WELCOME TO THE HISTORY OF WARKWORTH DRAMA GROUP
Warkworth Drama Group was started in 1974 as a result of a mission organised by the then Vicar, Rev Stephen Huxley and Parochial Church Council.
Parents were concerned that there were no village activities which included teenagers and were worried by their alienation from village society.
Joan Hellawell volunteered to set up a drama group which would bring together the whole
community regardless of age, gender or social status. Preliminary meetings were held, a constitution drawn up and the group was soon in business.
Their first venture was a concert on the theme of “Love” held on Valentine’s Day 1975.
The programme included The Allotment Holders Sextet and the Ember Singers, which later
developed into the Village Choir, directed by the late Norman Henderson. The teenagers chose to perform the Mechanic’s Play from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, as well as performing several musical items.
The group’s next performance was the famous morality play “Everyman” produced by Joan Hellawell and with a cast of teenagers and adults.
We continued to present revues and one-act plays in the village hall and in 1976 staged a son-et-lumiere in St Lawrence’s church; this was written by a member of the group, the late John Browne.
It was following this production that we decided to use our superb village “theatre”, Warkworth Castle, to stage some sort of historical pageant.
Again meetings were held, local people offered their expertise and we discovered that within the community were a mediaeval historian, a television costume designer and an experienced and accomplished wardrobe mistress.
Many others offered their skills and services and and the first of our Warkworth Pageants was produced in August 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. (We discovered later that there had been Pageants in 1928 and 1935. See picture below.)
The group gained in experience and went from strength to strength, continuing to produce plays and revues in the hall, as well as having one other major production annually.
As well as the now well-established triennial pageant and annual pantomime other notable
productions have included:
Murder in the Cathedral - producer Joan Hellawell
Joseph and his Techni-coloured Dreamcoat, (with a cast of young people) - producer Norman Bewick
An Inspector Calls - producer Doreen Forsyth
Habeas Corpus - producer Chris Penter
Lady Windermere’s Fan producer - Joan Hellawell
Plaza Suite - producer Bill Donald
Private Lives - producer Ralph and Marjorie Firth
Man for All Seasons - producer Joan Hellawell
The group has also staged many rip-roaring comedies and children’s revues, (the latter usually produced by Pat Nickalls).
Support for the Drama Group has been excellent through the years and proves that live
performance is still greatly appreciated, at least in Warkworth!