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By Michael Redgrave

Produced by Phyll Bennett

Performed September 1966

This was produced in September 1966 by Phyl Bennett and was the WDG entry in the NSW Arts Council's Country & Metropolitan Drama Festival adjudicated by Mr Reid Douglas.  It is based on the story by Henry James.  The play ran for three performances, Friday 2 September, Friday 9 September and Saturday 10 September 1966, the last one of which was the adjudicated entry in the Drama Festival.


The play was adapted by Michael Redgrave in 1962 from the novella written by Henry James, published in 1888.  It has also been made into an opera, a movie (The Lost Moment starring Susan Hayward and Robert Cummings) and was serialised on BBC radio's A Book at Bedtime series.


Review of the play by Neville Goldsworthy following the adjudicated performance on Saturday 10 September 1966

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Article on Wednesday 31 August 1966.

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Conclusion of the above article from Page 4.  This will have been published in the Wyong Advocate.

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Article which would have appeared roughly the week before opening.  Notice the error in John Worgan's name (appears as Morgan).

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James was a dominant literary figure at the turn of the century (1899-1900), one of those Americans who, like the central character of the play, looked to Europe for the tradition not yet developed in his own country.  He became more English than the English, a master of the grand manner and grand style.  His influence lasted until Hemingway and other younger rebels swept away the pretentiousness in the 1920s.

In the story, a nameless narrator goes to Venice in order to locate Juliana Bordereau, an old lover of Jeffrey Aspern, a famous and now dead American poet. The narrator insinuates himself into the old woman's house as a lodger and flatters Miss Tita, her niece, a plain, somewhat naive spinster, in hopes of getting a look at some of Aspern's letters.


The only photo extant of this production, shot from backstage, showing Bonnie Bryant as Asunta the maid.

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When Juliana falls ill, the narrator sneaks into her room and gets caught by the oldlady as he is about to rifle her desk for the letters.  Juliana calls the narrator a "publishing scoundrel" and collapses.  The narrator flees, and when he returns some days later, he finds that Juliana has died. Miss Tita hints that he can have the Aspern letters if he marries her.

Again, the narrator flees.  For a time he considers Miss Tita's proposal, but when he returns, he finds that she has burned all the letters, one by one.  The narrator never sees the precious papers, but he does send Miss Tita some money for a miniature portrait of Aspern that she gave him.


Article appearing before 22 August 1966 outlining The Aspern Papers opening, and a farewell to Phil and Rene Levenspiel (then owners of WM-Holden Wyong and long-time drama group members) who are about to depart on a world trip.

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You can access The Aspern Papers programme below, and also read the novella on which he play was based (The Aspern Papers, by Henry James - first published 1888).


Phyll Bennett


ASSUNTA - Bonnie Bryant
 - Gwen Clarke
HENRY JARVIS - John Worgan
MISS TITA - Isobel Unsworth
PASQUALE - Ian Tasker

The Aspern Papers
The House By The Lake


By Ben Travers

Produced by Aub Brown

Performed December 1966

This comedy was produced by Aubrey Brown on the 2nd & 3rd of December 1966.  It is one of a number of "Aldwych Farces" which were produced at the Aldwych Theatre in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  A large factor in the success of the Aldwych Farces was their predictability: audiences wanted stock characters and stock situations, and got what they expected.  The BBC made a series of Travers's Aldwych Farces into televison shows in the early 1970s.

Gerald Popkiss has come to stay at "Rookery Nook", a house in Chumpton-on-Sea, Somerset.  Gerald married Clara six weeks before, and has come to visit Clara's sister Gertrude and her husband Harold Twine who live in the area. Visiting with Gerald is his cousin Clive who has a tendency to get into trouble.


Article from The Advocate, Wednesday 16 November 1966

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Article from The Advocate, Wednesday 23 November 1966

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(Click photos to view full-size images)

No sooner has Gerald settled in when a beautiful young lady named Rhoda Marley shows up at the house claiming that her step-father Putz has thrown her out of the house for eating wurtleberries, a "forbidden fruit".  Since she is barefoot and soaked, Gerald lends her a pair of his pyjamas and a dressing gown - Gerald cannot refuse a lady in distress. When Gertrude and Harold show up, Rhoda must hide in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, she is discovered by Harold, who is sworn to silence to avoid having Gertrude telling tales to Gerald's wife Clara.

The following morning, Harold arrives to hear the explanation, but states he has to get to the golf course to meet Admiral Juddy.  Mrs Leverett, the housekeeper, and Gertrude also arrive unbeknownst to the men and see Rhoda coming out of Gerald's bedroom and vow to tell Clara.  Clive and Gerald convince Harold to get some clothes so that Rhoda can leave the house and head to London to stay with friends.  They also pay off Mrs Leverett for the whole week so she will leave them alone.  While Harold is searching for clothes, the outraged Juddy arrives, saying that Harold never showed up for their golf game.  Clive volunteers to drive Rhoda to London as he has developed affection for her.  Harold tries to get Rhoda's clothes from Putz's house, but Putz set the dog on him, so Harold is forced to borrow some of Gertrude's clothes.  Clara arrives after being informed by Gertrude that Gerald is cheating on her with Rhoda. 


Article by Neville Goldsworthy, The Advocate Wednesday 7 December 1966

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Article from the Gosford Star, Wednesday 30 November 1966

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A village girl named Poppy selling lifeboat flags stops by and Rhoda borrows Poppy's clothes and escapes.  Clara confronts Gerald, and he opens up the bedroom to show the sweet little girl he was trying to help, only to find a brazen Poppy with no clothes on.  He tries to explain about Rhoda's crazy stepfather, but when Putz arrives he is calm and courteous, and totally out of character.  Poor Gerald is sunk until Rhoda shows up to thank Gerald for his help and Clive accuses Mrs Leverett of spreading false rumours about Rhoda.  Mrs Leverett says she heard it from Gertrude and Putz, hearing the scandalous accusation, goes into a rage.  In the ensuing melee, Gerald reclaims Clara and Clive gets Rhoda.


Aub Brown


MRS. LEVERETT - Lorna Worgan
HAROLD TWINE - David Fryer
CLIVE POPKISS - George Geatches
RHODA MARLEY - Pamela Jones
PUTZ - Bruno Marsonnet
ADMIRAL JUDDY - Fred Chapman
CLARA POPKISS - Beverley Say
MRS. POSSETT- Bonnie Bryant

Rookery Nook


By Guy Paxton and Edward V Hoile

Produced by Bonnie Bryant

Performed  April 1967

This was Bonnie Bryant's debut as a director (then, of course, known as "producer") for Wyong Drama Group.  Unlike other directors, however, it was certainly not her last effort.  The play opened in April 1967, and is your typical English farce.  This play has been done by WDG three times (so far).  Maxine Morris directed it in 1987, and Bonnie reprised it again (with Howard Oxley as co-director) in 1999.  This production played on two days: Friday 21 April, and Saturday 22 April 1967.

A theatre man, who seeks a refuge in the country away from the women around him, makes his way to Cranberry Cottage with his leading man. They are met by a young girl who is standing in for her mother who is the housekeeper.  Add a crazy camper and allow the wife and girlfriend to arrive with the son and you have the ingredients for a farce.  The Camper, Mr Mole, steals the show with what he does with his shorts.  The focus of the attention, Mr Charles Pentwick, overdoes all the attributes of the theatre man.


Article in an unknown newspaper posted by the group, on the desperate search for a specific prop (date unknown).

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Article promoting the show in an unknown newspaper, most likely The Advocate (date unknown).

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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).

Use the arrows to browse through the gallery for Bed of Roses Click the images to view them full-size.

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.


Arthur Gleed


MRS . BLISDEN - Gladys Goldsworthy
BOB HUGGINS - Ian Tasker
DR. RAHENY - John Worgan
MAY ROSSITER - Helen Marsonet

Love's A uxury


By George Bernard Shaw

Produced by Frank McKone

Performed August 1967

This is a very funny and quirky play by Shaw, outlining the futility of war, and the pragmatism employed by the soldiers fighting it.  It also contains a story of rivalry for a woman's hand in marriage, and in the end, yes, the Man gets the girl.  It was written in about 1890 and first performed in 1894, but it is almost as fresh today as it was when Shaw wrote it.

Captain Bluntschli, a professional soldier, practical and straightforward, with no romantic illusions, brings Raina down to the level of his worldliness and raises her to his level of understanding.  Louka, a servant who aims at climbing the social ladder by her (his) cunning, knocks the romanticism out of Sergius.


Gwen Clarke playing Catherine Petkoff, talking with Major Paul Petkoff, portrayed by Arthur Gleed.

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Mark Levenspiel as Nicola, getting the attention of Louka, played by Mary Smith

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Shaw could not but help to see the funny side of these clashes of personality, while he seriously believed that the world must rid itself of the romantics - that only logical, scientific thinking can produce a sane and peaceful world.  Therefore in his play, the anti-romantics win the day.

The play was produced by Frank McKone, a regular actor who finally got a gig as a director.  He also produced an even older play She Stoops to Conquer a few years later in 1970.  It played at Wyong on Friday 11 August and Saturday 12 August 1967.


Article in the Wyong News, 16 August 1967.

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The show programme, and full script for Arms And The Man, can be accessed below:


Frank McKone



RAINA PETKOFF - Anna Butchart





- David Still

LOUKA - Mary Smith
NICOLA - Mark Levenspiel
PAUL PETKOFF - Arthur Gleed



By Phillip King and Falkland L Cary

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed November 1967

Rene Levenspiel was back after a hiatus and produced this classic English farce for us which played on Thursday 23 November and Friday 24 November 1967.


Newspaper article, probably in the Tuggerah Lakes News, possibly by Neville Goldsworthy, on or about 29 Nov 1967

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