Following the ‘discovery’ of the 52 year old programme from ‘Life is Like That’ (staged in December 1964) – and even more recently confirmed by the Production Poster and the Guardian Newspaper Report shown below – it is now clear that Wilfred Miller’s ‘Babes in the Woods’ was indeed the first of the series of the eagerly anticipated ‘full length, all dancing, all singing (badly), all slapstick and locally renowned’ Markhouse Drama Club Pantomimes – save for the ‘mini’ version of Cinderella that was staged by the school’s 5x class in 1961 to mark their ‘release’ into the wider world of work!
The Newspaper Report also confirmed the pending closure of the school – which did, of course happen a few months after this production – but not, fortunately, what was anticipated as the accompanying closure of the Drama Club!
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Newspaper Clip Text
‘SIMPLE SIMON STOLE THE SHOW’
With a flurry of Sherwood Green and a sing song, their first Christmas pantomime became the last ever show for Mark House Secondary School drama group last Friday night
More than 350 attended the three performances of the show ‘babes In The Woods’ by Wilfred Miller, and as the final curtain went up they must have been reminded that this was the end of seven years’ success; the school is to close in July. Fine performances were given by 15 year old Jill Cooper as Robin Hood, Pamela Neville as Maid Marion and 21 year ‘old boy’ Gordon Aylott as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham
But the man who stole the show with a mixture of comic professionalism and fluency of speech was 18 year old Barry Elliot. He played the part of Simple Simon and provided most of the laughs in the show
After the final curtain, producer of all of the previous Mark House shows, Cyril Malyon spoke of his great sorrow at the closing of the school theatre. ‘”By all accounts our shows have always been a success and this being our first Christmas Panto we have ended on a new note”, he said
As a final gesture of thanks the Drama Club printed in its programme the names of over 200 members who had served it in various capacities throughout the seven years existence.
Cast: Joan Dunn, Margaret Whitehall, Georgina Wells, David Hanks, Barry Elliott, Gordon Aylott, John Cade, Susan Riches, Jill Cooper, Alec Malyon, Raymond Aylott, Pamela Neville, David Morgan, Sandra Pope, Christine Griffiths, Peter Enston, Gillian Argent.
Linda Docherty, Elizabeth Flood, Maxine Eliiott, Ruth Cook, Susan Corben, Neo Savvas John Wright, Jennifer Phillips, Jean Simmons, Joyce Simmons, Margaret Thake, Janet Sutton, Jaqueline Richards, Brenda Philpot, Dorothy Stephenson, Mary Coleman, Graham Lewis, Graham Collins.
Jennifer Barnes, June Allitt, Lorraine Shearing, Thelma Blatchford, Denise Robinson, Carole Stephenson, Gania Robinson Janet Loach and Pat Phillips
Behind the scenes: Costumes – Mrs Kett and Janet Martin; Make Up – Judith Riches, Janet Grace, Rose Grace; Prompter – Mrs Pepperell
Note: It is hoped that the full original copy of this report will be found in the future searches of the Walthamstow Guardian Archives and that the missing lines can then be added.
- Fairy Sunbeam – Joan Dunn
- Will Scarlett – Margaret Whitehall
- The Girl Friend – Georgia Wells
- Town Crier – David Hanks
- Simple Simon – Barry Elliott
- Sheriff – Gordon Aylott
- Friar Tuck – Gordon Aylott
- Little John – Susan Riches
- Robin Hood – Jill Cooper
- Claude – Alec Malyon
- Clem – Ray Aylott
- Maid Marion – Pamela Neville
- Nurse Nappy – David Morgan
- Jack – Sandra Pope
- Jill – Christine Griffiths
- Wiggles – Peter Easton
- The Bear – Gillian Argent
- Villagers – Linda Dougherty, Elizabeth Flood, Maxine Elliott, Gillian Argent, Ruth Crook
- Villagers – Susan Corben, Neo Savvas, John Wright & Jennifer Phillips
- Merry Men – Jean Simmons, Joyce Simmons, Margaret Thake, Janet Sutton, Jacqueline Richards
- Merry Men – Brenda Philpott, Dorothy Stephenson, Mary Coleman, Graham Lewis & Graham Collins
- Schoolchildren – Jennifer Barnes, June Allitt, Loraine Shearing & Thelma Blatchford
- Schoolchildren – Denise Robertson, Carole Stephenson
- The Toys – Dorothy Stephenson, Gania Robinson & Janet Loach
- Woodland Dancers – Janet Loach, Pat Philips, Thelma Blatchford, Jennifer Barnes, Gania Robinson & Denise Robertson
Stage Management, Props, Prompt & Make Up
- Chris Smith, John Oatham, Martin Kenny, Derek Knight, Terry Richards, Keith Brownutt, Robert Jackson
- Sid Worth, Cleve Edmonston, Ian Hall, Clive Tucker, John Payne, Georgina Wells, Brenda Philpott , Elaine Rumsey,
- Norma Pepperell, Judith Riches, Janet Grace & Rose Grace
- Richard Dunn
- Marjorie Kett & The Costume Design Club
House Management & Designs
- Tony Ghura, Martin Kenny, Vic Gibson, Ruth Brownutt, Jennifer Fernandez, Antoinette Lobendham & Abigale Reynolds
Produced by Cyril Malyon