Southwick & Fishersgate Community Association – Thirteenth Festival of Arts & Crafts
The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
May 28 1966
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Adjudicator: Mr. David Lyttle
Winning Group: Wick Theatre Company
One-Act Drama Festival
Competitors – in order of appearance:
Rottingdean Drama Society
by Peter Coke
Produced by Unknown
Shoreham Theatre Group
by Nina Warner Hooke
Produced by Unknown
The Southwick Players
The Sun and the Shadow
by Peter Preston
Produced by Peggy Deall
Wick Theatre Company
The Private Ear
by Peter Shaffer
Produced by Ralph Dawes
Ross Workman – Ted
Ray Hopper – Bob
Dale Wood – Doreen
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: June 3 1966 issue – page 5
Text Header: WICK COMPANY WINS FESTIVAL ONCE MORE
THE Wick Theatre Company’s production of The Private Ear, by Peter Shaffer, won the Southwick Community Association Drama Festival in the Barn Theatre on Saturday.
The adjudicator, Mr David Lyttle, a BBC radio drama producer, said, “Almost everything about this production was satisfying. The play is a very sensitive exploration of human relationships which requires great sensitivity on the part of the actors and the director, and this we got.”
The company has now won the festival six times in 13 years, on four occasions in the last six years and retains the festival trophy.
Mr Lyttle felt that the cast of The Private Ear could have better judged its waiting for laughs to end at times, and that one or two lighter touches were not properly emphasised. Also the positioning of the record-player, important to the action of the play, prevented its ending having its full effect.
The three actors all gave “good natural, motivated movements; a very sound interpretation of the play; perceptive interpretations of their individual parts.” The adjudicator said that the part of Bob [Ray Hopper] was given a very sensitive and moving performance. Doreen [Dale Wood] had just the right aura of bewilderment, and she showed the correct different attitudes in dealing with the two men in the cast. Ted [Ross Workman] provided a lively contrast to Bob and got his changes of mood beautifully.
Mr Lyttle concluded, “Almost everything about this production was satisfying and I have no hesitation in awarding it the trophy”
Earlier, Mr Lyttle said that the Shoreham Theatre Group’s production of Rock Bottom, by Nina Warner Hooke, “did not quite come off.” He added, “It was a good stab at a tricky little play. I suppose the play was meant to be satire and that needs a very touch. It would have been better if the characters had been played as a little larger than life, and if timing had been rather more accurate.”
The play was set in the dressing room of a hall where a company was waiting to go on stage in a drama festival, and Mr Lyttle commented, “The tension which builds up in dressing rooms was not really happening here. The production did quite well in creating individual characters out of the people, but more humour could have been got out of some of the situations.
“A good pace was built up, but it was the same pace throughout. Pauses can be valuable, and there could have been more of them.”
Turning to The Sun and the Shadow, by Peter Preston, produced by Southwick Players, Mr Lyttle noted that a large-cast play such as this presented a difficulty of casting at a consistent standard which was not o with a small-cast play.” He felt that the sun and shadow effect on stage was not as effective as it might have been. He also criticised the important sound effect of a departing bus as inadequate but praised the avoidance of foreign accents. There was good team work and the grouping was good. Timing and variation of pace were impressive, but the pace was allowed to drag a little in the more philosophical sections when it might have been accelerated. The blind beggar [Edmund Andrew] was convincing and acted well. Mrs Hopwood [Venetia Baker] was excellently done, a stock character being made three-dimensional and a success with the audience. The scenes between Mr and Mrs Gale [Robert Ettridge and Susan Porteous] were true and effective. Rafael [Michael Rose] conveyed the arrogant quality very well. Other actors were adequate but did not quite measure up to what was required.
Rottingdean Drama Society presented In Confidence, by Peter Coke. This, said the adjudicator, was played very well in the required style, the thrust of the lines being given exact weight. It was a pity that a stage-hand had been caught on stage when the lights went up after one of the black-outs.
The non-speaking walk-on parts were not necessary and were distracting.
There was a good pace overall and the characters excited interest immediately they entered.
The trophy was presented to the producer of The Private Ear, Mr Ralph Dawes.
The secretary of the Community Association, Mr S. H. Baker, M.B.E., thanked all who had helped with the festival. He regretted that circumstances had forced the organisers to put on the festival a Whit weekend, and that there had consequently been only four entries instead of the usual six.
He said that this would not happen again.