Keele drama

Sixties' glory

drama-1963-lysistrata "Lysistrata (1958) was the first of many plays in which I acted at Keele. It was, in fact, directed by Frank Moorey who was a very influential figure at that time and who subsequently became a professional actor with great success at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. Tulla Tallianos played a main role but Joyce Parks played the protagonist. Much Ado was performed in spring 1959. Frank played Benedict and Tulla Beatrice. Mike Knapp played Claudio and Jocelyn Ryder-Smith Hero. In the 1959 production of The Country Wife , Chris Nuttall played Mr Pinchwife and I was Margery, his wife. Rollo Wicksteed played Horner. The acclaimed 1961 production of Hamlet, starring Tony Scott, was produced by Alan Berry and Sylvia Matthews. Basil Bigg was Claudius, Hilary Ellis Ophelia, Barry Pegg Laertes and I played Gertrude. The Modern languages department also produced several plays during my time at Keele. Frank Moorey directed “On ne badine pas avec l’amour” with Tulla as Camille and Ken Dawson as Perdican. In 1959 I played Phedre in a production directed by Profesor North. I have programmes, photos and reviews of most of these productions not to mention happy memories. Experience gained at Keele stood me in good stead. I spent much of my teaching career as a drama specialist and am still acting now at Westacre, a semi-professional theatre in west Norfolk."

Sue Smalley (Fairchild)

Photo above: The cast of Lysistrata, 1958

romeo-juliet-1960s "There is some more to add to the record of Keele drama, mostly about Lysistrata. A rather poor image from the local paper identifies some of the cast and identifies the producer correctly as Jo Pownall, not Simon Spencer. The other Lysistrata picture shows the complete cast in which the only additional names we can identify are Richard Barren, second left at the back, Hugh Springall as a policeman, Alistair Donaldson and Patsy Wilson seated in the middle with Mike Farmer to their left. Roger Frood is second left on the front row and bearded Nick Rowling on the front row right. The opening night was November 22nd 1963, postponed for an hour while we pulled ourselves together having heard about forty minutes before that JFK had been assassinated. The other image is from The Seagull. I can remember very little about who was in it apart from Pat East possibly as Arkadina, Ken Walsh as Konstantin (on the right in the picture), me as Nina and Hugh Springall as Sorin (?). I think Mike Fanya might have been in it also but not sure. Don't recall the producer but think the year was 1964. My husband, Ken Fogelman, also remembers carrying spears in A Winter's Tale (1963), Twelfth Night (1964) and Romeo and Juliet (1965)."

Audrey Fogelman (Corkan) (1966)

Photo above right: Cast of Romeo and Juliet, 1965

"I directed and acted in many full-length and one-act plays at Keele 1964-68. I was a founder member of Keele Theatre Company in 1966, and from 1966-1969 acted in and directed a dozen or so plays at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - Company Director 1968-69. After the 1967 Festival, KTC performed "Jock on the Go" by Peter Terson at the Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre in the West End for a month. I was given lifelong membership of Keele Students' Union for my work with KTC. From the mid-1970s I ran Stoke Original Theatre from 1976 touring shows, with a dozen at Edinburgh, where I won a Fringe First Award for one of my plays. Alongside my filmmaking work I've been a member of Equity as Ray Scott-Johnson since 1978, have toured 8 one-man plays around the UK including London, performed in productions in Midlands theatres, done things as varied as West End Theatre, radio drama and a Royal Variety Performance."

Ray Johnson (1968)

Photo below: KDS at Edinburgh, 1967-1968

drama 1967 edinburgh "I remember in 1967-68 Ray Johnson's adaptation of Macbeth was along Marowitz lines. Roger Frood played one of the witches. In Wozzeck: Roger Frood's translation, starring Mike Fox in the title role and Stubby Kaye ('up against the wall, Wozzeck ! like a dog, Wozzeck !') In The Hostage: John Hartoch. Stubby Kaye again and Linden West". In966-67 The Alchemist: Ray Johnson as Subtle, Mike Fox as Face, Rob Ellison as Sir Epicure Mammon. Ray and Mike also led in Jock on the Go, as Pastor Jabez and Jock respectively. It had rave review from Harold Hobson in Sunday Times. In 1965-66 Merchant of Venice: George Duncan as Shylock. Vicky Ewing directed Endgame - it won a Student Drama festival. It also featured Geoff White, Alf Howarth and Bobbie Conn. Lady Audley's Secret: our New Universities Festival production with Ken Graham, Huw Sheppard, Aldyth Dickson, Mike Fox, Bobbie Conn. Winnie the Pooh: adapted by Kathy Unsworth (later Kathy Swift, author of The Morville Hours, etc.), starring Simon Sweetman. Freshers' productions included Pinter's The Room, with Pete Pearson and Dave Ellwood, and maybe Mac Elsey. in 1964/65 Jack Emery directed Romeo & Juliet: George Duncan was Romeo, Serina Turner Juliet, Geoff White Friar Lawrence. The Wild Duck, Comus, or was this in 1963/64? In Camera for the Student Drama Festival - Erik Sorensen was in this. Pinter's Dumb Waiter (Fresher production), with Huw Sheppard and Syd Roberts."

John Meager (1968)

Dr Richard Swigg was a Senior Lecturer in the English Department from 1966 to 1995. During his time at Keele he was an active participant in University drama; directing and appearing in a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew at the Clock House and also taking a production of War and Peace to the Edinburgh Festival.

drama-1966-the-trigon "Unless The Maids was produced twice, it was not in 1961, but probably 1963/64 (I was not at Keele till fall 1962). One of the actors was a young woman I always thought of as "Nell Gwynn" because she always wore a long full skirt, a kerchief on her head and carried a basket over her arm. Her transformation to a woman in a fitted, pink satin dress was the thing I remember best about the production. She was the person Prof Ingram selected to demonstrate the Wimshurst machine in FY lectures. Also the drama society did Ibsen’s The Wild Duck probably in the 1964-65 season or possibly 1963-64. I cannot remember the name of one of the actors, whose parents did a puppet show for children on the BBC. Also he left Keele before graduating. I can picture him as the photographer character. (He modelled the character on another student, whose name I won't give.)"

Judith Wooldridge (1967)

Photo right: KDS, 1966, rehearsing The Trigon

"Simon Spencer also directed Women of Trachis by Ezra Pound in 1962(?). Eric Sorensen played Hercules. By the time we performed it (I think I was in the Greek chorus, moaning in the background), those of us involved had forgotten that we had initially thought it was awful, so we were not prepared for the hoots of laughter when Hercules burst into flames at the end. Alan Berry directed Under Milk Wood in 1961; and there was a one act play set on a train in Ireland at a similar period, that we performed in Leek in a competition."

Tessa Harding (Phillips) (1965)

"The director of Lysistrata was Simon Spencer (1963); in fact, I think there were two plays that night, though the other I don't recall. Does anyone remember who directed the excellent production of Genet's The Maids (about 1961)? Somewhere around 1958/9 and 1959/60 Tulla Tallianos played Cleopatra in Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra. I never saw this but it was a talked about production, if I recall correctly."

drama-1969-edinburgh-the-flood "I was gratified to see I actually appear in a photograph on the page. That's me with both hands on the grandfather clock, along with Mac Elsey, Ann Richardson, and Francis Beckett."

Joe Kelly (1969)

Photo left: KDS, 1969, Edinburgh "The Flood"

"I played one of the sisters in Lorca's House of Bernada Alba in, I think, Autumn 1963. My first and last dramatic venture. I think it was staged in the Walter Moberly Hall. I don't remember who else was in it apart from the wife of a Russian lecturer who was astonished at the idea she might be expected to iron his shirts. I think it was directed by Martin somebody who must have been in his third or fourth year. Alf Howarth was one of the acting stars of our year and introduced me to Beckett - Waiting for Godot?"

Clarissa Dorner (King) (1966)

"I designed the posters for Jock-on-the-Go, Hamlet and A Remnant (performed at Edinburgh 1967) and as I’ve always had a weakness for doing everything myself I printed them as well. They were quite good. I still have some copies."

Marshall Colman (1968)

The Athletic Union shares the thespian urge

"The hockey club was fortunate in having the services of the late Hugh Berrington, who wrote contemporary skits using classic drama. We performed Waiting for Godot and perhaps most memorably a take-off of Henry V in which I had to play Harold Wilson (being the only hockey player with a non-public school Northern accent!). I even remember some of my lines: "Once more unto the polls, dear friends, once more, or block up the boxes with our lost deposits..."

Andrew Sackville (1966)

"I am reminded of our final fling review in 1969. It followed shortly after the first ever “sit-in” in the Registry and was themed around those troubles to Gilbert and Sullivan tunes. I think like all such reviews, the Walter Moberly Hall was packed to the rafters and, unbelievable as it now seems, I even sang a solo. I think I might even still have the script somewhere in the loft. A few months ago, my Keele friend and contemporary, Linden West (1969), and I met two campus children of the time, Godfrey Jordan (son of Dominic Jordan – Maths lecturer) and Chris Tough (son of Arthur Tough – Deputy Registrar) at half-time in the Fulham v Stoke City game. Godfrey said (amazingly) that his mum remembered me being carried on to the stage in that show, which prompted Linden and me to spontaneously strike up with a rendition of that music – much to the astonishment of Godfrey and Chris and the nearby crowd. Perhaps the most amazing thing was that we still remembered the words (or some of them!). Godfrey and Chris had memories of passing those student demonstrations on their way to primary school and wondering what on earth was going on. Happy days! By the way, the Fulham crowd were treated to this:

Oh, is there not one Senator, whose liberal past and princely station
Can help us to espouse our cause
And fight the lodgings regulation
Is there not one ?
(lone voice) – yes, one!
Ah! ‘tis Lampert

(i.e. Eugene Lampert, Professor of Russian studies, believed to be the member of Senate most sympathetic to the Union cause)"

Malc Clarke (1969)

"My strongest memory is of Malc’s singing (never completely his strong point), ‘Oh is there not one Senator’ and of some confusion to who was playing John Dent, John Hodgkinson and David Ingram, but I don’t think it spoiled the theatre. David of course later became Vice-Chancellor at Kent, and interviewed me for a job, in 1990. ‘The last time we met, Linden, was’, he recalled, right at the beginning of the interview, ‘on opposite sides of the barricades in the Keele Registry in 1968.’; not sure that was totally true, or about the precise date, but it also made for good theatre."

Linden West (1969)

"That must be the one I was in, when a bunch of us 'girls' imitated a car engine under the guidance of Don Foster (1969)."

Clare Radstone (Woodward) (1969)

"Splendid Gilbert and Sullivan pastiches were written by Mike Brereton: Three Little Fresherettes (Three Little Maids from School) being a minor masterpiece (“Come to a place where love is free”)."

Francis Beckett (1969)

"Actually I only directed the 1969 final fling review. As I remember it, the G & S pastiche was written by John Hartoch. It was of a Senate meeting and part of it ran (from memory) "We won't have to beg or to barter/ To get our names writ into the Charter/ For when Dave Ingram sucks up to her/ She's such a susceptible Chancellor." This would probably be actionable nowadays and we did wonder about the central heating in the Tower of London! I think that Malc Clarke, Linden West and others did a 'Match of the Day' skit involving final exam results being classified in slow-mo replay (I think Malc did the David Coleman bit!) There was also a chorus line of distraught undergraduettes presenting themselves to the Hall Tutor system (I think I wrote this but I may be wrong) based on a Beatles melody (a pregnant Harrowby resident singing "Mr Day - love was such an easy game to play . . . etc.). But memory fades."

Mike Brereton (1969)

"I don't think this exchange should conclude without a brief mention of the notorious Final Fling 1968, which was I think masterminded by Ray Johnston. It included the usual G & S pastiches, as well as a number of revamped Beatles numbers. The centrepiece was a re-write of “Yesterday”, performed by a nubile but apparently very pregnant finalist (the lovely Jane Wood). The full torrid lyrics are available on application, but the plaintive refrain ("Oh, Mr Day came suddenly") was sufficient explanation for the equally sudden departure of a number of senior staff, led by the usually unflappable Registrar. I think we were all forgiven in time."

Bill Proctor (1968)

"I don't think Bill Proctor made two appearances in a Final Fling revue but Malc Clarke certainly did. In 1968 along with Jane Wood's song, when Ray Johnson played Mr Day - there was a running Martin Dent joke with Tony Barrand as MJD. In a fake cricket sketch, Malc (a decent bowler, I recall) said: "Oh, Martin, you've slashed outside your off-stump". In 1969, Malc certainly did the “Colemanballs” bit with Linden West's slow-motion "First Class Honours Answer." He also interviewed Francis Beckett, playing Dave Ingram, on the subject of Gypsies. It brought the house down - and Dave Ingram's rapid exit. Francis's Ingram was as good as Mike Ridley's the year before, but more audible. Linden West's other great triumph was singing "the 18th Day of November" in a staging of Brendan Behan's The Hostage. Now there was a playwright."

John Meager (1968)

"Audrey Fogelman (Corkan) was in The Seagull, the start of which was delayed for an hour before the decision was taken to continue despite having just heard of the assassination of John F Kennedy."

Ken Fogelman (1966)

"I recall a production of Kleist's Der Gerbrochene Krug in the mid-sixties."

Marshall Colman