One hundred and ten members of the “Friends” attended the 30th Anniversary Birthday Tea at  the Eastbourne Centre, a venue we were using for the first time. The guest of honour was Anita Harris, one of our five patrons who was accompanied by her husband, Mike. Entertainment was provided by “The Polyphony Ensemble” who sang a variety of  numbers, some well known, others less known, finishing their presentation with a sing-along from our Members who joined in with gusto. Before everyone settled down to a delicious tea Anita cut the birthday cake and, in her usual effervescent style, sang a poem she had written about the joy of attending the Devonshire Park Theatre.  She also chose the winning tickets for the raffle which raised the sum of £188. Everybody agreed that it was a most enjoyable afternoon.

Anita cuts the cake

Anita with Vice-Chair Lesley Raven

Following their successful production of “The Rivals” a couple of years ago the Creative Cow company returned to the stage of the Devonshire Park Theatre with their production of Oliver Goldsmiths “She stoops to conquer”. This young company treated an appreciative audience to an hilarious evening of fun, and afterwards were given a warm welcome in the Theatre bar at an after-show reception.

“She stoops to conquer” Company

Posted April 26th, 2014

Jack Shepherd (best known as Inspector Wycliffe) and Terence Hardiman, who has played numerous parts on TV, Theatre and film, led a talented group of actors from the Middle Ground Theatre Company in presenting two Classic ghost stories at the Devonshire Park Theatre on Tuesday 22nd April. The stories, “Oh whistle and I’ll come to you” by M.R. James and “The Signalman” by Charles Dickens were directed by the Company’s founder Michael Lunney and left the audience wanting more. Their week in Eastbourne ended a fourteen week tour and the company met up with “Friends” in the Theatre bar after the show.

“Classic Ghosts” Company

The “Friends” welcomed Bob Golding and his crew members to the after-show reception following a brilliant solo performance in which he told us about the life of Eric Morecambe and the successful career he had with Ernie Wise over a period of 41 years.  During the 90 minute performance Rob played 55 different parts and had  to learn 60 pages of monologues which resulted in the audience giving him a standing ovation at the end of the show. The following day Bob said “It’s great to be back in Eastbourne, especially to perform at the Devonshire Park Theatre. The Friends of the Theatre threw us a post show drinks reception on the first night which was genuinely really lovely. We did a massive 40 date tour last year and not one venue did anything like that. It shows how well supported the theatre is and for an actor it’s really a nice touch.” We are proud to be one of the few theatres in the country that still continue to welcome the visiting companies to our theatre and hope to be able to continue this service for many years to come.

Bob Golding

Posted March 28th, 2014

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night” came to the Devonshire Park Theatre on Tuesday with a very modern twist which clearly thrilled the younger members of the audience but probably left some of the older ones confused. Nevertheless, the Company clearly were having a good time and they were well received in the the Theatre bar when they met members of “the Friends” for the usual after-show reception.

“Twelfth Night” cast

 

Warwick Davis and his Reduced Height Theatre Company came to the Devonshire Park Theatre on Monday night as part of their tour of Philip King’s farce, “See How They Run”. The company was formed by Warwick to give short actors the opportunity to perform in productions on a level playing field which, up to now, they have never had the opportunity to do.   The production offered a cast, all of whom were of short stature, and a set which was scaled down to suit the average height of those taking part. After the performance the company were welcomed in the Theatre bar.

The cast of “See How They Run”

Posted March 19th, 2014

Patron of the FDPT, Kevin Palister, stepped in at short notice when Brian Murphy was unable to attend the lunch at the Cavendish Hotel on 16th March. Members enjoyed a pleasant lunch  and Kevin, who was accompanied by his son, George, answered a number of questions about his career, which included star parts in stage musicals, “Buddy” and “Blood Brothers”, and numerous TV appearances,  from those present.

Kevin, with son, George

The cast and Company of  Agatha Christie’s “Black Coffee” were given an earlier welcome than expected on Monday night when the play had to be abandoned after the first of three acts, due to a breakdown in the lighting system which, despite all efforts by the technical staff, could not be resolved on the night. Reluctantly, the Duty Manager had to advise the large audience that the play could not continue and refunds or alternative bookings would be made. Consequently, the  after show reception for the Company took place much earlier than originally planned but everyone seemed to take the mishap in their stride and looked forward to the remainder of the week. Fortunately, although not entirely trouble-free, the Company were able put on the Tuesday night performance and the remainder of the week the play went on without any further problems.

“Black Coffee” Company. Lisa Goddard and Robert Powell Front, left

Posted March 4th, 2014

A delighted audience saw Gilbert & Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore” in a totally different light on Monday night when an all male cast of sixteen played both male and female parts of this popular operetta. This was director, Sasha Regan’s interpretation of the original show which turned around the crew of a World War II battleship as they transform themselves from present-day sailors to the motley crew of HMS Pinafore and the love of a lowly ranked matelot for the daughter of the ship’s captain takes its many turns. After the show the company were given a warm welcome in the Theatre bar and wished well for the rest of their tour which cames to an end in May.

Company of HMS Pinafore

Posted February 26th, 2014

The cast and Company of the powerful drama “Kindertransport” anthralled a large audience on the first night of their tour in Eastbourne. The play, written by Diane Samuels and directed by Andrew Hall relates the story of a young Jewish girl, living in Germany in 1939, who is sent by her parents to England to ensure her safety under the Kindertransport scheme organised by the British government. In a series of flashbacks we see the effect this has had on the girl as she grows into adulthood and the resulting relationship with her own daughter many years later. The audience included a large number of students as the story is part of this year’s school curriculum. Special mention must be made of Maggie Steed who has recently taken over one of the main parts from Paula Wilcox and last night was her first performancein the part.

Gabrielle Dempsey, Andrew Hall (Director), Maggie Steed, Tracey Childs (Producer) and Emma Deegan