Drama Group Plays Its Part in Sequel; When a North East Drama Company Decided to Call It a Day, Opportunity Knocked for Others, as David Whetstone Explains

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 30, 2009 | Go to article overview

Drama Group Plays Its Part in Sequel; When a North East Drama Company Decided to Call It a Day, Opportunity Knocked for Others, as David Whetstone Explains


IT was with great sadness that the remaining members of Gosforth Theatre Company voted at their 2007 agm to disband, bringing the curtain down on 64 years of amateur drama.

But a phoenix has risen from the ashes - or, rather, a flock of them. For a host of other North East performance groups has benefited from the demise of the Gosforth company.

The sale of its headquarters generated pounds 150,000 which is being held in trust by the Community Foundation as the 43 Fund.

The first grants, totalling pounds 28,000, have just been distributed to 15 performance-related projects, including the junior drama group of Springwell Village Hall Association, Gateshead, members of whom are pictured here.

Barbara Panes, a committee member on the 43 Fund panel and an ex-member of Gosforth Theatre Company, said: "I'm thrilled that the legacy of Gosforth Theatre Company is able to continue through the 43 Fund at the Community Foundation.

"I don't know what we would have done without them. It's wonderful to see all of these amateur dramatics societies and community theatre groups developing with the help of the 43 Fund. Hopefully they will continue to do so." Barbara, who lives in Heaton, joined the Gosforth amateurs after arriving in the North East from Cambridge in 1987. Her first role was as the maid in a play about the Bronts.

For 20 years she was involved in the company with its busy annual programme of productions.

As with most amateur theatre companies, the Gosforth one benefited from the enthusiasm, energy and creativity of its members, many of whom devoted much of their leisure time to it.

The company began in 1943 when a group of friends began to meet in each other's homes to read plays, perhaps as a distraction from the Second World War. An amateur drama society was born and named Gosforth 43 Society. Its first public production was Other People's Houses, by Lynne Dexter, which was performed in September 1945 in Gosforth's Presbyterian Church Hall.

From 1950, productions were staged in the new Central Hall, built as Gosforth's war memorial.

The company's archive recalls that the high point was in the mid 1950s when it boasted nearly 200 members and a full social calendar with an annual dinner dance.

Productions included Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (1955) and Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage (1956), the latter the first UK amateur production of a Brecht play.

Permission to stage it was obtained from the playwright himself shortly before he died.

In 1962, suffering from a lack of space, the company purchased a clubhouse, in fact a large Edwardian semi, with a garden, at 44 Salter's Road, Gosforth.

As Barbara Panes recalls, the clubhouse was a great asset as a meeting place and for storing props and costumes. There was room for rehearsing and for the staging of experimental or in-house productions.

In 1974 the Central Hall was burned down and productions transferred to Gosforth Civic Hall.

The archive recalls various creative differences over the years as traditionalists battled with those who favoured more challenging shows.

In 1972, when a new producer was allowed to present his own adaptation of Cinderella, the committee were so appalled that they returned the ticket money and sent out letters of apology - whereon the producer and seven actors resigned.

While no member went on to fame and fortune on stage, one Mark Knopfler - later to become a famous musician - was cast in an Arthur Miller play, Ah Wilderness, in 1966. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Drama Group Plays Its Part in Sequel; When a North East Drama Company Decided to Call It a Day, Opportunity Knocked for Others, as David Whetstone Explains
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.