MARKHOUSE DRAMA CLUB
January 2021 Newsletter Extract
New Year Greetings – CMMF Project at Tendring Technical College – News of Former Members & School Staff – Website Changes & Additions
As you can no doubt imagine the level of MDC activity has been somewhat limited over the past several months; although despite all the various constraints it did prove possible for the ‘Website Group’ meet briefly after the first ‘lockdown’ – when ‘things’ had eased off a bit in the latter part of the Summer – outside and within the numerical limitations and distances of course!
It was really good to be able to catch up on our respective experiences of life since March; also of the relatively ‘easier’ period of the summer months and, of course, our hopes as per the TV mantra of our youth – e.g. ‘that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible’ Alas, the latter has not quite worked out – but thank goodness for the encouraging news and initial phases of a national vaccination programme!
However, despite the resulting halt on our ‘current’ CMMF Project at Tendring College and totally curtaining the ongoing search for memorabilia at the British Library, we still felt that a New Year’s Newsletter should to be sent; specifically because it gives the opportunity to say that we all hope that this finds you all safe, well and perhaps now beginning to feel more optimistic about what 2021 will bring.
There are, of course, a few updates and pieces of information to share at this time although we regret that some of this, in respect of our ongoing search to contact other former MDC members, is regrettably sad!
THE SEARCH FOR FORMER MEMBERS
Given the reported surge in the use of social media during the first ‘Lock Down’, John came up with the idea that this might be a quite ‘profitable’ opportunity in terms of our ongoing search for former members; this by posting a ‘looking for former members’ advert on the several Facebook groups relating to Markhouse and Walthamstow
Whilst this did indeed produce some results, most of these were, very sadly, not the type that we were hoping for – in this respect confirming the loss of Martin Kenny and Mick Rumsey, both former Drama Club members; also of Eric Griffiths – one of the School Staff
Whilst some initial information was emailed to those who would have known Martin & Mick more closely, we have since had some contact with their respective relatives – and so are now able to say a little more about each of them at this later time.
The tributes on the following pages will be added into the Memories Page of the website in due course
CMMF ‘Pocket Knife’ Project at Tendring Technical College
As reported in the April Newsletter, this latest CMMF project was postponed at the very last minute – just a week before the ‘opening’ performances in the College itself and those that were to be staged, over the following month, in a number of other local schools. One can only imagine how disappointing this was for the group of youngsters involved!
At the time of our meeting in July we could only contemplate that even with the anticipated re-opening of schools and colleges in the Autumn, the pressures on them to just deliver their basic curriculum in a safe way was, as has now been proven, going to be enormous. Certainly we felt that there would be little scope, in the short term, for additional activities such as the CMMF ‘Pocketknife Project’
Just before Xmas we were in contact with the College and received their confirmation of their intention to complete the project as soon as possible. We were, of course, not at all surprised at this as the project deals with a really serious and important issue in the lives of young people. The play has been well written and constructed – and is far too important not to be completed! So, more news in due course; along with, we hope, the performance dates for the diaries of those MDC members who might like to attend!
Memories of MDC Members & School Staff
The editorial tributes to MDC Members Martin Kenny and Mick Rumsey, along with those to Bill Pinces and Eric Griffiths who were members of the school teaching staff, can now be seen in the Website’s ‘Memories Page’
Both Eric and Bill were very popular and well liked teachers who contributed much to the life and development of the school and, in Eric’s case, also to both the school and Drama Club productions.
Lock Down ‘Catch Up’ Job unearths AAA Programme
Given the above news of Mick Rumsey and his lead part in Ambrose Applejohn’s Adventure, it was something of a coincidence that Margaret Phare’s most recent ‘catch up’ job during the lockdown should result in unearthing a copy of the actual programme – having be hidden from view in a boxful of letters and other memorabilia! The programme is now on the website – and this just goes to prove that there are, as we thought, still bits of our history awaiting re-discovery!
CATCH UP WITH ‘OLD’ FRIENDS
Fortunately recent Facebook pages have also produced some other, and more ‘welcomed’ news, relating to our ongoing search for former members – which we hope will continue to be the result of our (anticipated) searches in 2021?
One particular posting led to our initial contact with Iris Sangster who, as many of our number will recall, was a pupil at Markhouse and involved in both school and Drama Club productions. It was good to see Iris mention her time at the school and also of having been one of those that ‘stayed on’ – having then left in 1965.
The usual response to seeing a familiar name and/or mention of the Drama Club, is to draw attention to our Website and this soon found Iris identifying herself in the following photograph from ‘1066 and All That’ – and, even more impressively, confirming this as not only the ‘Beards’ (Tudor Times!) scene, but also that she recalled her actual line – namely ‘Singe – Sir Francis’
Iris, standing behind Jimmy Braid as Sir Francis Drake (far right), also mentioned her friends Andrea Selwyn and Dorothy Austin who are also shown in this picture – with Andrea directly behind, and Dorothy in front of, Gerald Aylott in the centre of the grouping
Iris also had an older sister Janet, who left the school in 1961, and brother Colin who, as our membership list shows, was also involved in our productions. Iris is now on our Mailing List and we hope that along with her Facebook posting, this article will also lead to some further contact with her former friends!
Whilst there has been little to add in terms of memorabilia we have, at least, given some further thought to the ideas that were mentioned in the last Newsletter and have decided to do a trial run of linking ‘portrait style’ photographs to the ‘Members Page’
The preparatory work for this has been completed and you will now see that the Members Page begins with an additional, and much smaller, listing. The is comprised solely of those former members who have renewed their Drama Club ‘involvement’ since the start of the more recent Re-Unions and the subsequent founding of both the Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund and the ‘new’ Markhouse Drama Club – in effect, this is our ‘membership cum contact’ list over the past dozen or so years
The second list is almost the same as has been used in the website since its inception and is still comprised of the names of everyone who is known to have been involved.
Details of when the new ‘Members Photo Gallery’ will be installed on the website will be given in the next Newsletter which is scheduled for August 2021
SARSAPRELLA MEMORIES! A good deal of the information in this Newsletter and for the ‘Website Additions’, such as an aerial view of the original Markhouse School, has been found in the various Facebook ‘Group’ postings – so we thought a reminder of these might be worth using up the last bit of space on this page – just in case you are tempted to take an occasional look into the past?
So – along with ‘Markhouse School’ group there are also:
‘Old Memories of Walthamstow & District’ ‘
‘Walthamstow Market Memories’ and
And probably a couple of others still to find!
WEBSITE ADDITIONS – JANUARY 2021
A new batch of memorabilia has now been added to the Website; albeit that it is relatively small in comparison with the number and range of items that have been added over the past year. As with earlier additions and updates, these are listed in the ‘Website Additions Page’ and highlighted in the relevant pages of the website with a ‘NEW’ Icon