School plays


 What play and year is this?


 RGS: Pride and Prejudice – what year is this?


RGS: Taming of the Shrew 1961

From left to right: Paul Smith, John Evans, John Ellinger, Jacqueline Ovenden, Errol Girdlestone


RGS: Knight of the Burning Pestle – 1962


Michael Cleverly and Christine Oates

RCSS (Rye County Secondary School): The Government Inspector 1963

(Photos of programme and action and information courtesy of Barry Ewart)




 Cast of The Government Inspector

Action from The Government Inspector

First picture:  Top: Thomas Soane, Barry Ewart, Nicholas Machin.  (Bottom)  seated:  ?, Brian Dennis, Adrian Newton.   Standing:  Nicholas Machin, Barry Ewart

Second picture: Top: Nicholas Machin, Anthony Woods, Barry Ewart,  Brian Dennis.  (Bottom) Angela Boots, Thomas Soane, Susan Apps, Brian Dennis

More action from The Government Inspector


RGS: Androcles and the Lion 1964

(Jim Holmes played Androcles)

 John Apps in Androcles and the Lion

A Midsummer Night’s Dream- 1964

(Photo and information courtesy of Barry Ewart)

Barry Ewart writes: This picture was taken outside the Ellen Terry Memorial theatre in Smallhythe, near Tenterden.  It is also known as the Barn Theatre (it is a converted barn) and beside it stands the Ellen Terry Museum – or it did.  It shows me as Puck with Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth & Mustardseed in attendance.  We were probably taking a break during a dress rehearsal of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in August 1964 when I’d just turned 15.  Remarkably, the four fairies comprise two sets of twins so the pic contains five twins! – a theatrical first?  I vividly recall the cast being lined up following one matinee performance, in the same spot as the picture, to meet the actor Donald Houston who shook hands with us all rather like the Queen meeting the  cast of Royal Command Performance backstage at the London Palladium.

RCSS: Dark of the Moon – 1964 

(Photos of programme and action and information courtesy of Barry Ewart)




Cast of Dark of the Moon

RGS: Macbeth – 1965

Brian Dennis (Macduff) and Chris White

 Graham Alcock as Duncan

Terry Barden and Alison Hadley as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth


Terry Barden (Macbeth), John Apps (Banquo) meet the witches – Ingrid Burke, Hilary Hamilton and Jane Albury (Photo courtesy of Hilary Hamilton)

The witches  (Photo courtesy of Hilary Hamilton)

The Lady’s Not For Burning – 1966

(With thanks to Colin Swan for the photo – he describes himself as the rather Goth-like Chaplain!)

Peter Ewart has provided the following comments on the above picture:
‘I remember this was David Gaunt’s 1966 production, but that’s about all!  My part, Matthew Skipps, was a very small role with a walk-on part near the end, in which he makes a bit of a scene while drunk, mispronouncing almost everything. Don’t recall reading the whole script even once, nor was I at many rehearsals, as RDG recruited me quite late, it being a small role. I auditioned (just a brief read through) one lunchtime in the hall and he also heard Geoff Boxall read through it too. He should really have chosen Geoff, who’d bothered to familiarise himself with the part beforehand, whereas I hadn’t and didn’t even know it was a drunken role! But RDG (“Rev”) had been asking me for ages to get involved in drama as he knew two of my brothers had, but I’d held off each year. Too busy footballing & cricketing!  I was astonished at the burst of applause as I exited, having no idea then of the tradition of applauding colourful little cameo roles. Perhaps that encouraged me to stick with the school play in future! 
Surely the winkle-pickered lad under the antlers is Grant “Polly” Parrot?  I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.  He was established in school plays by then and played Romeo in 1967.   Fifth from left looks like Alan Milnes to me.  He was in my year and also appeared the following year in R & J.  Although the faces aren’t all clear, I suspect the chap on the window sill at the back is John Apps (if still at school in ’66). I think John Hooper, who played Mercutio in ’67, arrived later.  A copy of the 1966 RYA would help.’
Colin Swan adds:

‘To follow up on Peter’s ‘Dramatis Personae’, he is quite correct with Alan Milnes, Grant Parrott and John Apps. There is also Jane nee Allbeury, standing beside Tim Rothwell, and in the doorway Simon Allbeurry and Penny nee Hill. Finally behind Peter looms Andrew Page.
We are nearly there and I feel a bit mortified that I cannot identify the last actress, who was really good.’

RGS: The Crucible – 1968 (With thanks to Peter Ewart for the pictures and notes)

 Crucible rehearsal – directed by Mr David Gaunt.  
L to R:
Graham Dann (Rev Samuel Parris),  Grant Parrott (Rev John Hale), Chris Williams (Deputy Governor Danforth), Denise Dean, kneeling (Elizabeth Proctor) & Peter Ewart (John Proctor).  In background: either Christopher Atkins, Charles Tremeer or Tony Harwood
 Crucible rehearsal
Mr Gaunt directing from floor.  On stage standing, L to R
Peter Smith? (Thomas Putman), Julia Rudkin-Jones (Ann Putman), Peter Ewart, Grant Parrott, Graham Dann, Neil Barnes (Giles Corey), Kay Baldock (Abigail Williams). Concealed behind Peter Smith may be Caroline Neil.