Tag Archives: amateur dramatics

Famous Person Alert

I had to be told as I wouldn’t have guessed, but this is Lesley Joseph in the Masque Theatre’s 1964 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – she wasn’t quite 20.
Other subsequently famous people to have been at the Masque –Michael Green (author of The Art of Coarse Acting) was a member around 1950, Marc Warren, and Alan Carr was in one production.

Strut that funky stuff…

Was it really September when I last posted? Oops.
As the Masque Theatre is rapidly heading towards its 80th anniversary (it’s actually in 2012, but they’ve started preparing nice and early), Mother asked me to dig out all of the Masque negatives I could find. I don’t think anyone (least of all me) was quite expecting somewhere in the region of 400 films that I delivered a couple of weeks ago!
Fortunately, now that I’ve handed over all of the Masque negs, they become an SEP (Someone Else’s Problem – Douglas Adams) and I can concentrate on the rest of the archive.
Anyway, I was trying to work out where I’d got up to on the blog, and found some older pics that I passed over previously.
Dancing at a couple of Masque parties in 1964.

Masque Theatre summer show

The Masque Theatre in Northampton put on an open-air show every summer, usually Shakespeare. Traditionally it was always held in the courtyard of the museum in Abington Park, but this was closed for a number of years over the last decade or so. However, they’re back there now, which means that the actors once again have to battle to be heard over the peacocks from the small aviary just behind. Assuming there are still any there – I haven’t lived in Northampton since 1992, so I’ve no idea whether there are or not!

As this is 1961, it must be Much Ado About Nothing. If I recall correctly, the little ticket booth is green, and always saw additional service in the Borough Show in Abington Park a week or two later. I spent many summer evenings around there, often selling programmes, as my father was generally in the play and my mother helped out, sometimes prompting, sometimes in the ticket office. Quite possibly sometimes both.

These days, I don’t do Shakespeare – I suspect those summer evenings in the 1970s are a major reason why.

And just sometimes, it doesn’t rain.

Very important photos

I can’t overstate how important these photos are.
Having moved to Northampton for his job, my father carried on with the amateur dramatics thing, joining the Masque Theatre in 1960 (we actually have the letter confirming his membership). He remained a member for the rest of his life, sometimes acting, sometimes helping backstage, and taking photos of many, many productions – I totted up and something like 300 of the 850 b&w films are of Masque productions. I don’t propose to scan many of these, but will probably hand them over to the Masque archive.
Anyway, the young lady in these pictures, Greta, was stage managing this production (The Entertainer in 1961), and I think he took a bit of a liking to her – rather a lot of a liking in fact. A sort of married for 45 years with two children liking…
Yep, say hello to my mother.
You know the membership letter I mentioned above? She signed it.

The chap in the last photo (John Cartwright) remains a family friend to this day.