Southwick & Fishersgate Community Association – Fifth Festival of Arts & Crafts
The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
June 7 1958
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Adjudicator: Mr L. D. Green, a member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators
Winning Group: Southwick and Fishersgate Townswomen’s Guild Group
One-Act Drama Festival
Competitors – in order of appearance
Kingston and District Women’s Institute Drama Group
The Queen’s Ring
by L. du Garde Peach
Produced by Peggy Corte
Southwick and Fishersgate Townswomen’s Guild Group
Girdle Round the Earth
by Margaret Love
Produced by Peggy Corte
The Southwick Players
The Truth about Truth
by Benn W. Levy
Produced by George Baker
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: June 13 1958 issue – page 4
Text Header: Keen competition for drama cup
FOR the first time in five-years, Southwick and Fishersgate Townswomen’s Guild Drama Group won the group event in Southwick and Fishersgate Community Association’s Festival of Arts and Crafts on Saturday with their play Girdle Round the Earth, by Margaret Love. They beat two other entrants, Kingston and District Women’s Institute Drama Group and The Southwick Players, who were placed second and third respectively.
Mr L. D. Green of Lewes, a member of the Guild of Adjudicators, adjudicated. Competition between the three groups were close.
“I have had a stimulating evening in which none of the three groups was markedly below the standard of the others, which were at a fairly good level,” said Mr Green. But, he criticised, the ‘punch line’, in all three plays was lost, in that it was not put over to the audience strongly enough. In spite of this, at no point during the evening did he feel let down, he said.
Girdle Round the Earth, he said, was a play with a good idea, which reflected the feelings in the minds of a mother, wife and fiancé of air pioneers. “It is not given to all women to be the wives and mothers of such men, but all women can appreciate the sort of conflict that such women have to go through. In this play we have three women affected in different ways, and although I think the situation is a little artificial, it is dramatic.”
Sense of Comedy
Doris, a maid [Iris Meechan] gave an excellent and sympathetic performance with a sense of comedy which proved the truth that there were no small parts in a play, he said. Valerie [Joan Corney] the fiancée gave a convincing portrayal of enthusiasm which was not overdone, and a consistent and interesting performance throughout. Sheila [Helen Suter] had a difficult part, but played unevenly and her sincerity was not quite convincing. Mary [Molly Randall] gave a beautifully controlled and sympathetic performance, failing only once when she spoke too fast. “But all spoke beautifully, if a little too fast,” said Mr Green.
Producer Peggy Corte, also responsible for the play that gained second place, allowed her positioning to be copied in the two plays. Both set and lighting were good. Of the second place play, Kingston and District Women’s Institute Drama Group’s The Queen’s Ring [L. du Garde Peach], Mr Green said that it was beautifully dressed, but its characters tended to become static. The set, too, although central, was beautifully draped, and furnished. Players, however, tended to use the front of the stage too much. He congratulated Lilian Wass as Queen Elizabeth, but urged her to be more forceful, and he congratulated Brenda Hewitt [Lady Anne] on standing up to more experienced players. May Gedge [Lady Scope], Jessie Haviland [Lady Nottingham] and Mary McNab [Serving Woman] completed the cast.
Mr Green said that the dramatic moments were hurried and unprepared. Nevertheless, the cast played well together. “It was interestingly played and they have only one or two stages to go before a really striking performance.” he said.
Of Southwick Players’ fantasy, The Truth about Truth [Benn W. Levy], Mr Green said that it required tautness, sophistication and exact timing. It had a lot of these things and a talented cast, but it did not get the laugher it should, not because of the audience, but probably because no one told them really how to do their parts. All three of the cast slightly overplayed their parts, but all were beautifully clear, he said.
Violet, the witch and maid [Connie Colden], had attack but played on the edge of farce, which is was not. Mr Dodson [Reginald Kingsnorth] although with a clear voice, addressed the audience too often and lost his dramatic point. He was also too cheerful. Miss Diana Beresford [Phyll Beard] looked magnificent on her entrance and made a good exit, he said. Although the cast had talent and experience, it did not quite bring over the comedy. The play was produced by George Baker. “I would like to see them have another go at it.” concluded Mr Green.
He then handed the cup to the winning group. Mr Green was introduced by Mr R Guy, chairman of the Festival Committee.