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1970+

Shakespeare

 

 

 

 

 

1975 production

Othello poster

1974

August – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Roger Stott, said –

“This will be the first Shakespeare production in 26 years of Wick history. There have always been pro- and anti- Shakespeare lobbies in the Company but everyone will probably agree that it is an experiment which deserves our full support.”

1975

January 21 – Auditions held in Barrie Bowen’s home on Southwick Green.

March 26 – Cast announced.

May 20, 21, 22, 23 & 24 – production dates

June – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Andrew Theaker, said –

“Othello is now over and I am sure that those of you who saw it will agree that it was an extremely good production which reflected the many hours of hard work put in by the Director, Producer, Cast and Back Stage workers. Unfortunately audiences were not as large as we would have liked and I anticipate there will be an overall loss on the production”.

Brighton & Hove Gazette – Walter Hix wrote –

“The Wick Theatre Company certainly ended their 26th season in a blaze of glory. Their production last week of Othello was truly fine in its acting, direction, setting and costumes.

Brian Moulton, reached great heights as the Moor. Technically brilliant, and with great power, he plumbed the depths of the great man’s torment.

As the scheming Iago, Neil Shephard was less overtly crafty, with less whispering in the ear than is often done and the characterisation was thereby greatly enhanced, in its way, was as fine a performance as the more towering Othello.

Hilary Wiltshire brought to Desdemona a quality of Dresden delicacy; her beauty and the quality of her acting made her as near perfection as can be achieved with a complete and satisfying absence of histrionics.

The whole thing was a fine experience.”

Directed by Nikki Le Roy, who already had six director credits to this point, this production was to be his last ‘appearance’ for the company.

Neil Shephard [Iago] & Peter Joyce [Roderigo]
1994 production

1994

January – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Charles Porter said :

“It’s been nearly 20 years since the Company has presented a Shakespearian production – and this will be only the second time in its history. The director will be Bob Ryder, who is looking to produce a highly-polished production to feature in the Adur Festival and [we hope] bring in a good audience from schools, as well as our usual following.”

January 10 – Reading of play

January 17 – Bob Ryder conducts Workshops “Acting Shakespeare”
&
February 14 – intended to be of general interest to all but specifically for those considering auditioning

February 21 – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

June 8, 9, 10 & 11 – production dates

June – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Charles Porter, said –

” ‘But that’s all one, our play is done, And we’ll strive to please you every day’

You most certainly did – well done to everyone. Twelfth Night was the success it deserved to be. It was beautifully acted to make it approachable to even the uninitiated!

Of course a lot of hard work is put in by many others besides the cast and Director, and I am sure Bob would wish his thanks to be passed on to all the technical and backstage crew and other support people involved in the production.

A particular ‘well done’ to our two ‘debutantes’ of the Barn stage, Nick Ryder and Samir Rahim, may this be your first of many productions for you both.

Those eagerly awaiting Bob’s trademark, the lavatory flush, were not disappointed. Many thanks to his brother Nick for this particular sound effect!

As is often the way, bookings were sluggish until the last minute but picked up somewhat during the week. Friday now seems to be the night to come – that is fine but please don’t forget the first night when booking.”

Judith Berrill [Olivia] & Vic Gough [Feste]
Curtain call

1995 production

1994

September 26 – Reading of play

October 31 – Bob Ryder conducts workshop specifically about “Playing Romeo & Juliet”. It will look at the play itself and a the challenges involved in speaking the verse and acting the characters.

December 14 – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

1995

April 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 – production

June – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Charles Porter, said –

” ‘A veritable treat’

What a delightful way for the Shoreham Herald to describe our production of Romeo and Juliet and how well deserved!

Director, Bob Ryder and his team did a magnificent job in staging one of the greatest of the classics. The production brought the words of the Bard to life with a potent mix of humour and tragedy, swashbuckling action and tender love.

The sword-fighting was so enthusiastically tackled by Romeo, Tybalt and the rest that we nearly had real drama at the Saturday matinee when a sword blade broke at the hilt and crashed onto the side of the stage, in front of the arch. Any other direction and who knows?

Everyone involved deserves great credit for their efforts. The simple staging worked beautifully and there were some lovely performances – despite the cast being kept past midnight for the three nights prior to giving five performances in four days. Without wanting to single out individuals, Peter McGhie must be very proud of Tanja.

A big thank you to all of you who contributed to the really good audiences through the week. Each evening performance was full or very close to it, boosted by several parties of school children. The atmosphere was certainly lively before the Wednesday and Thursday performances, and during the intervals Winn was besieged by ice-cream buyers, but in the main they were a credit to their schools during the performances.

Final figures are not yet available but it seems likely the show will make a very good profit – a great result which proves that mounting a Shakespeare doesn’t have to be a gamble.”

David Creedon [Friar Laurence], Tanja McGhie [Juliet] &  Philip O’Brien [Romeo]
1996 production

April 29 – Reading of play

September 2 – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

December 4, 5, 6, & 8 – production

1997

January – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Charles Porter, said –

” ‘Bad Dream’

Alarm bells began to sound among the cast and crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when it emerged at the start of Mr Leonard White’s ‘adjudication’ that, even after two attempts and with the help of a programme, he could not place Shakespeare’s work to within the nearest 100 years. After a few minutes more, it became woefully clear that he was well out of his depth. His summary of the production subsequently at the Awards Evening [a ‘panto’, no less!] embarrassingly revealed how much had gone over his head. Still, as someone in the play might have put it, ‘it’s better to be brief than tedious’.

On a brighter note, many congratulations to Cara Jennings, who was given a merit certificate for her splendid playing of Hermia. A well-deserved award – as indeed would recognition to any member of the cast or production have been, As it turned out, Wick did pick up one of the five ‘main prizes’ – to Bob Ryder for best settings, which seems to be a new concept.”

Members of the public – our sternest critics – had this to say –

#1 -“Having seen the RSC production of ‘The Dream’ at Stratford a few weeks ago, I came to the Barn prepared for an anti-climax. But nothing of the kind – it was superb.”

#2 – “What an outstanding Shakespeare performance you have once again produced. It gave me untold pleasure.”

#3 – “I left school with very little interest in Shakespeare’s plays. Now, after seeing three productions of his work at the Barn, I have really come to love it. I found your ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ fascinating, but also light, colourful and extremely funny.”

#4 – When I see a whole audience, of all ages and backgrounds so completely absorbed, I know that there is production here which is the real thing.”

Curtain call

2000 production

March 27 – Reading of play

May 10 & 14 – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

September 7, 8, 9, amp; 13, 14, & 15 – production

2001

January – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Judith Berrill, said –

” ‘Brighton and Hove Arts Council Drama Awards’

Wick members held their breath as President Arnold Lewis read out the various winners in this year’s Drama Competition. How was the Scottish play going to fare after last year’s ‘triple crown’ success?

Well, we did have something to shout about- and it’s congratulations to Tony Brownings and his team for gaining the Adjudicator’s Award for the ‘Best Ensemble Production’. In case you’re wondering what this means, this is what it says on the certificate:

“Awarded to the Wick Theatre Company who played as a united company listening and reacting throughout, concentrating on the plot which contributed to its final success.”

Wick was also short-listed for four other major awards and once again won the Chairman’s special award for publicity and design.

The main cup is now in the hands of Rottingdean Drama Society for its production of Lysitsrata by Aristophanes, which some of us saw and enjoyed.

As adjudicator Bridget Biaggi commented, it seems that Wick members are the ones who take most trouble to watch other societies’ efforts.”

Adrian Kenward [Malcolm] &  John Garland [MacDuff]
Curtain call

2004 production

February 16 – Reading of play

May 24 & June 7 & 10 – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

September 10, 11, 14, 16, & 18 – production

Mark Best & Kevin Isaac holding back John Garland [Oliver] from getting to Tony Brownings [Frederick]
Curtain call – this was an ‘in-the-round’ production on the floor of the theatre

2008 production

no details – Reading of play

June 17 – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

June 21 & 22 – Auditions held in Wick workshop

September 10, 11, 14, 16, & 18 – production

November – The Company’s Newsletter, edited by Judith Berrill, included –

“‘Poetry Please'”

Fiona Cameron, Assistant Director on Richard lll became so immersed in the iambic pentameter that she was moved to pen her own sequel – which was declaimed at the after show party and presented to Bob as Director.

Director Bob Ryder

It is too good not to give it another airing.

A scrivened tale of Richard Three by Mrs Mop [aka – Fi]

He’s hoarse, of course. The King hath made him hoarse!
For 38 per cent of all discourse
Doth fall to him. although he doth protest,
With all his mortal breath, “I pray it stop!”
[Whilst ord’ring up a pint of ‘Carling Top’]
At this, he doth protest too much, me thinks
For whilst the play’s the thing, the world’s his stage
And he will shire – the brightest of our age.

And now, My Lord Barise
For though your membership be fresh and new
Your ‘formance was professional and true
We welcome you – [we also like your son!]
We’ll see much more of thee, we trust, Anon.
But Ho! Who Comes? Tis either George or Clarence here
Why no! ‘Tis neither – ’tis our old friend Phil
Who’s come to die [or was it yesterdi!?]
I must invoice him for the cleaning bill.

How now, what’s this? Gill Etter doth return.
From naked truth for all to see on stage,
concealéd now – she is and quite enraged!
Far from the role of Mistress Robinson
She graduates to playing royal scum
Elizabeth would curse as she has done.
And what of Natlie whose thankless task
It is to be much slobbered on by Guy
In front of Anna as she stands close by.

But soft, what light from yonder box doth break?
It is Sir Mike Medway who attends
To light the way in perfect fashion for his friends.
A dark and clever plot he did unfold
In vain we prayed for him to miss his cue
That Zara, over cans, could make the call,
‘Out, out, damned spot!’ – But it was not to be.
The plot was cunning and ’twere executed perfectly.

The Guildford Four and Brummie Six thou knowst
Had nothing on the hapless Pomfret Three
For though they claimed a blameless moral code
All begged me tie them up in secrecy.
All sought for motivation in their role –
Though mostly it was Brian – [strange enough!]
Then, on the breeze, I thought I heard Sir Larry call…
‘Just say your lines, dear boy, and then – piss off!’

And so to Judith. Bloody good thou art
and bloody hard that part for one so fair.
What though the Duchess is but witheréd
She boasts a new young consort in her bed
A man but half himself in former days
Who, when his hose beam full twice his girth,
Didst latterly to M&S repair
and proffer £15 for slimmer wear.

The Catesby/Ratcliffe partnership was snide
They played twixt cabbages and Kings to keep
their heads in place and back the winning side.
And as they butchered Richard with a grin
They left him to the tender care of Tudor spin.
And John, as Henry Seven, showed a range
Of fetishes and peccadillos strange.
In more enlightened times you’d find this cur
atop the sex offenders register.

Oh Tyrell, Tyrell, toil and trouble
as King and Norfolk also doubled
His butcherie was ruthless, full of glee
A point of wisdom I would make to thee
If Tony’s café menu doth beguile
Avoid the liver paté for a while …

Hoy! Bring me ink and paper there! A bowl of
wine … a calendar … a watch – who cares!
for handles, weapons and severed head:
the Props department took it all as ‘red’.
that Clarence blood’s a damnable device
which, when t’was mixed with water, formed a floor
like Richmand’s famous skating rink of yore
thus James renamed us ‘Richard lll on Ice’!

To be, or not to be a woman, Tom
Sure, that’s the question posed by many priests
Without the aid of ‘cache sex’ [q.v]
You did contrive a female form to please.
Ray Hopper gave us various disguise
As Joan and Zoey did, without demise
Sage Derby strutted well his noble stuff
And Mark, as Brackenb’ry was – good enough …
Your punks and princes showed what they could do.
Bravo Sarah, and Kirsty too.

Now here’s the rider to what’s gone before
A word about th’ director of our play.
The corse [!] of true art never did run smooth
And Richard’s no exception to the rule
The set [what set?] proved difficult to do,
His prompt fell ill and could not carry through,
The ghost of Dorset stalked us week by week
Until young William strode into the breach.

He lost and actor unsuspectingly
Who journeyed far from hastings shores – for weeks!
Full complement of players never came.
The times of bus and train seemed much to blame!
And [zounds!] to cap it all, domestic strife
Hath blighted his, and Judith’, ordered life.
No scullery, no means of cooking meals,
A house that may collapse for want of steel.
So much he bore with fortitude and zeal.

And yet the show went on. Without a doubt
A marathon it’s been both hard and long
And so, [inserting words to thwart the Bard!]
The chorus speaks [for once!] with one accord,
‘A run, well done Sir Bob! Our noble, sweating, Lord’

Curtain call

2012 production

February 20 – Reading of play

Early to mid-March – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

June 20, 21, 22, & 23 – production

Bob Ryder wrote: ““This marvellous play, probably first performed around 1598, has been hugely popular ever since. In many ways it feels very modern – Beatrice and Benedick are a model for the kind of ‘screwball’ romantic comedy now so familiar in the movies. In other ways, though, it foreshadows the kind of ‘problem plays’ which Shakespeare was to go on to write. Amid the comedy, there are some dark shadows around the plot to discredit the innocent bride-to-be, Hero.”

Amy Curtis [Beatrice] & Guy Steddon [Benedick]
Sophie Lane [Hero] & Tom Harris [Claudio]
2018 production

January 22 – Reading of play

February 20 & 21 – Auditions held in Southwick Community Centre

April 16 – Rehearsals began

June 27, 28, 29, & 30 – production

One patron observed “An ocular performance of the Tempest. Ariel’s command of the curse was as moving as the rest of the stage dynamics. A clear presentation of peer possession of native naivety and the decisive division of mariner classes was a classic warning of the wrongdoings of invading islands of belief.”

Bob Ryder [Prospero]
Emily Hurst [Ariel]