1952 - 1959

Below is a list of the Wyong Drama Group's productions from 1952 - 1959. The group was conceived in 1952 as the Wyong Dramatic Society, with out first production, Charity Begins.

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PRIOR PRODUCTIONS (1952 - 1959)

CHARITY BEGINS

By Ireland Wood

Produced by Geoff Cox

Performed September 1952

This was our FIRST production, and was directed by Geoff Cox at the Astra Theatre Wyong.

PRODUCED BY:

Geoff Cox

CAST:

HENRY DEVERAL – Fred Chapman
JUDY DEREVAL – Margaret Burt
DAKER – Joyce Brennan
EMILY DEREVAL –Mary Hargraves
AGNES DEREVAL – Joyce Callaghan

RODNEY WALTERS – Geoff Cox
ROBBIE FORRESTER - Barry Miller
MISS CASE - Dawn Rutter
GRANDMOTHER DEREVAL - Ivy Zaia

CATHERINE DEREVAL - Nancy Ireland

 

HAY FEVER

By Noël Coward

Produced by Geoff Cox

Performed May1953

Opening night of this play was Thursday 28 May 1953, in the original Memorial Hall.  It was directed again by Geoff Cox. You can view the programme for the show below:

PRODUCED BY:

Geoff Cox

CAST:

SOREL BLISS – Ellaine Mumberson
SIMON BLISS– John Hunter
CLARA – Dawn Rutter
JUDITH BLISS – Joyce Callaghan
DAVID BLISS – Fred Chapman
SANDY TYRELL – George Kastoolis
MYRA ARUNDEL - May Hargraves
RICHARD GREATHAM - Cyril Fernance
JACKIE CORYTON - Margaret Elder

 

CANDIED PEEL

By Falkland L Cary

Produced by Joyce Callaghan

Performed September 1953

This was directed by Joyce Callaghan, so Geoff Cox was denied his hat-trick (although he did have a major role in the play). It opened in the old Memorial Hall on Wednesday 9 September 1953.  If the programme is correct, there would have been only two performances: opening night and the very next Thursday night. An image of the programme is available below:

PRODUCED BY:

Joyce Callaghan

CAST:

JAMES ONDERSLEY – Geoff Cox
LUCY FRENCH – Mildred Ede
MRS. SEDONS – Margaret Gasking
HENRIETTA – Robin Clarke
MISS PETHINGTON – Ellaine Mumberson
DR. WADD – Fred Chapman
CLAIRE BRISBY - Dawn Rutter
LEONARD BRISBY - Bill Gasking
OSWALD MONK - Ian McDonald
MRS. CORTANHART - Rene Levenspiel
MR. HARRIS - Cyril Fernance

 
 

FORCED LANDING

By Wilfred Massey

Produced by Geoff Cox

Performed March 1954

This was performed at the old Memorial Hall on Tuesday 16 March 1954 and Wednesday 17 March, 1954 (St Patrick's Day).  Geoff Cox again directed.  (Although in those days the term was the English "producer" rather than the American "director" which it has evolved into today).

Below you can access a copy of the programme (although it appears to be a bad photocopy of a programme produced on dark-coloured paper). 

PRODUCED BY:

Geoff Cox

CAST:

CHRISTOPHER BRANDON – Ian MacDonald
SHIRLEY BRANDON – Gwen Warbrick
ROBBIE BRANDON – Margaret Elder
GEORGE WHITTINGHAM – Cyril Fernance
NICK WHITTINGHAM – Alan Bone
MISS JULIE WHITTINGHAM – Joyce Callaghan
HELEN FORREST- Janet Hunter
MRS. BANISTER - Rene Levenspiel
MARION CRADDOCK - Ivy Zaia
ANDREW BEAMISH - Fred Chapman
MR. HARRIS - Cyril Fernance

TWIN BEDS

By Salisbury Field & Margaret Mayo

Produced by Geoff Cox

Performed August 1954

The programme for this play does not credit the author (although the licensing was "by Permission of J C Williamson Theatres, Ltd").  This was another Geoff Cox direction, and produced in the Wyong Youth Hall, with all proceeds to the Youth Hall Committee.  Again, this seemed to run for only two performances, Thursday 26 August 1954 and the following day.  Admission in these days was 2/6 for children and a whole four shillings per adult.

Monti, a famed but henpecked singer, finds his neighbour Blanche worth noticing.  This isn't missed by their spouses, who insist on moving to keep temptation at bay.  Unfortunately both couples move to the same apartment building.  One night Monti somehow manages to get out of the house and after a long night of cards and drinking, he comes home and falls into his twin bed.  But when he wakes up he realises it isn't his bed at all, but Mr Hawkins's!  The various hiding places Monti uses while trying to get out of Blanche's boudoir - the clothes hamper, wardrobe closet, etc - and into his own home soon became staples in subsequent farces.  The play was written in 1914.

PRODUCED BY:

Geoff Cox

CAST:

HARRY HAWKINS – Lionel Atchison
BLANCHE HAWKINS – Elaine Mumberson
SIGNOR MONTI – Frank Dugdale
ANDREW LARKIN – Cyril Fernance
SIGNORA MONTI– Rene Levenspiel
NORAH – Dawn Rutter

 

QUIET WEDDING

By Esther McCracken

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed May 1955

This play opened on Monday 9 May 1955 at 8pm for one performance only.  Even though it was only our sixth play overall, the competitive spirit was showing and it was entered in the 1955 Country Play Festival, and presented again at the Wyong Youth Hall before adjudicator Mr Geoffrey Thomas on Monday 4 July 1955.  The director was Rene Levenspiel.  

The programme mentions that "The adjudicator, Mr Thomas, is a successful Playwright, Producer and Theatre Critic.  He is a director of the theatre for Playwrights recently formed in Sydney, and is well know to readers of the ABC Magazine for his interesting articles on the Theatre."

The original (May 1955) and festival production (July 1955) programmes can be viewed below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

Please refer to the above programmes for the cast lists for each production of Quiet Wedding.

 

LABURNUM GROVE

By J B Priestley

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed November 1955

We don't appear to have a full programme for this show, however two fragments of the same have been located and are online. They can be accessed using the buttons below. Copious notes were, however, contained in the files and they are reproduced on this page (also below).

The play was produced on November 28 and 29, 1955 by W W Mackie.  It was directed by Rene Levenspiel.

"An ordinary, even humdrum, suburban family discovers that life is far from dull, when the head of the household reveals that he is not the honest businessman he appears to be.  J B Priestley's light-hearted story of the man who unofficially assisted the work of the Royal Mint has entertained in many countries".

Synopis of Scenes

The whole action takes place in the living room of the Radfern's house "Ferndale", Laburnum Grove, Shooters Green, North London.

Act I   - Scene 1 - Sunday Evening

Act II  - Scene 1 - Early Monday Morning

Act II  - Scene 2 - Monday Afternoon

Act III - Scene 1 - Monday Evening

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

ELSIE RADFERN - Mildred Ede
MRS. (LUCY) BAXLEY - Doris Izzard
BERNARD BAXLEY - Bill Gasking
GEORGE RADFERN - Fred Chapman
HAROLD RUSS - Paul Reen
JOE FLETTEN - Cyril Fernance
MRS. (DOROTHY) RADFERN - Sheila Brown
INSPECTOR STACK - Aub Brown
SERGEANT MORRIS - Terence Tweeny

 

LADY KILLER

By Cyril Campion

Produced by Irene Levenspiel

Performed May 1956

In May 1956 Irene Levenspiel produced Lady Killer for the group.  It's interesting to note that on this programme, the front cover reads "A Wyong Drama Production of Lady Killer" whereas inside the programme we still went by "Wyong Dramatic Group".  Perhaps we were having an each way bet. I suppose it's a legitimate method of phasing in a change.

The programme for the show can be viewed below:

PRODUCED BY:

Irene Levenspiel

CAST:

BARBARA WORTH - Gwen Warbrick
KATHRYN WESTON - Ivy Zaia
JOAN MAITLAND - Joan Gardiner
LESLIE FULLER - Jean Chapman
JUNE GREENWOOD - June Colquhoun
MILLY - Janice Gascoigne
MRS. WILLIAMS - Mildred Ede
LINDA SLIGNSBY - Dawn Rutter
AVICE MALLORY - Nancy Hunt

 

LADIES IN RETIREMENT (1956)

By E Percy & R Denham

Produced by Nancy Hunt

Performed August 1956

This was produced by Nancy Hunt who was a local Wyong resident, but had trained at the Independent Theatre in Sydney as an actress.  Although she had considerable experience as an actor, she was a novice director at the time.  This play was the entry in the 1956 Country Play Competition (sponsored by NSW division of the Arts Council).  The adjudicator this year was Doris Fitton, OBE.

It's interesting to note that this programme (accessible below) refers to the group exclusively as "The Wyong Drama Group", and from here on, the "Wyong Dramatic Group" moniker has been completely phased out.

PRODUCED BY:

Nancy Hunt

CAST:

LUCY GILHAM - Marie Morriss
LEORORA FISKE - Doris Izzard
ALBERT FEATHER - Ron Nash
LOUSIA CREED - Rene Levenspiel
EMILY CREED - Ellaine Mumberson
SISTER THERESA - May Hargraves

 

WHITE SHEEP OF THE FAMILY

Author Unknown

Produced by Walter Mackie

Performed December 1956

This play has scant documentation in the archives and no programme is available (thus far).  It was produced by Walter Mackie who only ever produced this one show for the group, however he took acting roles in a number of plays before and since.  It opened in December 1956.

DIRECTED BY:

Walter Mackie

CAST (in unknown roles):

Mildred Ede
Jean Chapman
Aubrey A Brown
Dawn Rutter
Arthur Gleed
Fred Chapman
Sam Hodgkinson
Bryan Brown
Gwen Bone

 

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE

A Revue

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed March 1957

A "Sparkling" Revue, entitled The Best Things in Life was presented on March 28, 1957.  The revue consisted of your typical revue pieces, with plenty of song and dance with Rene Levenspiel at the piano (who was also the producer).  The revue included a piece called Holiday Eve which was reprised in 2002 for the 50th Anniversary production of "Us" (a revue).

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

PERFOMANCES:

CommunityLand - The girls, with June Colquhoun, Nick Baker, Dawn Rutter, Jan Gascoigne, Ern Gordon and Joy McJannett.

Bye-Bye Blues -  Jan Gascoigne and Sandra Barnett (from the Studio of Margerie Morris).

Phil Casier -  With the company.

- INTERMISSION -

Charade - One-Act Play by P. Johnson 
Prouced by Jan Colquhoun. The action takes place in the basement of a house at Lexham Gardens (See programme for Cast).

Memories - with Nick Baker, Mark Levenspiel, and the Rock 'n' Roll Revellers.

- INTERMISSION -


ObadiahThe girls, with Irene Mascord, Anne Gilham, June Colquhoun, Mark Levenspiel

Ernest Gordon

Come Out! - Ellaine Mumberson, Nick Baker, Aub Brown, and ???

A Party in the KitchenWith Flo Samson

Hot NewsAub and Bryan Brown

Alice Blue GownErn Gordon, Doris Izzard, Jan Gascoigne, The Girls.

Holiday Eve - One-Act Play by F. Cary Prouced by Rene Levenspiel. The action takes place in the kitchen of a small dwelling of a hundred such. (See programme for Cast).

FINALE The Company

Note: See Program for credits for 'The Girls', the musical accompaniment and backstage assistants.

 

MARY ROSE

By J M Barrie

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed August 1957

August 1957 saw the production of J M Barrie's Mary Rose.  It was yet another entry in the NSW Country Play Competition arranged by the Arts Council of NSW, and was produced by Rene Levenspiel.  At this point in time, the play ran for three performances (up until now there was often only one or two performances of a play, which seems to us now as an incredible waste of rehearsal time to only do one show after rehearsing for several months).

 

The play went to Sydney and was performed in the finals of the Play Competition where it came in third place out of four finalists.  There were 43 entries in the initial stages of the Play Competition, however, so the achievement was quite commendable.  It was performed on 5th, 6th and 7th August 1957. View the programme below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

MRS. OTERY - June Colquhoun
SIMON BLAKE
& HARRY - Richard Woodward
MR. AMY - Fred Chapman
MR. MORLAND - Arthur Gleed
MRS. MORLAND - Ellaine Mumberson
MARY ROSE - Joan Gardiner
CAMERON - Paul Rene

 

 

TO DOROTHY,  A  SON

By Roger McDougall

Produced by Aub Brown

Performed November 1957

This was Aubrey A Brown's first production as producer, and was presented in November 1957.  The play is described as a farcical comedy - something Wyong Drama Group audiences still relish to this day. The programme is available below:

PRODUCED BY:

Aub Brown

CAST:

TONY RIGI - Cyril Fernance
DOROTHY RIGI - Gwen Bone
TAXI DRIVER - Peter Lawry
MYRTLE - Valda Johnston
LANDLORD - Fred Chapman
DR. CAMERON - Arthur Gleed
NURSE - Helen Robertson

 

 

HAPPY DAYS

A Revue

Produced by Rene Levenspiel & June Colquhoun

Performed March 1958

This show was produced and directed by Rene Levenspiel and June Colquhoun in March 1958.

The archives seem to be missing the programme, however we do have a list of the cast, which consisted of 41 people!

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel & June Colquhoun

CAST (Roles Unknown):

 

Shirley Tunks
Bonnie Bryant
Nancy Boyce
Keith O'Connell
Jean Chapman
Peter Lawrey
Helen Robinson
Ellaine Mumberson
Arthur Gleed
Mildred Ede
Fred Chapman
Richard Hughes
Ivy Zaia
Beth Lawrey

George Glading
Rene Levenspiel
June Colquhoun
Phil Levenspiel
Sylvia French
Dorothy Taylor
Leila Wamsley
Kay McKimm
Richard Johnson
Mark Levenspiel
John Ramsey
Keith Kohler
Barry Kohler
Gordon Kohler

Max Harris
Aub Brown
Jan Gascoigne
Horrie Rutter
Jill Colquhoun
Max Levenspiel
Jan Colquhoun
Mick Baker
Carmen Innes
Margot Doyle
Ern Gordon
Dot Izzard
Joy McJannett
Miss Aherne (Piano Accordion)

SIT DOWN A MINUTE, ADRIAN

By Jevan Brendan-Thomas

Produced by Rene Levenspiel & June Colquhoun

Performed April 1958

This pla ran for two performances on 23rd and 24th April 1958.  After a period of using roneo-ed programmes the Advocate Print was commissioned to produce professionally printed copies.  The cost for 250 programmes was, incidentally £4/2/- plus Sales Tax. View the show programme below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel & June Colquhoun

CAST:

EDWARD FLETCHER - Richard Hughes
JOAN - Jan Gascoigne
ADRIAN SPARKS - Fred Chapman
DOROTHY - Dot Izzard
FLORENCE HEDLEY - Ellaine Mumberson
NICHOLAS - Arthur Gleed
BERTHA - Ivy Zaia
MERCIA - Helen Robertson
JOE GORME - George Glading
BETTY - Jean Chapman
ABEL JOHNSON - Peter Lawrey

 

 

PYGMALION

By George Bernard Shaw

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed September 1958

This play (upon which the musical My Fair Lady is based) was the WDG entry in the Country Play Festival for the Arts Council of NSW.  It ran in September 1958, and Rene Levenspiel was the producer (again). You can access the show programme using the button below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

CLARA EYNSFORD HILL - Mildred Ede
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL  - Rene Levenspiel
BYSTANDER -   Fred Chapman
FREDDY EYNSFORD HILL  -  Richard Hughes
ELIZA DOOLITTLE    Beth Lawrey
COLONEL PICKERING  -  Arthur Gleed
PROFESSOR HIGGINS - Walter Mackie 
SARCASTIC BYSTANDER - Baden Brown
OTHER BYSTANDERS -    Ellaine Mumberson,
                                            Bonnie Bryant, 
                                     Ted Bryant
MRS. PEARCE - Ivy Zaia
ALFRED DOOLITTLE - Aubrey Brown
MRS. HIGGINS - Marjorie Cleed
PARLOR MAID - Jean Chapman

 

 

QUIET WEEKEND

By Esther M'Cracken

Produced by Aub Brown

Performed December 1958

In December 1958 Aubrey A Brown produced this "Comedy in Three Acts". The programme can be viewed below:

PRODUCED BY:

Aub Brown

CAST:

SAM PECKER - Dick Johnson
MARY JARROW - Ivy Zaia
MIRANDA BUTE - Leila Wamsley
SALLY SPENDER - Jan Gascoigne
MILDRED ROYD - Beth Lawrey
ARTHUR ROYD - Fred Chapman
BELLA HITCHINS - Nancy Boyce
MARCIA BRENT - Helen Robertson
ADRIAN BARASFORD - Arthur Gleed
JIM BRENT - Richard Hughes
ELLA SPENDER - Marjoree Gleed
DENYS ROYD - Baden Brown
ROWENA MARRIOTT - Valda Johnson 

 

 

NOAH

By Andre Obey

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed August 1959

noah_animals_1959.jpg

Back Row: Bonnie Bryant as the Cow, Arthur Gleed as Noah, Jan Gascoigne as the Monkey; Front Row: Fred Chapman as the Wolf, Aubrey A Brown as the Bear, George Glading as the Lion. (View Larger Image)

This was billed as a "fantasy".  Naturally it is the story of the building of an ark, although it is set in contemporary times.  It had a reasonably large cast of fourteen and was a production of Rene Levenspiel. The programme is available below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

NOAH - Arthur Gleed
THE BEAR - Aub Brown
THE LION
& THE MAN - George Glading
THE MONKEY - Jan Gascoigne
THE COW - Bonnie Bryant
THE WOLF - Fred Chapman
JAPHETH - Peter Lawrey
SHEM - Ted Bryant
HAM - Baden Brown
MRS. NOAH - Rene Levenspiel
ADA - Judith Chandler
SELLA - Leila Wamsley
NAOMI - Beverley Hungerford

 

LOVERS LEAP (1959)

By Phillip Jackson

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed December 1959

This was produced in November and December of 1959,  by Rene Levenspiel and was yet another comic play - our audiences' favourite then and now! This play was later reprised in 1963 and entered (then) in the NSW Country Plays Competition with three of the five original actors. The programme can be viewed below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

HELEN STONER - June Colquhoun
POYNTER - Fred Chapman
SARAH - Beth Lawrey
CEDRIC NORREYS - George Glading
ROGER STORER - Aub Brown

 
FINAL 70 LOGO.jpg

With thanks to Peter Deane and other long-time members of the Wyong Drama Group for the collation of this history.