THE TOUCH OF SILK

By Betty Roland

Produced by June Colquhoun

Performed April 1964

This was an Australian play set in the Mallee country of Australia ten years after the First World War - in the period we now call the Depression Years.  An incident witnessed by the author at an outback dance gave her the idea for this play.  It is a poignant drama centred on Jeanne, a homesick French war bride and her shell-shocked husband battling hardship and prejudice in the drought-stricken town.

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Article from the Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 1 April 1964

(Read full article here)

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Article from theTuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 1 April 1964

(Read full article here)

The Cast of The Touch Of Silk - 4
The Cast of The Touch Of Silk - 4

Beth Gingell and Barry Beggs

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The Cast of The Touch Of Silk - 1
The Cast of The Touch Of Silk - 1

Beth Gingell as Nelly Davidson, Barry Beggs as David Ritchie, Edna Bate as Mrs Davidson, Gladys Goldsworthy as Stella Patterson, Ted Bryant as Dr Wilson, George Geatches as Clifford Osborne, Bonnie Bryant as Mrs Ryan, Arthur Gleed as Alexander Ritchie, Dick Woodward as Jim Davidson & Gwen Clarke as Jeanne Davidson

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The Cast of The Touch Of Silk - 2
The Cast of The Touch Of Silk - 2

Fred Chapman, George Glading, Beth Gingell, George Geatches, Arthur Gleed, Edna Bate, Dick Woodward, Gwen Clarke, Ted Bryant and Bonnie Bryant

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Use the arrows to browse through the cast photos for The Touch Of Silk. Click the images to view them full-size.

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Article from the Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 8 April 1964

(Read full article here)

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Review: Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 15 April 1964

(Read full article here)

The play was produced (for Adjudication in the NSW Country Drama Festival) by June Colquhoun in April 1964.  The production dates were Thursday 9 April, Saturday 11 April and Saturday 18 April 1964.  The adjudicator was Reid Douglas who saw the production on 11 April.

The playwright, Betty Roland, actually attended the opening night of the play!  In the drama group archives we have an autographed copy of the programme signed by Betty Roland herself.

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Photo from an article in the Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 15 April 1964

(Read full article here)

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Review by Neville Goldsworthy: Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 15 April 1964

(Read full article here)

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Article possibly from the Tuggerah Lakes News, probably Wednesday 25 March 1964

(Read full article here)

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Article from the Wyong Advocate, probably Wednesday 25 March 1964

(Read full article here)

PRODUCED BY:

June Colquhoun

CAST:

STELLA PATTERSON - Gladys Goldsworthy
CLIFFORD OSBORNE - George Geatches
ALEXANDER RITCHIE - Arthur Gleed
MRS. RYAN - Bonnie Bryant
JIM DAVIDSON - Dick Woodward
MRS. DAVIDSON - Edna Bate
NELLY DAVIDSON- Beth Gingell
DAVID RITCHIE - Barry Beggs
JEANNE DAVIDSON - Gwen Clarke
DR. WILSON - Ted Bryant
HARRY - George Glading
CONSTABLE HUGHES - Fred Chapman

 
 

AS LONG AS THEY'RE HAPPY (1964)

By Vernon Sylvaine

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed October 1964

This was our usual end-of-year farce, and produced by Rene Levenspiel.  The drama group also produced the show in 1973.  The show was presented on Friday 16 October, Saturday 17 October and Monday 19 October 1964.

Not quite a fully-fledged musical, "As Long as They're Happy" can be described as a romantic comedy with song-and-dance interludes.  Stockbroker John Bentley's household is thrown into a tizzy when popular singing star Bobby Denver visits his home.  Bentley's three daughters Gwendoline, Patricia and Corinne are immediately smitten by Bobby, though each reacts to his presence in a different manner.  Mrs Bentley, hoping to loosen up her staid hubby, pretends to be likewise enamoured with the singer.

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Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 14 October 1964

(Read full article here)

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Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 14 October 1964

(Read full article here)

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Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 30 September 1964

(read full article here)

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Article about the general meeting following this show in the Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 112 November 1964.
This article outlines the general meeting, a forthcoming one-act play and the up-coming production of Bed of Roses

(read full article here)

It was made into a 1955 film with Diana Dors and "Carry On" regular Joan Sims as a comic maid, among many others.  The film did the most amount of good for recording artist Jeannie Carson, who landed her own American TV sitcom as a result of her appearance herein.

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

(Click photos to view full-size images)

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BOBBY DENVER
- George Geatches

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LINDA - June Dargan

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STELLA BENTLEY
- Anne Morgan

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PATRICIA
- Beth Gingell

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BOBBY BENTLEY
- John Worgan

GWENDOLINE - Jan Bailey
MR. SKEGGINGTON - Toby Bryant
HERMAN SCHNEIDER - Ted Bryant
MICHAEL KENLEY - Colin Lean
PETER PEMBER - Don Watson
PEARL - Pam Robinson
CORRINE - Helen Marsonet
BARNABY - Mark Levenspiel

 

BED OF ROSES

By Falkland L Cary

Produced by Arthur Gleed

Performed  April 1965

Arthur Gleed is a name familiar to most WDG audiences from the early days throughout the 1960s, having appeared in countless plays.  With this production he turned his hand to directing (and it is to be noted he never directed another show for Wyong Drama Group!)

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Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 31 March 1965

(Read full article here)

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Review by Neville Goldsworthy in the Wyong (and Tuggerah Lakes) Advocate, Wednesday 14 April 1965

(read full article here)

Several other articles on the play appeared in newspapers. Click the button below to view them:

This play was the last production at the Wyong Youth Hall in Hely Street.  It played for three nights, Thursday 8 April, Friday 9 April and Saturday 10 April 1965.  On Monday 12 April the whole production was taken up to Morisset Psychiatric Hospital for a special performance for the patients only (not open to the public).

Onlookers at the Rehearsal
Onlookers at the Rehearsal

Watching the rehearsal (the last show in the Youth Hall): Mrs Chapman, an unknown young member, Bonnie Bryant and Gwen Clarke

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The Action of Bed of Roses - 1
The Action of Bed of Roses - 1

Fred Chapman as Mat and Ian Tasker as Bob

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The Action of Bed of Roses - 2
The Action of Bed of Roses - 2

Fred Chapman as Mat, Pam Robinson as Jenny, Don Watson as Basil, Helen Marsonet as May, Ian Tasker as Bob and Jan Bailey as Pam

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Rose has convinced herself that she is an invalid and spends all her time lying on a couch with her husband Matt at her beck and call.  Matt and the doctor devise a plan.  Matt pretends to have injured his leg and when Rose gets up to tend to him he jumps on to the couch so that she is unable to resume her role as invalid.

PRODUCED BY:

Arthur Gleed

CAST:

JENNY PICKERSGILL - Pam Robinson
PAM PICKERSGILL - Jan Bailey
MRS . BLISDEN - Gladys Goldsworthy
BOB HUGGINS - Ian Tasker
ROSE PICKERSGIILL - Mildred Field
MAT PICKERSGILL - Fred Chapman
BASIL GRAVES - Don Watson
DR. RAHENY - John Worgan
MAY ROSSITER - Helen Marsonet

 

MURDER MISTAKEN

By Janet Green

Produced by Gwen Clarke

Performed July 1965

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Neville Goldsworthy's article reviewing the play in the Wyong Advocate,Wednesday 21 July 1965

(See full-size image here)

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Tuggerah Lakes News article, also published on Wednesday 21 July 1965

(See full-size image here)

This was our first play produced at the new Memorial Hall.  Its producer was Gwen Clarke and was a nice little thriller to open the new hall with.  It was Gwen's first directorial production for Wyong Drama Group and ran for two nights, Friday 16 July and Saturday 17 July 1965.  It was also the drama group's entry in the 1965 Arts Council play festival which was judged by Mr Reid Douglas viewing the Saturday night performance.

Murder is his business and generally speaking Edward Bare is a successful business man.  Married first to Monica, rich, doting and many years his senior, Edward waits amicably for her to die.  It is not "poor Monnie's fault" that he comes one day to the mistaken conclusion that she is about to make a will in favour of her sister, and decides that, his only course is to hasten her end.  But Edward has misjudged the old woman, for she meant to leave him everything.  As it is, he finds himself with less than he had when she was alive.

ADJUDICATION

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Adjudication: marks and comments made by Reid Douglas at the Arts Council Drama Festival performance. 
Date of document: 17 July 1966

(view full image)

Edward is not daunted: He looks around for another rich fish to net, and finds the answer to this pressing necessity in the person of Freda Jefferies, wealthy widow of a hotel proprietor.  Freda, who has always seen that her head ruled her heart, marries Edward, at the same time keeping a tight hold on her purse strings.  This does not suit Edward and when Charlotte Young, another rich woman, arrives on the scene, he is all set to remove the one that irks him most.  Charlotte appears easier game than the tough Freda, and Edward sets about staging the scene for an exciting last situation.

 

Which lady will receive the brunt of his murdering tactics?  Packed with suspense and thrills, the machinations of the killer's mind are laid bare for the observation of the audience, and the twists are unexpected and spine-chilling.

Murder Mistaken in Colour - 2
Murder Mistaken in Colour - 2

Lorna Worgan, George Geatches, Bonnie Bryant and Phillip McGill

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Rehearsals for Murder Mistaken - 1
Rehearsals for Murder Mistaken - 1

At rehearsals in the new hall: George Geatches, Bonnie Bryant and Phillip McGill

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Rehearsals for Murder Mistaken - 2
Rehearsals for Murder Mistaken - 2

George Geatches, Bonnie Bryant, Phillip McGill and Lorna Worgan

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PRODUCED BY:

Gwen Clarke

CAST:

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FREDA JEFFRIES - Bonnie Bryant

EMMIE - Lorna Worgan
MONICA BARE - Mildred Ede
PHILLIP MORTIMER- Phillip McGill
EDWARD BARE - George Geatches
CHARLOTTE YOUNG - Juyne Ceely

THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE

By William Douglas Home

Produced by Aub Brown

Performed December 1965

This play was produced by Aubrey A Brown on Friday 3 December and Saturday 4 December, 1965.  It was our second production in the new Memorial Hall.  Notice from the programme that tea-and-biscuits no longer cost sixpence, but had in fact doubled in price to a whole shilling!!  This was only going to be for another three months anyway, with future tea-and-biscuits being charged for in cents!

 

When 17-year-old Jane Broadbent comes to London to live with her wealthy father Jimmy Broadbent, her stepmother Sheila feels compelled by her social aspirations to introduce her to society.  Jane is bored by the debutante balls she attends and the young men she is introduced to, but becomes interested in a drummer named David Bullock, who has a reputation for leading young women astray.  To complicate matters, David Hoylake-Johnston relentlessly pursues Jane, even though she openly detests him.  As it turns out, Bullock's reputation is undeserved, but Sheila is convinced otherwise, and she tries to keep him away from Jane.

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Publicity article in the Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 24 November 1965. 

Note: Ian Tasker's name has been typo'd as "Gasker"

(view full article)

Sheila's garrulous friend Mabel interferes with Sheila's attempts to separate the two in order to secure David Bullock for her own daughter, Clarissa. Fortunately for Jane and David, Sheila's plans fail miserably.  The two young people fall in love with each other, and David Hoylake-Johnston proposes to Jane.  He also inherits an Italian title of nobility, satisfying Sheila's concerns for Jane's social status.

The play was made into a 1957 movie starring Rex Harrison and Angela Lansbury and was also the basis for the 2003 movie What a Girl Wants starring Amanda Byne.

Unfortunately, no production photos seem to exist, however to publicise the event, the Drama Group organised a float for the Wyong Parade in November 1965, which carried five cast members throughout the town of Wyong on a very nice sunny day.  The four colour shots below are taken from Railway Street (Pacific Highway) Wyong, looking toward the railway station from where currently stands the late-night chemist or Legends Bakery or thereabouts.  Note that in 1965 there was no pedestrian footbridge over the railway line!  The Canary Islands palm trees were quite profuse along the eastern side of the highway in past days (they were planted in the 1930s as an employment creation scheme), and there are still a few left today.

Photos of the Group's float in the 1965 Wyong Parade. Click the thumbnail images to expand them.

PRODUCED BY:

Aub Brown

CAST:

JIMMY BROADBENT - John Worgan
SHEILA BROADBENT - Gwen Clarke
JANE - Pam Robinson
MABEL CROSSWAITE- Beth Gingell
CLARISSA - Jan Bailey
DAVID BULLOCK - Ian Tasker
DAVID HOYLAKE-JOHNSTON - Bryan Brown
THE REVEREND ARTHUR HUMPHREY - Ted Bryant
MRS. EDGAR - Pamela Say

 
 

AN ITALIAN STRAW HAT

By Eugene Labiche and Marc Michel

Produced by Phyl Bennett

Performed June 1966

This play was produced by Miss Phyl Bennett in June 1966.  It had a large cast of 24. Supper at this stage cost 10 cents - it was our first play produced in decimal currency.  The play was presented (for two performances only) on Friday 3 June and Saturday 4 June 1966 at the "new" Wyong Memorial Hall.

The simple plot takes place on a couple’s wedding day, when the groom’s horse eats a lady’s straw hat which sets off a chain reaction of events, making it appear as if there is much ado about nothing.  The lady whose hat was eaten cannot return home to her husband without it for fear it would reveal her clandestine meeting with her officer-lover.  The Lieutenant, desperate to find a hat exactly like it as a replacement, goes to extreme lengths, thereby causing further turmoil.

We have a large gallery of photos for The Italian Straw Hat. Click the images to view them full-size.

The wedding party falls into a chase across Paris as the hapless groom attempts to find the hat and get on with his wedding, which the bride’s father calls off time and time again, much to the delight of bride’s besotted cousin who thinks he should take her hand.  Mistaken identities abound, deceptions are uncovered, the plot thickens... or rather it runs about all over the place.  But with farce, plots are  not meant to be scrutinised; it’s just the vehicle for the jokes and the comic delivery.  The show also contains a number of songs interwoven throughout the action.

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Review by Neville Goldsworthy in the Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 14 June 1966.

(view full article)

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Publicity article in the Wyong Advocate, Wednesday 4 May 1966.

(view full article)

PRODUCED BY:

Phyll Bennett

CAST:

VIRGINIA - Denise Proust
FELIX - David Fryer
VEZINET - Arthur Gleed

FADINARD - George Geatches
EMILE - Aub Brown
ANNETTE - Jan Prothero
NONANCOURT - Fred Chapman
HELEN - Beverley Say
BOBY
& ACHILLE - Ian Tasker
CLOTHILDE - Cathy Hurst
CLARA - Pamela Say
TARDINVEAU - Ted Bryant
COUNTESS DE CHAMPIGNY - Beth McIntyre
DUCHESS DE CHATEAU GILLARD - Isobel Unsworth
LE DUC DE CHATEAU GILLARD - Bruno Marsonet
MADOMOISELLE LA POMPE - Mildred Field
MONSEIUR BEUAJOLAIS - Bonnie Bryant
CORPORAL - George Glading
SOLDIERS - Grant Field 
& Edward Sharp
WEDDING GUESTS - Beth Gingell
, Anne Field & Belinda Fane

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

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