Toad of Toad Hall by Kenneth Graeme / A.A. Milne - 1960

The cast were: Robina Pearson, Mrs Stone, Philip Logan, Anthony Logan, Mr Palmer, Roger ?, Arthur Robson, S Malham, Joan Binks, David Groves, M Naylor, M Stoare, Savile Rushworth, C Morgan, Juliet Messenger, F Davis, Susan Poppleton, Cynthia ? and Valerie Cooper.



Pink String and Sealing Wax by Roland Pertwee - 1, 2 and 3 December 1960

The play - a thriller - takes place in the sitting room of the Strachn family's Brighton house in 1880. A news clipping said 'The Allertonshire Players have presented no less than 51 plays over the years, many of them with intriguing titles, and most of them with a great deal of proficiency. But their 52nd production, Pink String and Sealing Wax, must rank not only as the most diverting in title, but one of the most accomplished performances they have achieved.' But the age old problem of lack of audience was again in evidence: 'It was unfortunate that on Thursday night all too few people went along to find out for themselves.'

Directed by AW Mcdonald and KC Bacon. The cast were: Juliet Messenger, Kay M'Cartney, Kenneth W Taylor, JA Rooke, Sheila Malham, Anne S Salkeld, Arthur E Robson, Oliver Salkeld and Marion F Smith.

When we are married by J.B. Priestley - 30 November, 1 and 2 December 1961

The second time that the Players did this play - the first was in the very early days - so one which obviously stood the test of time. Maybe we should revive it.

The  newspaper correspondent berated his or her readers, thus: 'This production on Thursday was marred by a small audience. The hall was barely one third full and this support is not good enough from a town the size of Northallerton'. That told them.

Another clip mentions that someone had phoned up the paper for the name of 'our Member of  Parliament and the secretary of the Allertonshire Players'. Let's hope they didn't want to complain!

Directed by Marion Smith. The cast were: Juliet Messenger, Brian Rawling, Kathleen C Bacon, Gillian Lister, Malcolm Dennis, John A Chambers, Lee Vincent, Gwen Roberts, Edmund P Howden, Joan Binks, Anthony Logan, Audrey M Hill, Eleanor Cate and Savile Rushworth.



Flowering Cherry by Robert Bolt - 22, 23 and 24 March 1962

The action of the play passes in the kitchen and garden of the Cherrys' house in the suburbs. Jim Cherry is a man whose life is a pipe dream. Although for 25 years he has been an insurance agent and is likely to remain so for the next 25 years, he dreams of becoming an orchard farmer in Somerset. He is obsessed with this idea and even goes so far as to order trees. In the kitchen is a barrel of scrumpy and visitors are given a drink and treated to a long speech on the idyllic pastoral life he is about to get for himself and his family.

The Darlington and Stockton Times judged it 'another satisfactory performance by the Players who very seldom turn in a sloppy production'.

More censure for the audience though: 'One thing that was rather annoying on Thursday, and perhaps might have unsettled lesser actors, was that twice the audience tittered happily at what they thought was a humorous piece. Instead it was intended to be dramatic; this was not the fault of the Players but of the audience's lack of insight. Perhaps the Players have spoilt Northallerton audiences with too many whimsical comedies.'

Directed by Kay M'Cartney. The cast were: Edna William, Philip S Logan, Alan S Collinson, Anthony Logan, Juliet Messenger, Savile Rushworth and Robina A Pearson.



The Dover Road by A.A.Milne - 24, 25 and 26 January 1963

The scene is the reception room of Mr Latimer's house, a little way off the Dover Road.

There was clearly a dip in numbers participating as the programme declares: 'New members are urgently required both for acting and back stage if the Players are to continue to function. Anyone interested please come along to the school any Wednesday at 7pm, when they will be heartily welcomed'.

The play required the cast to eat steaks of turbot, grilled kidneys and chicken casserole on stage, all of which were cooked in the school ovens before the play began, although as one newspaper correspondent lets slip the recipes were not strictly followed, indeed 'the common potato was the basic ingredient'.

Directed by AW Mcdonald. The cast were: Lee Vincent, John D Cranston, Brian Rawling, Gillian Rawling, Margaret Frizell, A Barry Cawthorn, Alan S Collinson, Valerie Cooper, Robina E Pearson and A Paul Birchall.




A Hundred Years Old by S. and J. Quintero - 21, 22 and 23 March 1963

The action passes in the small Andalusian town of Arenales del Rio in the room of Papa Juan's house there.

'A play of unusual charm is being presented by the Allertonshire Players this week' said the newspaper correspondent, 'In this presentation the Allertonshire Players achieved something quite different from what has been seen before on the amateur stage in Northallerton, and present a deeply moving study'.

The usual homily follows: 'There was only a small audience for the performance on the opening night, and the Players deserve better support from a town which is fortunate to have such a hardworking amateur dramatic society'. Hear hear.

Directed by Edna Williams. The cast were: David Groves, Jane Hepworth, Margaret Lawson, Anthony Logan, AW Macdonald, Audrey M Hill, Gillian Rawling, Philip S Logan, Juliet Messenger, Susan Poppleton, Edward Banks and Alan S Collinson.

The Cure for Love by Walter Greenwood - 7, 8 and 9 November 1963

The action of the play takes place in Salford towards the last stages of WWII.

'This comedy production by the Allertonshire Players has a plot as uncomplicated as the kindergarten reading book and humour as broad as a bean,' said a news clipping, 'but in spite of this, or rather because of this, it is a roaring success. The audience on Thursday, refreshingly large for a first night, was content to sit back and let the simple dialogue flow over them....The change of policy in allowing some members of the usual back stage staff to take parts in the play paid off handsomely'

Although our correspondent goes on to complain: 'One glum note, unfortunately, the set for the pub scenes was frankly hideous, and was well below the Players' par. Surely they could have done better than this'.

That's what you get for letting back stage staff act!

Directed by Edna Williams. The cast were: Juliet Messenger, Eleanor Cate, Marilyn Aitken, Audrey Hill, John Cranston, David Groves, Kenneth Taylor, David Cole, Robina Pearson, Kathleen Bacon and Anthony Logan.



The Middlewatch by Ian Hay and Stephen King-Hall - 12, 13 and 14 March 1964

The play takes place on board HMS Falcon, a cruiser on the China Station, in the twenties. The programme notes that Ian Hay was the pen-name of Major General John Hay Beith (1876-1952). He was born in Manchester and was Director of Public Relations at the War Office from 1938 to 1941. Sir Stephen King-Hall was a Commander in the Royal Navy until 1929 and an Independent National MP from 1939-1945. Clearly then the Naval detail would have been correct but it does not sound from the review as if it was a rip roaring success as a play.

'This comedy by Ian Hay and Stephen King-Hall could hardly have been better named. Until the middle it was not worth watching'.

Things did improve, although 'as far as their lines were concerned, the whole cast were very well rehearsed. The same cannot be said for their entrance and exit cues. Too often on Thursday night, when there was a large first night audience, they were left staring at an empty stage.'

Directed by AW Macdonald. The cast were: Anthony Logan, Alan Gallimore, A Barry Cawthorn, Margaret Frizell, Susan Poppleton, Ian Cockerill, Valerie Cooper, David Cole, Patricia Shepherdson, Lee Vincent, Robina E Pearson, Kathleen Cording, Brian Rawling, David Fryer and John Cranston.

Autumn Crocus by Dodie Smith - 28, 29 and 30 January 1965

The action of the play takes place within 24 hours in a quiet valley within easy motoring distance of Innsbruck.
'Autumn crocus is not the easiest of plays for an amateur company,' said the review, 'It needs delicate handling to retain the sympathy of an audience with, and indeed their interest in, a love affair which never get anywhere near the bedroom' Tut tut - the gutter press eh? All they are interested in is sex.

On the whole the review concedes that the production succeeded, although 'the effect of the entertainment by the guests at the inn was spoiled because the singers came forward and sang to the audience as thought they were at a village concert, instead of to their fellow guests.'

However, 'the set was really goo, attractive without being arty.'
Directed by Edna Williams and AW McDonald. The cast were: David Fryer, Susan Poppleton, Kathleen Cording, Peggy Lawson, Audrey Hill, Lyn Lawson, Robin Archer, Savile Rushworth, Sheila Crome, Charles Miller, Julie Boyes and Christine Williamson.



Rock a Bye Sailor by Philip King and Falkland L. Cary - 6, 7 and 8 May 1965

Presented at the Allertonshire Girls' County Modern School, as it was known, this play was 'one of the Players' biggest ever successes' - so said the newspaper reviews at the time. All the cast were praised, although the 'cockney' accents did come in for a bit of a battering!

Directed by Edna Williams.

Cast
Edie Hornett....................................Sheila Crome
Emma Hornett................................Edna Williams
Henry Hornett..................................Anthony Logan
Mrs Florrie Lack..............................Barbara Chambers
Albert Tufnell AB.............................David Cole
Shirley Tufnell.................................Lyn Lawson
Daphne Bligh..................................Robina Cole
Carnoustie Bligh AB........................Charles Miller
The Hon. Robin Stebbington............David Groves. 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - 2, 3 and 4 December 1965

The action of the play takes place in the Hall at 'Manderley', the home of Maxim de Winter.

Directed by David Fryer. The cast were: Savile Rushworth, Kathleen C Bacon, Audrey M Hill, David Cole, David Groves, Robin Archer, Hilary Gauntlett, Barry Cawthorn, Audrie Donnelly, Charles Miller, Lee Vincent and Alan Gallimore.

Hobson's Choice by Harold Brighouse - 5, 6 and 7 May 1966

The scene is Salford, Lancashire and the period 1980.

A newspaper review made the most of the title of the play to make a point, as follows:
'Allertonshire Players Amateur Dramatic Society have to move home after 20 years - because of trouble in the kitchens. Stricter Ministry rules mean they cannot use the kitchens of Allertonshire Girls School for dressing and make up. So next month it's Hobson's Choice - at Northallerton Grammar.'

Ho, ho. Sounds like there was a good audience, however, for this well known play, as the leading actor received 'the well deserved applause of an audience of some 300 patrons.'

Directed by Edna Williams.

Cast
Alice Hobson........................................Patricia Shepherdson
Vickey Hobson......................................Lyn Lawson
Maggie Hobson....................................Audrie Donnelly
Albert Prosser.......................................Alan Gallimore
Henry Horatio Hobson...........................A Barry Cawthorn
Mrs Hepworth.......................................Peggy Lawson
Timothy Wadlow (Tubby).......................Patrick Gee
William Mossop...................................Andrew Bramley
Jim Heeler............................................Anthony Logan
Ada Figgins..........................................Christine Williamson
Fred Beenstock...................................John R Harris
Dr Macfarlane.......................................A W McDonald.

The Ass and the Philosophers by Gwyneth Jones - 25 March 1966

This play was the first that the Players entered into a festival, in this case Teesside District round of  the British Drama League Festival of Community Drama at Middlesbrough Little Theatre. It was set in Greek about 2,300 years ago. Whether they won any prizes is not known.

Directed by Edna Williams.

Cast
Nicon.......................................John Harris
Didymus Hippocrates................Andrew Bramley
Academus...............................Anthony Logan
Clytie.......................................Susan Poppleton
Chloe.......................................Lyn Lawson
Achradina................................Audrey Hil
Doris........................................Sheila Crome
Sabina.....................................Peggy Lawson.

Shadow in the Sun by Maurice McLoughlin - 10, 11 and 12 November 1966

A newspaper review called this 'as far removed from the usual amateur drama material of drawing room comedy and whodunnits as it is possible to get.' A compliment indeed, you might think, although the reviewer also said 'I would prefer entertainment pure and simple rather than watching a play whose topic is rather sour and moralises too much'! You can't please everyone!

The subject of the play was apartheid in South Africa and it was set in a high school. No comments about the accents though so maybe South African was easier to pull off than Cockney!

Directed by Edna Williams.

Cast
Sheila Van Ryn, the mathematics mistress..................................................Audrey M Hill
Rhoda Price, the games mistress................................................................Sheila Crome
Maxine de Groot, a senior girl......................................................................Janice Bowling
Pamela Hall, the head girl............................................................................Catherine Wilson
Huysman, the caretaker and gardener...........................................................Alan R Gallimore
Ruth Perry, the English literature mistress.....................................................Hilary Gauntlett
Dorothy Calvert, the Principal........................................................................Robina E Cole
Anne Baker, the geography mistress.............................................................Eileen Smith
Caroline Hayley, the history mistress.............................................................Peggy Lawson
Pieter Vandenberg, the music master.............................................................David Cole
Mr de Groot, Maxine's father..........................................................................Arthur Robson
Barbara, a junior girl......................................................................................Gabrielle Wilson
Mrs Richards, Pamela's grandmother..............................................................Kathleen C Bacon.

As long as they're happy by 30, 31 March and 1 April 1967

'These players provide riotous fun for theatregoers in this current production. The modern play is good fun for stuffy conventionalists as well as for the 'with it' types, for the playwright makes fun of the crazy situations and oddities who are so much in the news these days' 

Ex-theatre girl Stella Bentley is married to a wealthy but serious minded stockbroker, John, and is stepmother to his three 'outrageously mod' daughters, two of whom are married to 'odd fellows'. The youngest has lost her heart to a crooner more than twice her age, one Bobby Denver. 

Directed by Edna Williams.

Cast
Gwendoline.............................Eileen Smith
LInda......................................Peggy Lawson
Patricia...................................Janice Bowling
Stella Bentley..........................Patricia Shepherdson
John Bentley............................Charles Miller
Bobby Denver...........................Patrick Gee
Hermann Schneider..................Anthony Logan
Michael Kenley........................Robert Young
Peter Pember..........................Andrew Bramley
Pearl.......................................Sheila Crome
Corinne...................................Catherine Wilson
Barnaby..................................David Kelly
Mr Skeffington.........................Timmy (a dog)

The Young Elizabeth by Jeanette Dowling and Francis Letton - 26, 27 and 28 October 1967

The reviewer obviously liked this one, although some do not seem to have agreed with  him or her.

'Superb Elizabeth - in 20 years of watching amateur productions in Northallerton, I have never seen anything to equal the performances given by Allertonshire Players in 'The Young Elizabeth' last night. Against startingly effective scenes, all the bloody intrigues of mid-16th century Tudor England came to life. It was unfortunate that the quality of the audience did not match that of the players. A minority group in the nearly full house found it necessary to cover up its lack of appreciation of the drama by giggles and even sometimes laughter.'

Philistines.

Directed by Edna Williams.

Cast
1st Palace Guard.......................................David Hanby
2nd Palace Guard......................................Janet Blair
A Page.....................................................Christine Robinson
Lord Thomas Seymour...............................A Barry Cawthorn
Lord Robet Tyrwhitt....................................Stephen Parker
Katherine Parr............................................Audrey M Hill
Mary Tudor.................................................Patricia Shepherdson
William Cecil..............................................Patrick Brady
Bishop Gardiner..........................................Glyn Pearson
Amy, a serving maid....................................Kathleen Metcalfe
Katherine Ashley........................................Sheila Crome
Elizabeth Tudor...........................................Eileen Smith
Thomas Parry.............................................Savile Rushworth
Robert Dudley.............................................Michael J Mitton
Lady Tyrwhitt..............................................Cherry Bridge
Sir Francis Verney......................................Ian Walker
Sir Thomas Wyatt.......................................Robert Young
Sir Peter Carew..........................................John Archer
Abel Cousins..............................................Michael R Kirk
1st Lady.....................................................Kathleen Metcalfe
2nd Lady....................................................Gill Toes.
Lord William Howard...................................Stephen Parker

Listen to thi Mother Lad by Allan S. Collinson - 18, 19 and 20 April 1968

This was a play specially commissioned by the Players from one of their members, school teacher Allan Collinson. The result was this Yorkshire comedy with a prominent local theme. It was his first play and its world premiere was in Northallerton!

The newspaper review notes that 'On the evidence of the first night, Mr Collinson came out of it better than the Players'. Ah well. Interesting to note that there were 24 people in the play. Casts were certainly bigger in those days.

Directed by Edna Williams.

Cast
Joss Marshall....................................................... Andrew Bramley
John Tarrant...........................................................Ian Walker
Ellie Fawcett...........................................................Peggy Lawson
Doris Normington....................................................Patricia Shepherdson
Arthur Normington..................................................R Patrick H Brady
Harold Hartley........................................................Anthony N Logan
Vicky Marshall........................................................Sheila Crome
Cecil Muxlow..........................................................Tony Riley
Margaret Hartley.....................................................Marjorie A Riley
Mr Parkinson..........................................................Glyn Pearson
Glenda Reilly..........................................................Eileen Smith
Desmond Fawcett...................................................D Cooper
Willie Fawcett.........................................................John Archer
Tommy Fawcett......................................................Robert Young
Else.......................................................................Janice Bowling
Edwina Normington.................................................Helen Bushnell
Sandra Normington.................................................Christine Trousdale
Frederica Golightly Finch........................................Jennifer Storm
Charlie Hartley.......................................................David Harnby
Peg Reilly..............................................................Kathleen C Bacon
Domino players......................................................Jack Lawton, Graham Vitty, Terry Law and Kelvin McGarr.



The Proof of the Poison by Falkland L. Cary and Philip Weathers - 24, 25 and 26 October 1968

'Old style murder a refreshing change from TV offerings...the plot is far from original and stereotyped characters wade through some woolly writing. But somehow this hardly mattered. Within minutes of the curtains going up the plot has been spelt out and the audience are getting down to spotting their first clues and the whodunnit is on.'

A good old fashioned whodunnit which clearly went down well with this reviewer.

Directed by A Barry Cawthorn. The cast were: Patrick Brady, Robina Cole, Kathleen Cording, Eileen Smith, Anthony Logan, Glyn Pearson, Cherry Bridge, Audrey Hill and Tony Riley.

The Murder of Maria Marten or The Red Barn by Brian J. Burton - 10, 11 and 12 April 1969

'Murder most boring...'

Not a particularly positive headline, and the review continued in the same vein:

'The sinister deeds in this Victorian melodrama may have satisfied the actors but the medium itself was depressingly poor entertainment.'

Another reviewer opines: 'Maria Marten is not up to the Players' standard.' Fourteen scene changes made it drag apparently.

Directed by Mr Joycey.

Cast
Maria Marten...............................Miss Willoughby
William Corder...........................Mr Brady
Thomas Marten..........................Mr Logan
Mrs Marten...................................Mrs Lawson
Tim Bobbin..................................Mr Riley
Nell Hatfield.................................Miss Bridge
Anne Marten.................................Mrs Riley
Meg Bobbin..................................Mrs Shepherdson
Petra Andrews.............................Mrs Stokes
Rosa Post....................................Mrs Cording
Johnny Badger............................Mr Hanby
Pharos Lee..................................Mr Pearson
Alice Rumble...............................Mrs Bramley.

Celebration by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall - 23, 24 and 25 October 1969

Sounds a bit like 'Four weddings and a funeral' this one. Act 1 was the wedding of Christine Lucas to Bernard Fuller (at the Cricketers' Arms) and Act 2 was the funeral of Mr Arthur Broadbent.

It is described in the review as 'A pot-boiler with the typical back-chat of a working class family in situations of preparations for a family wedding, and subsequently a family funeral. It provides something of the atmosphere of a two bit Coronation Street serial'. A bit less posh than 'Four weddings and a funeral' then.

It seems to have gone down ok, though, providing the audience 'with easily digestible fun and a pleasantly relaxing evening.'

Directed by Beverley Joicey. The cast were: Glyn Pearson, Patricia Shepherdson, Robert Young, Eileen Smith, Patrick Brady, Tony Riley, Kathleen Bacon, Kathleen Cording, Marjorie Riley, Peggy Lawson, Christopher Kirk, Paul Weatherall, Gwen Sayner, Ken Wingfield, Audrey Hill and Beverley Joicey.







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