from the garden there are 2 units to build and one plain black backdrop.
Unit 1 is the chimney breast with oak beam mantel piece, recessed fire place, hearth, hearth seat [like in my brother’s house!] and some wooden plain shelves. It should all look like brick with rough plaster finish painted white. [i.e. country style but modern decor.]

Unit 2 is bay window recess, with French doors, raised floor [41/2″ or 6″] oak beam.

Since there is nothing else except blacks I want the finish to be good. [It will be all there is to look at and must stand scrutiny. Attention to detail is a MUST. I haven’t converted these sketches to working plans, but how about starting on the Unit 1 which is not a precision job in terms of fitting tight into a space. [See back of break-down elevation sketch for details.] ”