Chris Lambert writes: my new play Gulliver is now touring and will be at the The Chrysalis, Milton Keynes on Thursday 10th Dec, 7.30pm. Tickets are available on the door. Reviews: British Theatre Guide | The Stage. I'm afraid it doesn't come any closer to Beaconsfield than that - maybe next time!
It is with very great sadness that we have to record the death of Mandy Thorndike on 1st November. Still very young - she had suffered a severe stroke two weeks earlier. Mandy had played the archetypal youth club leader in YT at Beaconsfield’s production of the musical Here We Go in 1983 (see photo), and was the only daughter of Sue and Dickon Thorndike - both of whom have been enthusiastic supporters of Young Theatre since the formation of the Beaconsfield group in 1970, and who also both appeared (somewhat briefly!) in that same production. (Sue also memorably appeared as Grandmama in the production of Snow Queen in 1987 and it is worth putting on the record that it was through Sue and Dickon that YT was fortunate to obtain the patronage of the late great Dame Sybil Thorndike, Dickon’s great-aunt.)
Our sympathies - and we are sure the sympathies of all YT members past and present - go to her husband, Martin and of course to Sue and Dickon in their sad loss. The funeral took place on 13th November at East Dean Church, East Sussex.
Rob Bowen appeared in Twelve Angry Men in Thame on 30th and 31st (see picture)
A final update on the BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Grand Slam final which was broadcast on 8th October..... Chris (Kit) Lambert didn’t quite manage to win the competition, but did exceedingly well in getting through to the final four! So very well done, Chris... (and IRW very much enjoyed the poem about the Cheese Fondue... it reminded him of his youth.... Yes - that long ago!!)
It is with considerable sadness that we have just found out that John Treays - father of Jane Treays, one of the founder members of The Young Theatre at Beaconsfield - passed away on August 3rd and his funeral took place at Maker, Cornwall on August 19th. John was a colleague of IRW at BBC-tv and a leading and highly regarded Lighting Director who was very supportive of YT - even doing the lighting for the production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in 1972! Our condolences go to Jane and all John’s family.
We have received a number of messages of support for Peter Lock (see July notes) including this from Dino Stavrides in Cyprus... “Read about Peter on the XYT web page and I'm sad about his health. Wish him well from me. I knew Peter well before I joined YT - I could have been about seven, and he was two years older than me..... Regards Dino”
We have also heard from Andrew Kitchen (Group Director at Harrow 1972-76) who, after spending time as a local government Arts and Heritage Manager in a bid to “find the funds” for Waverley Council - now runs Eastern Edge - a creative development unit, based on the Suffolk coast.
Chris Lambert qualified for the final of BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Grand Slam! His semi-final, which was recorded on September 13th in Reading, was broadcast on Radio 4 on Thursday, 1st October. Very well done, Chris - and good luck in the Final which records in Birmingham on Tuesday, October 6th - sister Catherine and Dave Farey will be there cheering him on! It will be broadcast on Thursday 8th October - again on Radio 4!!
On TV: Seen on Channel 5... William (Bill) Tapley in a repeat showing of “Second In Command”...whilst Robert Glenister was in a repeat of George Gently on BBC-1 and a repeat of Frost on ITV3 ...Meanwhile on radio:- Richard Attlee continues in his role as Kenton in The Archers on Radio 4 - and Zoë Ball has been standing in for Ken Bruce, as well as hosting her own early Saturday morning show - both on Radio 2.
We've heard from Tim Smith (ex-YT Harrow) who writes...
“.... my name is Tim Smith and I was a YT member in North Harrow in the mid 1970s. Looking at the list of productions, the ones I remember being involved with are... Aesop's Falables ; The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew (I was Sir Graceless Strongbody - it would still be typecasting!) ; and The Wizard of Oz. I also recall “Thank you very much” by C P Taylor - and the fuss from some audience members about the bad language - and a mystery/miracle play which we performed in various places around Harrow and Pinner from a horse-drawn cart.
“I live in Rickmansworth now, and am married with 2 teenage children. I'm a music teacher, presently dividing my time between Cannon Lane Middle School (Pinner) and Roxeth Manor (South Harrow), and am also Director of Music at St Mary's Church, Harrow on the Hill.
“It's fascinating looking through the site and trying to put faces to names from so long ago. Best wishes, Tim Smith”
We've also heard from Jan Richards - a member at Beaconsfield from 1995-99 - who has pointed out that there is a group on Friends Reunited for Beaconsfield XYT-ites! ...
and for XYT-ites from North Harrow...
As is usual with Friends Reunited, you will need to be registered to take part and you can be assured that IRW has been/will be making contact with as many of those listed on those pages as possible!
Chris Lambert is competing in the second semi-final of BBC Radio 4's Poetry Grand Slam, which is being recorded on September 13th in Reading. It's due to be broadcast on Radio 4 on Thursday, 1st October (at 11pm unfortunately!) but it might well be available on Radio 4's “listen again” service online... More details at:-
Good luck, Chris! Fingers crossed...the Final will be broadcast a week later!
To all those who were around in the very early days of YT at North Harrow: in the course of trying to identify who was in the 1967 Critic stage-crew photo (see May) - we've had the news that Peter Lock suffered a major stroke some eighteen months ago, and is struggling to come to terms with the difficulties that he has been left with as a result. However, his wife, Caroline has told IRW that he has recently acquired another of his favourite Dalmatians and is enjoying taking it on long walks around their small-holding in west Wales! Some Beaconsfield members will remember how delighted we were that Peter and his family turned up to support YT's production of “Ball Boys” at the British Final in Aberystwyth in 2004! We're sure that all those involved with YT will want to join with us in wishing Peter, Caroline and his family, well.
The Graphic on the right was drawn by Peter and appeared in the Harrow Observer for TOAD in 1967
Seen on ITV3 recently, Robert Glenister in a re-run of a Pie in The Sky episode, “An Innocent Man” - playing DCI Fields - a copper bending the rules to “fit someone up!
IRW met up with Kate Dicker (nee Gold) for coffee in Beaconsfield and spent a very enjoyable couple of hours chatting over the “old days” of YT - (particularly the 1980's/90's in this case!)... Kate is about to “retire” as Director of PB Kids Ltd... a highly successful mobile crèche, operating worldwide with such organisations as the professional tennis and golf circuits... to spend a bit more quality time with her own two children!
Seen at the recent Burnham Trophy production by YT at Beaconsfield - Joanne Moran (nee Burnage), who was there watching her daughter Annabel perform in one of the plays..... whilst another of the plays was directed by Elliot Blagden whose mother is Emma Blagden (nee Read) - also ex-YT Beaconsfield. Talk about second generation YT!
Rob Bowen (ex-group director at Beaconsfield) got married on July 11th to Caroline Glenhill - an event attended by several XYT-ites including Dave Farey & Catherine Lambert; Chris Lambert; Steph Lennon; Chris & Simon Gurney; Chris Reay
Ally Hill; Suzie McPherson (née Buckley) ; Carla Quelch and John Sharman (and Helen was there too!).... Our very best wishes to both Rob & Caroline....
Congratulations to Zoë Ball and husband Norman Cook (aka Fat Boy Slim) who live in Hove, East Sussex, on the announcement that Zoë is expecting their second child. They already have a son, Woody who's aged eight.
Richard Roach(aka Morris) was spotted playing a stroppy young hit-and-run driver in a repeat of Heartbeat on ITV3 recently! (And always wilbury.... :-)
IRW makes the heartfelt plea that any XYT-ites who change their email addresses let him know as he has been got a large number of "bounced" responses to a recent information email.... It's difficult to contact you if we don't have the right address - and if you don't want to hear from us, we'll happily remove you from the circulation list... you just have to ask!
Helen Sharman has been editing several original YT Burnham Trophy scripts with a view to having them published (and raising funds for YT to boot). She has already completed Floor 13 and Death of an Angel, is currently tackling Carpe Diem and went looking for some other scripts, but found only empty folders … she has asked us to put out an appeal for particularly any of the following: Circle of Seasons [it’s okay, IRW has that one!], Daddy’s Coming Home, Des Tiny's Story to name but a few. So, please, if you can help - get in touch. Helen has promised to return any original scripts.
Paul Bacon has been spotted sporting spectacles, tinkling the ivories and pretending to be Reg Dwight who some may say bears a striking resemblance to Paul. [I keep promising myself to go along and will next time! Find Paul on FaceBook T.]
Following receiving various items supplied by John Thurley recently - particularly a photo of the stage crew for The Critic in 1967 (!) - we’ve been pursuing information about who was in that photo(!) IRW has been in touch with Kay Koré, and particularly with the Stage Manager of that production, one David Maskell [tracked down via his sister Tricia Wardle (aka Pat Maskell)]. David was able to supply possible identification that the person “hidden” behind him in the photo might be Peter Lock - but, despite various enquiries, the others “hidden” behind John remain unidentified! However we’re still attempting to contact various other XYT-ites from that period to see if they’ve got any ideas! Any suggestions of contenders would be most welcome!
Robert Glenister was spotted in the two part drama Hitler - The Rise of Evil on Channel Four playing Anton Drexler … and, in contrast, playing opposite David Jason in the Inspector Frost re-runs on ITV-3.
Zoë Ball has been doing more “stand-in” stints on Radio 2 - and is starting a new show on Saturdays. Details on Zoë’s BBC site.
In case you haven‘t come across it … visit www.shellacsisters.co.uk … the “Jane” being one Jane Fryers (ex-YT Beaconsfield, and ex-BBC-tv Drama PA), who has several strings to her bow as she is also a highly respected milliner www.janefryers.co.uk. (A long way from being Secretary of YT in the late 1970‘s and IRW‘s PA for such shows as Snow White in 1980!!)
IRW has now received the promised large packet of YT North Harrow memorabilia from John Thurley, who writes…
“I hope it is of some interest to you and YT. I am just coming to the end of work as an IT specialist with the National Audit Office, retiring next month and not a day too soon! Liz and I have two sons and we have ended up in Lewes in Sussex, which will be a good place to retire to. I’ve no drama medals to polish I’m afraid, the highlights of my career being that sea battle [in The Critic in 1967: Ed.] and SM’ing a play on the Edinburgh Fringe in the early 1970s. I remain well if not quite as skinny as I used to be... the result of 30 years of sitting in front of computers. I will try and organise a trip to see a production in Beaconsfield before I get too old and stiff. Best wishes to you and to anyone who remembers me from North Harrow Œ John (3rd Shepherd in 196?)”
[It was 1960 John - and your sister Judith was also one of the Attendant Angels!! IRW]
The material sent by John will be retained in the YT written archive - and various bits and pieces - including some interesting photos! - will be scanned and added to the online version as and when possible. Many thanks John!
We received an enquiry from a certain Rachel Bradley in the U.S. of A. who wrote:-
“Hi there - I was a YT member back in c 1981-1984 era involved in productions such as Le Bals des Mannequins, Laundry Girls, Rat Trap (with Mark B), Here we Go... I am looking to get in touch with Nicola Hall who was around during that time - do you have an email address for her? Best Wishes, Rachel (Day back then)”
Unfortunately we had to tell her that we were unable to help - but we then got this back from her Œ(!)
“Thanks for your quick follow up - I did find her through some internet super sleuthing - she is still living in the Beaconsfield area. (!) I caught up with Sarah Collins a few years ago as we are on the same coast - she is near San Francisco and I am in Seattle - that was a lot of fun reminiscing about a whole lot of stuff! So lovely to see that YT continues to offer such a unique source of training, enjoyment and a barrel load of memories to come. Best Wishes, Rachel.”
Where are you Nicola? We‘d love to hear from you too!
Michael Hulls’ remarkable collaboration with the leading choreographer Russell Maliphant continues. Their latest production at the Coliseum celebrated Maliphant’s 10 years of work, and was critically acclaimed. Time Out said that “all of it’s lit by Maliphant’s longtime collaborator, the masterly Michael Hulls.”; Judith Mackrell (in the Guardian) said:- “as always the lighting of Michael Hulls intensifies the emotion, irradiating the dancers so that the light seems to come from within their bodies as well as from outside.”; whilst Sarah Crompton in the Daily Telegraph commented that :- “Maliphant’s most important collaborator isn’t on the stage. Michael Hulls’ extraordinary sculptural lighting shapes everything. In this way, the evening is not just a celebration of 10 years of work, but also of one of the most important partnerships in British dance.”. High praise indeed!
Meanwhile, every weekday morning on Radio 2, Zoë Ball was “standing in” for a couple of weeks for Ken Bruce.
You might also have had a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XltFvQZI4Ck which refers to “the airship builders” at Nottingham University, one of which is a certain Peter Sharman (!!)... cue music: The magnificent men in their flying machines? Let us hope that it will be a case of “Up, up and away”!!
Marriage news for two XYT-ites: Suzie Buckley married Shaun McPherson on the 18th April; and ex-Beaconsfield GD Rob Bowen will be marrying Caroline Gledhill on 11 July 2009. So, our congratulations and very best wishes to both couples.
We have heard from yet more XYT-ites from Harrow recently.... Firstly IRW made contact with PAUL MORAN (who was Group Director 1979-81 and who penned “Peace Loving Men” for the group) through Friends Reunited! Paul is now teaching Media and Film in Broadstairs in Kent, and was able to supply bits of information about those years. IRW is now trying to extract yet more information from him about those years (!) - and about his twin brother JOHN who married HANNAH LUBICH - yet more XYT-ites!
As a result of IRW trying to compile a list of all YT members at Harrow between 1964 and 1982, he has been in touch with KAY LOCKER (aka Koré) and also with PHILIPPA KITCHEN, who gave us update information about her brother ANDREW (GD at Harrow 1972-76) who we believe is now the Service Manager (Arts & Heritage) - Culture, Tourism & Sport for Waverley Council and based in Lowestoft, Suffolk. (Naturally IRW is trying to make contact!)
Then, most recently, we heard from JOHN THURLEY, who was very much involved in the backstage activities of the group in the late 1960's as well as co-writing the script for "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" which was staged by Harrow in 1969 and subsequently by Beaconsfield in 1972... and he has offered us various memorabilia from those years which will be added to the paper archive and some of which we can hopefully add to the online archive.
Patron ROBERT GLENISTER has been “treading the boards” again - this time in a solo performance at the Bush Theatre in a new production “Wrecks” by Neil Labute.
We're delighted to hear that Welsh National Opera plan to revive the youth opera “Sweetness and Badness”, the libretto of which was written by MICHAEL WICHEREK. (Group Director at Beaconsfield 1982-84) who is now the Artistic Director & Writer-in-Residence of Boxclever Theatre Company. The production premiered successfully in 2007 and will return in spring 2009.
And finally — RICK WARDEN was seen on ITV2 in a repeat episode of “Primeval” as the manager of an adventure park who got eaten by a CGI sabre-tooth tiger! It's not known whether the sabre-tooth tiger got any repeat fees!
We've recently heard from two ex-members of YT at North Harrow:
Firstly Dino Stavrides, now residing in sunny Cyprus, who was very active with YT from about 1966 on, (particularly remembered for his performance as Georges in Deserted House in 1968!). We have managed to put him in touch with Jacquie Russell; and with another member of that Deserted House cast, Ceris Feakes (nee Challenger) who played Delphine, and who now lives in Amelia Island, Florida. Hopefully emails have been criss-crossing the international borders!
And we've also heard from Graham Fryer, who's currently working in London. Again someone very active with YT North Harrow, although backstage rather than onstage, and particularly on the lighting front (Last of the Wizards & Tinder Box in 1972 for example). Hopefully we'll be able to get more information from Graham in due course!
Meanwhile, Robert Glenister (also ex-YT Harrow!) has reappeared in the new series of Hustle on BBC-1.....
On a sad note - Muriel Austen, who was so helpful to IRW with both choreography and make-up for The Magic Mirror, the very first production by the St. Alban's Junior Drama Group in July 1964, and for subsequent productions in those early days, died recently aged 98. Ian will be representing The Young Theatre at her funeral on February 12th.
A happier bit of news is that we've heard on the grapevine that Anne-Marie Crawford has given birth to her first child - a girl - (although we're still waiting to acquire more details!) - and has now returned to work in the Drama Department of BBC-tv.....
And Dave Farey (Troublemaker Theatre Company) was among those presented to the Princess Royal when she officially opened the Cornerstone Arts Centre, where Troublemaker run both youth drama classes and workshop sessions.
If you have any information about past Young Theatre productions, or information about any Young Theatre activities, then do please get in touch; and if you know any other ex-members of YT, please tell them about this site - we would very much like to hear from them too.
© 20200220T031408 ©