Photograph and Report of the Headley Theatre Club's production of 'Sleeping Beauty' , January 1973

Above: L to R – Pru Harrold (Queen), Phyl Brewster (Mother Primrose), Vicky Cook (Princess Briar Rose, face hidden); below: Ray Pascoe (Captain of the Guard)

Reports by Jo Fisher:

The air at Headley is filled with magic and fairies – by the Theatre Club's pantomime, "Sleeping Beauty" (or "The Story of the Land of Nod").
With six performances already behind it, the cast looks forward to two more at the end of this week when it will dress up for a matinée and gala performance on Saturday.
The matinée will be a charity performance for a party of children, arranged by a Lions Club and proceeds from the gala in the evening will be donated to the Village Hall Fund.
The pantomime, which is based on a story by Chris Wiggins, has been adapted by the producer, Dawn Lewcock, to take place in and around Headley. Hence the name The land of Nod (a large private estate). Primrose Patch and Waggoners, other local beauty spots, also provide the background for some of the scenes. The show caters for all ages and the audience participation proves this, especially when a request is made for children to help out on stage.
The costumes, scenery, and lighting are most adventurous for such a small amateur group but have proved successful and the whole of the cast perform excellently.
The world of fairies and fantasy comes over so well that after one performance a small child asked the doorkeeper if she might speak to the fairies as she had never spoken to one before.


Sparkle, spells, songs, and slapstick – they were all there for the audience to enjoy at the Headley Theatre Club's production of "Sleeping Beauty," which had its final performance at the village hall last Saturday evening.
The story's alternative title, "The Story of The Land of Nod" was not only a subtle pun but is the name of a private estate in Headley. The pantomime was based on a story by Chris Wiggins and adapted for Headley by the producer, Dawn Lewcock.
The whole show held the audience captivated from the beginning and there was much audience participation ranging from jumping up and down to the song, "Lily the Pink" to telling Puff, the Magic Dragon, to "Look out" when the wicked Witch of Waggoners Wells crept on to the stage.
Puff, played by John Cotter, was a lovable, fool of a dragon, spending most of his time inadvertently burning people with his hot breath. He was absolutely terrified of the Witch of Waggoners Wells, brilliantly played by Dawn Lewcock. She had spent so much time weaving evil spells with her long bony fingers that her hands had turned green.
The Captain of the Guard (Ray Pascoe) and Lilly Bakewell (Jimmy Ellis) provided the slapstick in an hilarious fashion. A role was specially written into the pantomime for Jimmy Ellis after he expressed a desire to take part, and what an asset he proved to be. With Ray Pascoe they proved a perfect team and made the job of the pianist, Merle Richardson, no easy one. Throughout the performances she had been threatened with custard pies and dough and decided to take precautions on the last night by playing under the shelter of a large red umbrella.
Celia Haydon, the Elf-Apprentice, was outstanding. She had one of the largest parts of the cast and was on stage for practically the whole performance. It was hard to believe she has had no dramatic training, but has only taken part in her school's plays.
Princess Briar Rose was played by Vicki Cook, looking every inch a princess, with long flowing hair.
Her prince (Simon Cornish) sang the only two serious songs in the show and his voice was remarkably strong and very pleasant to hear.
Martin O'Kelly played the Knight who was unsuccessful in waking the Princess.
Other members of the cast were Narrator (Joan Parkinson), Mother Primrose (Phyllis Brewster/Rie Gerstel), King (Nicholas Tufnell), Queen (Pru Harrold), Creatures of the night (Liz Dhillon, Hilary Binns, Heather Brett and Paula Fyfield), Courtiers (Hilary Binns, Therese Birtles, Michele Allen, Fiona Ross and Joe Lucas), Fairies (Heather Brett and Paula Fyfield), Heralds (Joanne Meek. and Nicola Williams).

The stage manager was Chris Ingleby. Chris, a member of the club, had not stage managed before and did a good job.
The scenery was devised and painted by Vicki Cook, Liz Dhillon, Pru Harrold, Caroline Lewcock, Fiona Ross and Joe Lucas.
Many hours of work had gone into the making of the costumes which added colour and glitter to the occasion. They had been devised and made by Marie Bryan, Mrs Cornish, Christine Leonard, Kay Pocock, Amy Smith and members of the cast.
The backstage helpers were David Bryan, Marie Bryan, George Fisher, Don Brewster, and Stan Sharp.
The Theatre Club has not staged "Sleeping Beauty" before and a large part of the show's huge success must be attributed to its producer, Dawn Lewcock. A very keen member of the club for some years she has only once before produced a pantomime – a shortened version of " Aladdin and his Lamp" – at Headley.


Index of productions