Treading the boards along with the Fairy Queens and Witches in 1959


Mid Sussex has produced its fair share of decent actors and actresses.

You have to wonder, though, if the likes of The Tudors star Tamzin Merchant or Emmerdale actor Mathew Bose have had anywhere near as much fun as these amateur thespians from 1959.



Both photos were published in the Mid Sussex Times in January of that year.

The first shows some of the men of the Weald Theatre Group bringing their own, somewhat unusual, interpretation to the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.

This was their 16th such pantomime and they divided the proceeds between the League of Friends at Cuckfield Hospital, and the Cuckfield Urban District Old People’s Welfare Committee.

The show starred Bill Stevens as The Baron – a thoroughly bad sort who attempted to get rid of his ward, Red Riding Hood, for financial gain.

Luckily, his wicked plan was thwarted by the Fairy Queen – played by Trudie Jagger – and Prince Charming – played by Judy Ellmer. This was panto, after all, and what would panto be without a young woman playing the role of a dashing male hero?

As for Little Red Riding Hood, she was played by 12-year-old Maureen Barry, and was described the reviewer as “enchanting”.

The panto was produced and written by Patrick Hanna, who also played the role of Simple Simon.

Beside the nasty old Baron, the other baddies of the piece were the Wicked Witch, played by Daphne Jones, and King Wolf, played by David Harris.

But they weren’t all bad guys. There was plenty of comedy relief from Robbem and Twistem, played by Brian Davis and Steuart Went, who were a pair of not-so-rascally brokers’ men.

Our second picture shows some of the Keymer Players, rehearsing their play The Heartless Princess, which was performed at Keymer Church Hall.

In the picture are Philip Wilson as King of Knut, Dennis Bradley as Freddie, Patricia Manley as Princess Allegra and Thomas Kilbride as Prince Alexis.

Were you part of the Weald Theatre Group or the Keymer Players?

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