2nd Hornby Drama Festival

Sir Harold Parkinson, K.B.E., J.P.
A W Willett-Whittaker

Wednesday 4 May 1960

Silverdale Village Players - Masks by Patricia Chown (A)

Halton Village Players - When the Whirlwind Blows by Essex Dane (A)

Heysham Young Wives - Members of the Jury by Stuart Ready (B)

Thursday 5 May 1960

Trimpell Players "B" Group - Power Without Glory by Michael Clayton Hutton (B-)

Carnforth Drama Group - Tony by John Tully (A)

The Little Theatre, Morecambe & Heysham - The Asset by Robert Kemp (A)

Friday 6 May 1960

Nether Kellet Drama Group - The Legend by Philip Johnson (B)

Cabus Drama Group - Drums of Deliverance by Aubrey Feist (B)

Nether Kellet Drama Group - The Fourth Proposal by F Morton Howard (B)

Saturday 7 May 1960

Hornby Drama Group - Mr Sampson by Charles Lee (A)

Bolton-le-Sands Players - Gaslight (Act 3) by Patrick Hamilton (A)

Trimpell Players "A" Group - Speaking Terms by Roland Pertwee (unclassified)


WITH larger audiences and a high standard of performance from almost all the participating groups, Hornby’s second four-day festival of one-act plays has proved even more successful than its pre-decessor and has established the event as one which will be eagerly anticipated in future years.

The adjudicator, Mr. A. W. Willett-Whitaker, Further Education Organiser of Drama for Lancashire Education Committee awarded “A” certificates—75 marks and over—to seven of the groups and “B” certificates—55 to 75—to five. Only one production did not qualify for a certificate. The certificates were presented on Saturday, the last day of the festival, by Sir Harold Parkinson, who said that he was particularly pleased that the event should be held in Hornby as that was the type of event for which the new hall had been built.

Mr. J. Holt, vice-chairman of the Hornby Group. paid tribute to the work of chairman, Mrs Bessie Lamb, the driving force behind the festival and thanked the openers, the adjudicator, Miss D. Bracken, Mrs M. Lamb and Mrs. Jepson for their work in management, booking and box-office, the back-stage staff, Mr. H. Dixon, Mr B. Biddlestone and Mr. H. Battty, the casts and the audience.

Two of Saturday’s entrants, Hornby Drama Group and Bolton-le-Sands Players, were awarded “A” certificates.

The adjudicator praised Hornby’s choice of play, Charles Lee’s “Mr. Spmpson” of which they gave a “first- class, slick production,” They had a very good setting with good make-up and lighting and costumes well in character. Movement was well planned to denote change of mood and the production had excellent pace.

Magle Booth was well in character, although needing a little more variety in tone and Bessie Lamb who also produced the play made a very good entrance. Their performances built up together very well. Tom Halhead’s was a nice performance, not overdone.

Bolton-le-Sands Players gave the third act of Patrick HamiIton’s Victorian melodrama, "Gaslight.” Mr. Willett-Whittaker commended their introduction on a microphone which, captured the atmosphere of the play. They had a good setting although it was rather too cluttered. resulting in restriction of movement. Their costumes and make-up were good.

Dorothy Stones had very good and physical reactions and gave a very convincing performance. Tom Bilsborough gave an excellent performance and his quiet entrance was one of the highlights of the play. Kenneth Townson had a good manner although he was not sufficiently sinister and Fred Bunting made a good attempt. The producer was Linda Bentley.

Trimpell Players “A” group were not awarded a certificate for their production of Roland Pertwee’s “Speaking Terms.” The adjudicator criticised their choice of play which needed a slickness speed and technique which only the professional could give. Individual mistakes were due to lack of experience.

The producer was Muriel Gladwin and taking part were George Gladstone. Ivor Gladwin, Beryl Dewhurst, Anne Wolstenholme and Marian Bianek.

The opener on Friday was Mr. Peter Jackson of Caton, ex-professional actor, who said that he was particularly interested in Hornby’s festival because it was for one-act plays. The one-act play was, he said, never done on the professional stage. It was a vital part of the amateur programme and there was much to be learnt from it. Everything had to be done quickly which demanded good acting.

Friday’s three plays were awarded “B” certificates. The evening opened with Nether Kellet Drama Group’s production of Philip Johnson’s "The Legend.” The adjudicator commented that although their production had the right atmosphere, the pace was too slow and more variety was needed. The furniture hampered movement and grouping.

Jean Moore had, he said, very good sense of character but needed more variety of tone and Mary Gorst also had a good sense of character. She needed to be a little quicker on cues to work up tension. Alf Bergus wisely refrained from making his role too much the stage parson but needed more variety. Geoff Parker lost the impact of his entrance by coming on behind the table. The producer was Monty Helmn.

Effective lighting brought special praise for Cabus Drama Group who gave Aubrey Feist’s ”The Drums of Deliverance.” Their set created the right atmosphere but the stage was, said the judge, overcrowded. Grouping was a little lacking in design. They did not suceed in getting the climax.

James Wilson had a natural easy style and Tony Williams had a good sense of theatre and a natural approach. Sarah Davis had very good attack but needed more variety of tone and Elsie Preston’s performance was on the right lines. Noel Hope had a good sense of character but was a little uncertain as was Clifford Higginson. Marie Kendal, in a difficult part, had good attack but needed more subtlety. The producer was Ellen Nelson.

Nether Kellet closed the evening with F. Morton Howard’s ”The Fourth Proposal.” The grouping and movement were criticised and the adjudicator suggested that more imagination was needed in production. Ken Basnet’s performance he described as “very good indeed.” Harry Lathom, Dorothy Gardner, Cathy Bergus an Kathleen Moore had all got the right idea.

“A” certificates were awarded to the three plays presented on Thursday. Mr. Willett-Whittaker commented that they had achieved a good standard and “meatier” programme than festivals usually produced.

The opener was Miss S.. Pearson. playwright and authoress, who stressed the importance of the audience influencing the choice of play. She hoped that the public would encourage drama groups to be “different” in their choice. Most audiences wanted ‘a good laugh” but she reminded them that all the richness of the theatre would be lost if that type of play were the only one performed.

The adjudicator commended Trimpell Players “B” Group’s choice of play, Michael Clayton Hutton’s, “Power without Glory”, a three-act play from which they presented an extract, and suggested that it was a play that more amateur groups might tackle.

Their production was very well planned. Alfred Hattersley gave a very good performance while Gladys Heap was extraordinarily good”, Others were Pam Ellison, Margaret Fleming, Muriel Gladwin, Roy Robinson and Ivor Gladwin. They were directed by James Butler.

Carnforth Drama Group, he said, did very well with difficult material and achieved a very good endeavour with their choice of play - John Tully’s “Tony”. Betty Boak performed very well indeed, technically, but needed more warmth. Bryan Lambert needed a little more variety and Reta Davies was warned against turning characterisation into a caricature. Marian Chalmers had good poise but was a little too “sweet.” The producer was George Webster.

The Morecambe and Heysham Little Theatre Group’s production of Robert Kemp’s ”The Asset” was alive and very good in every way, he said. Thelma Angus’s performance was excellent and Peter Fryatt and Janice Bright gave very good performances and were well contrasted. Carol Bright’s was a good performance, although a little too quiet and Tom Bradburn, although he did not look physically a tough type, built up very well. Their Scottish accents were good. The producer was Peter Bethel.

Thursday’s awards, which were reported in last week’s Guardian”, were Silverdale Village Players, “A”; Halton Village Players, “A”; Heysham Young Wives “B”.