Markhouse Drama Club
(Incorporating the Cyril Malyon Memorial Fund)
New Members Gallery – Lockdown Rummaging – School History ‘Updates’ – ‘Catch Up with Friends’ – CMMF Project at Tendring – Website Additions
New Website Members Gallery
As was mentioned in the last Newsletter a good deal of work has been underway on upgrading the website’s Members Page; both in terms of it’s overall layout and in linking a new photo gallery to the names of almost all those former members who have ‘renewed’ their Drama Club interests over recent years
The Members Page now begins with a listing of all those that have been involved since the 2007 Re-Union with most of the individual names now linked to a’ head and shoulders’ photograph. Most of these have been taken from the Website’s existing Re-Union Galleries along with those sent in by several members who have come into contact more recently – so most of these are ‘fairly contemporary’.
However, a few photos have had to be taken from the ‘Farewell Event’ that took place when the Drama Club closed in 1977 – so some members inevitably appear to be 40 years or so younger than others!
The above collage is a ‘mini’ shot of all involved and thanks goes to everyone who agreed to ‘appear’’ in this way!
The second list in the Members Page is almost the same as has been used in the website since its inception and is still comprised of the 400 plus names of everyone who is known to have been involved. It does, however, differ in that the earlier, and perhaps increasingly confusing use of colour codes, bold text and asterisks etc, have been removed.
We also have photographs of a number of other former members who are only included in this full listing and we hope, in due course, to also link these to the respective names.
So please have an early look through the Gallery and let us know what you think.
Also, as with all the preparatory correspondence about the Gallery, please let us know, either through the Contact Page or by email, if you would like a different photograph of yourself to be used
It seems that the April Newsletter either coincided with, or prompted, some lockdown rummaging that unearthed a good number of ‘new’ Drama Club ‘finds’ – all of which have now been added to the website!
So thanks firstly to Maggie Phare for sending the programme for the April 1962 performances of ‘The Town That Would Have a Pageant’ (TTTHAP); this showing, amongst other things, a page of cast signatures, the scene synopsis, stage management names and even a list the previous performances of several cast members. Maggie also mentioned the name of David Perry with whom she had remained in contact since their Markhouse days; although sadly this included the news of his loss in 2003! David was involved in a number of school based productions and although he did not continue his thespian interests into the MDC, he will doubtless be remembered by a number of our current members and former classmates! A tribute to David, along with more of the detail given by Maggie, is included in the Newsletter
Sue Riches has clearly been taxing her memory and thanks to this we can, among other things, now place 2 of the photographs from Dick’s website which had been ‘temporarily’ placed in the ‘Undated Gallery’ at the end of the Production Page. These are clearly rehearsal photographs which have now been transferred into the 1965 production of ‘Make Believe’. The ‘undated’ Gallery also included a photo of the Make Up Team and Sue has confirmed that this was of the first occasion that Max Factor make up was used – for the production of ‘1066 And All That’. This was in 1965 and therefore also the date we bid farewell to ‘Leichner’ and the post-performance chore of its lengthy and ‘greasy’ removal!
Sue also sent 2 new photos from ‘1066’, an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ programme and script extracts from ‘Make Believe’ and ‘Old King Cole’ – plus a ‘spot the difference’ version of the rehearsal photo for this panto that is already in this production’s Gallery!
We also heard from John Dunn who unearthed a few more bits of Dick’s memorabilia including more from the 1962 version of ‘TTTHAP’ and the 1965 production of ‘Babes in the Woods’ – both having enabled the updating of the respective production pages. The latter programme is particularly interesting as it lists the 200 plus names of those that had ‘served in various capacities during the 7 years of the club’s existence’ – thereby giving some evidence of the expected closure of both school and club in the following July! Fortunately, of course, ‘things’ didn’t quite work out as was expected!
John also ‘owned up’ to eventually following Dick’s thespian footsteps and some detail of this shown in the latter part of the Newsletter. So many thanks to John – who sounds as if he might be one of the few (if any) ex ‘markovians’ still treading the boards!
And to cap off the rummaging in perhaps the most appropriate way, Jennifer Chacksfield (Malyon) came across several items of Mr Malyon’s ‘personal’ memorabilia. Apparently these having all been neatly tucked into an old file and thereby hidden from view for a good number of years – but certainly ready for dusting off and adding to the website!
The ‘collection’ includes several programmes and scripts covering ‘The Ghost Train’, ‘The Queen of Hearts’, Wanted One Body’, ‘Saloon Bar’ and yet again more of ‘TTTHAP’ – with the script cover of this now revealing that is was described as ‘A Delirium in Two Acts’ – which sounds about right for us! This ‘find’ also included what looks very much like a NODA Report of the production of ‘Babes in the Woods’. Plenty of the cast names are mentioned in this very positive and encouraging report – and just to whet your appetite before a full read a couple of extracts are as follows:
‘it had all the ingredients of a successful pantomime – spectacle, singing, dancing, a simple story, audience participation, transformation scenes and, above all, enthusiasm – it was incredible how much was achieved on a minute stage’
‘the Prompt was the only person who stuck slavishly to the script’
‘Staying On’ – A bit of Markhouse School History
Firstly a correction to the piece of ‘Markhouse History’ mentioned in the last Newsletter which stated that Mick Rumsey was in the very first group of pupils to stay on for an ‘extended year’ at Markhouse. This enabled them to sit external examinations which up until that time were only available to those who had either passed the 11+ and gone to a Grammar or Technical School, or were pupils at Gascoigne or Blackhorse Road Girls Secondary Schools where this type of opportunity had already been initiated.
In fact Mick was in the second group at Markhouse as John Dunn’s recent email has reminded us that he and 3 other pupils had ‘stayed on’ the year before – the 4 strong inaugural 5X Class of 1958!
Having been ‘nudged’ into giving this subject some further thought, we can confirm that Mick’s 1959 5X Class was numerically stronger than John’s – but only just; with Ron Trodd, Alan Hollingshead, Peter King, Alan Rickards & 1 ANO making 6 in total!
The 1960 5X Class saw a ‘massive’ expansion to some 19 pupils, so obviously word had spread and parents and pupils were increasingly keen to get on board! Significantly, all 19 of these pupils were involved in Drama Club and School productions!
And, in terms of some more memorabilia now reproduced in the website, herewith is a copy of the not recently seen Markhouse School Badge; this thanks to a recent posting on Face Book along with a snippet of information that it was generally produced (as in this case) on the covers of the folders that held school photos!
And the school motto – ‘Each for All’ – which of course we all remember!
EMAILS & FRIENDS
Memories of Bill & Agnes – Gary’s response to the last Newsletter
‘It’s so nice to bring back memories of Markhouse School. I remember the first day that Bill Pinches started at Markhouse he did a show of his gymnastics routine in the hall that he did in the Olympics – Wow! I also remember the teacher Miss Townsend who had an old Morris eight convertible car which I drew a cartoonist picture of – unsigned I might add with the caption ‘constipated’ coming from the exhaust. I pinned it on the noticeboard in the Hall. Later on in the day I had a message to go to see Miss Townsend – someone must have grassed me up – where upon I apologised for my behaviour only to be told by Miss Townsend that she wanted to congratulate me for getting the spelling correct’.
Gary Woods – Markhouse 1956 – 61
Following Dick’s thespian interests!
‘I think Dick would be so pleased that this recent find of his Programmes are now in the right hands! Thanks for keeping me involved.
I would like to tell you that since retiring, I became a bit actor – I don’t want to bore you, but I will!
I’ve played in Joseph’s Amazing Multi Coloured Dream Coat.and Godspell at the Brentwood Centre – both staring Chesney Hawkes. I played Scrooge at Greys Theatre and had quite a few parts at Queens Theatre Hornchurch. I’ve also been an extra in 61 episodes of TOWIE. Since March 13th 2020, like Anne Frank’s, I’ve stayed in. You can yawn now David. Zzzz. Take care and thanks again’.
John Dunn. Markhouse 1954 – 59
An interesting memoir of Agnes and although some former members might understand Gary’s initial anxiety about being ‘summoned’, they will equally be aware that she was very committed member of the Markhouse staff team and a ‘behind the scenes’ supporter of the Drama Club – particularly in the post school years!
Dick would no doubt have grinned at John following his earlier footsteps – especially re: ‘TOWIE’ – The Only Way Is Essex!
Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch. It was good to be reminded of this theatre as it was a regular venue for Drama Club trips.
Can anyone recall any of the productions seen there? One was definitely ‘Blythe Spirit’ – although the general post production opinion was that it didn’t include enough jokes and slapstick!
GARY – I wasn’t the ‘grass’ – honest!!! But for a small ‘consideration’ I could give you his name & address! DM
You can also catch up with at least a few of your ‘old friends’ in person
That is providing you live within a reasonable travelling distance of Ingatestone on Tuesday 21st September!
This is the date of the next MDC Committee Meeting and, as on a past number of occasions, this is an ‘open’ one where any other member is welcome to join us; either from the start of the meeting itself at 11.30am, or from 12.30pm for the longer ‘social bit’ etc. So come and join us at:
Ivy Lodge Hotel, Writtle Rd, Margretting Nr Chelmsford, CM4OEH
The Ivy Lodge is just off Junction 15 of the A12 and has ample car parking, very comfortable indoor and outdoor meeting areas and a good lunch time menu of light snacks – or main meals if you are so inclined. The nearest Station is Ingatestone which is about a 5 minute taxi ride away from the Hotel; although if you are intending to come by train then let Dave M know in advance and it is likely that we will be able to arrange for you to be picked up – and taken back!
A number of Drama Club Members (particularly those in the Class of 1956/61) will be sad to know of the news of the very untimely loss of David Perry in Evesham, Gloucester, in December 2003
David, who was mainly involved ‘behind the scenes’ in a number of school productions, will also be remembered for his infectious humour, friendship and good spirits – and, for some, his mum’s kind and caring ‘hospitality’ at their home in Exmouth Road. This news of David came from Maggie Phare who had been in contact with him since ‘Markhouse’ and who had, in particular, helped with the preparation of the book he wrote about the last phase of his life – ‘Captain Chemo’s Little Book of Poems’
It has been good to hear of David’s ‘literary’ ability and also his strength of character to capture his experiences and emotion with pen, paper and poetry; possibly a latent talent that was probably not too apparent in our school days – as his humorous quip about ‘punctuation’ in the penultimate line of his dedication might suggest!.
‘Captain Chemo’ was, as intended by David, sold to aid the funding of a number of Cancer Charities and Maggie has forwarded on a copy for our use. Please let Dave Morgan know if you would like to receive an emailed copy, or some extracts, from his book. In the meantime we thought we would just reproduce David’s opening dedications
“I dedicate this book and especially the first poem to Christine Jordan BSc Hons; Lung Specialist nurse, whose dedication and inspiration were paramount in even getting me to write it in the first instance! I thank her, for all of that support and her never-ending smiles that bring light into what could so easily be darkness. Thank you Chrissie
I owe thanks also to Margaret Phare for her patience in putting this book together for me and correcting, no, better to say, including punctuation. Also to Roger, her husband for his help and understanding”
CMMF ‘POCKET KNIFE PROJECT’ with Tendering College
Restart date hopefully to be confirmed shortly
It seems ages ago that this latest CMMF Project was cancelled just a few days before it’s in house performance and subsequent ‘on the road’ repeats at a number of the other local schools and colleges.
Even since their pupils were able to return to the college, and the more recent easing of restrictions, their staff have had a tough time trying to deliver even the basic curriculum – so it has been quite understandable that the much broader activities, such as our ‘Pocket Knife’ project, have had to take a back seat.
We have, however, been in touch with the College and it has been encouraging to learn of their continued interest in completing the project; even despite the departure of the member of staff who had led this through the initial negotiation with us, the writing of the script and rehearsals with the youngster’s right up to the lockdown. Whilst clearly disappointing for her, and indeed all the pupils involved, another member of the College’s Drama Department has taken responsibility for ‘Pocket Knife’- although, regrettably, with a few changes in the cast because of some of the original pupils moving on. This must have been really disappointing for the few affected in this way, but we hope that working through and gaining a better understanding of such an important subject area will still have been a positive experience for them!
We have equally confirmed our continued interest and financial support and will be meeting with the ‘new’ member of staff leading the project in mid-September. Given what we hope will be an ongoing return ‘to normal’ in the life of the College, we anticipate that they will then be able to give an idea of a revised timetable for rehearsals and both the ‘in house’ and ‘on the road’ performances. So – more news in due course!
About ‘Pocket Knife’ and CMMF Projects
This CMMF project is a self-written and devised short play portraying the experiences of a group of young people within which one decides to carry, ‘but not use’, a pocket knife! The dialogue is incredibly accurate and shows how peer pressure, youthful relationships and inexperience (so typical of the teenage years) conspire to result in the tragic ending we read about far too often.
If involvement in the play, or seeing one of the performances of it, stops just one young person from carrying a knife, then it will have fulfilled its aims. It will, of course, have also put the CMMF funding to further good use!
Further information about the CMMF Projects, including a number of the earlier ones featured in the above photographs, is on the Website – but, if you already have a possible idea for another, or want to know how to initiate one, then get in touch with Dave Morgan for further info and/or a chat – no strings, or ‘further commitment’ attached on:
0208.657.6327 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
WEBSITE ADDITIONS – AUGUST 2021
These are shown on the Website Additions Page