JEAN ASHWORTH Jean is a qualified teacher examiner and fellow with the ISTD – The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. Jean trained at The Marianne Jepson School of Dance as a child, becoming a teacher until the school closed. Jean was part of The Smart Set along with Frank Lee–White touring Europe and in the main, Turkey, entertaining American troops. They supported top artists in the mid to late 60’s at all the best venues around the UK. They were also in the semi-finals of ITV’s Opportunity Knocks, long before X Factor, In the 80s Jean was part of an influential team (The Boys Committee) who designed and formulated dance examinations for boys for the examining board. Creating a long term change in the way boy dancers were examined for future generations. Over the years Jean has played parts with many local societies and choreographed for Middleton, Dukinfield and many others. Jean joined Hyde Musical Society as a player/dancer/assistant choreographer with Marianne Jepson. She has been Hyde’s dance director for 48 years, winning many well deserved awards. A true professional, loyal and caring taskmaster Inspired by the greats such as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, Jean’s energy and enthusiasm is legendary. She doesn’t just choreograph, she inspires, as anyone who has fortunate enough to have worked with her will testify. 48 years is a long time and Hyde Musical Society is very proud of Jean Ashworth’s achievements and is thrilled that she is to be inducted into the ACT HALL of Fame.
MARTIN CHADWICK Becoming involved in amateur theatre can be addictive, it can take over all your spare time, and then that little bit extra. Amateur theatre has to be enjoyable otherwise I am sure we wouldn't still be doing it. Younger performers will often hear it said that things are not now as they used to be, where you would be a member of only one society, and you would learn your craft by starting out working backstage, watching, learning, working with experienced people. And so it was that the person to be inducted into the ACT Hall of Fame started out in amateur theatre by taking his first tentative steps on stage in a supporting role as the son in the play 'Every Other Evening' in 1973, as the other man in 'Dead on Nine', and as a servant in 'Birds on the Wing' in 1974 From there, as well as several small acting roles he became an A.S.M. and then in 1978 made his directorial debut with, 'The Dame of Sark'. Since, then he has embraced many different disciplines within theatre, Stage Management, Directing, acting, prompt, selling programmes, Front of House, programme designer, set design and construction and ticket and patrons' secretary. He has not confined his activities to one society but worked in, and directed, pantomimes, He is in fact, that all-rounder we so admire, He is supported in every way by his wife, who shares the love of theatre. So it is with great pleasure that ACT welcomes into the Hall of Fame, Martin Chadwick.
YVONNE CHESTERS ACT is very selective as to who it inducts into the 'Hall of Fame'. The person I am about to announce has brought glitter and creditability to our still fledgling but rapidly growing Association. We recognise someone who has a lifetimes dedication to the world of 'Dance' - well not quite a whole lifetime because we know they have more to add and it didn’t commence until the age of Two Years when they first learnt how to 'Step, Ball Change'. Since the age of two our inductee has never ceased to develop her own talent and pass this on to generations since. All of which has embraced both Amateur and Professional Theatre. This wonderful lady at the age of 4 was entertaining British and American Servicemen during the Second World War with 'Song and Dance'. Later she worked as a full time professional Singer and Dancer from the age of 12 making numerous appearances on both Radio and Television. Add to this from the age of 14 years she was teaching in her own Dance School at the same time as Directing both Professional and Amateur Theatre. And now with over 70 years dedication to LyceumTheatre and Directing numerous large scale Amateur and Professional productions and not forgetting the Thousands of Pounds raised for Charity - It is now my privilege to announce that ACT are proud to include in the Hall of Fame - Yvonne Chesters.
CAROLANNE CONNOLLY Visiting other society productions can be very rewarding for a myriad reasons. One gets to see emerging talent, consummate performances from superb actors, new plays, old plays and yes, some plays that should never have seen the light of day, let alone be lit up on stage. One visitor to very many societies, and beyond, in the north-west is to be inducted into the ACT Hall of Fame. A superb actor, a superb director, a wonderful advocate for the world of theatre, this recipient embraces all these qualities in abundance. I have seen the very first directorial production, "Stepping Out", with a largely inexperienced cast, being brought to vivid life on stage. I have seen chips cooked to order in Willy Russell's "Shirley Valentine", with this menu being served from Cheshire to Cumbria. She has played a Vicar's wife in "Entertaining Angels", written "Love Letters" over the years to a childhood friend, as well as plays and musicals directed over the many years I have known her. I am sure that there is no society in East Lancashire that has not had her in the audience to witness the plays and musical being performed on stage. And that is not all. When not actively involved in a production, she can be seen selling programmes or raffle tickets for the societies to which she belongs. Ladies and Gentleman, ACT is delighted to induct into the Hall of Fame, Carolanne Connolly.
CHRISTINE CROSBY This recipient joined her society in 1956 and although has never been on stage as a performer, has, over the years took every position in the society. She has been Chairman, Secretary, Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Ticket Secretary, front of house manager, and served on social committees. She has worked ceaselessly for her society and has assisted at all social events working tirelessly to help raise funds for the society. Her knowledge and expertise is invaluable. Still serving on the committee and is affectionately known as the “Oracle” because the society consult her constantly. Still attending every rehearsal and everyone is so pleased to see her. Tonight this individual receives her ACT 60 years’ service certificate and we, the members of ACTON AOS. feel that she should have further recognition for her huge contribution to community theatre and above all to her society. Ladies & Gentlemen, Act Hall of Fame goes to Christine Crosby
JOAN EDWARDS JOAN EDWARDS has worked tirelessly for her community all her life. She has been an active member of her church and supports charity and fundraising by donating, mending and reselling clothes for resale. These sewing skills have definitely been put to use within the performing arts as she has been responsible for making mending and doing costumes for Acton AOS and Crewe MTS for many years. In fact at last count she had done costumes for over 100 amateur productions. Despite being in her 70s, she has been nominated by Acton OS and accepted to be a torch bearer at next summers Olympics We are delighted to induct JOAN EDWARDS into the ACT Hall of Fame
BARBARA HERD Thank you to the members of Tempo. Not only are they performing Cats in 2018, but the particular song showcased at the Spotlight Awards ceremony in November, 2017, is a favourite of the company's president, Barbara Herd. Barbara started her amateur career on stage in Wilmslow in the 1950s and in 1953 played the Countess Maritza to her future husband’s butler. Barbara was well known as the “Principal Boy” in pantomimes presented by the Alderley and Wilmslow Amateur Operatic Society. And according to Tom Wildern, the amateur stage critic in the Manchester Evening News, “had the best legs on the amateur stage in the North of England!” They were shown off to the full advantage when she played Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Her last show with the Alderley and Wilmslow AOS was Ivor Novello’s Perchance to Dream in 1970. Barbara went on to help Paul Thompson set up a Junior Musical Comedy Society in 1983. Then the society became known as SCAMPS and only recently had to change its name to TEMPO. She has been involved ever since. Barbara has supported the group financially, supervised and advised them with her costume making skills. Without Barbara TEMPO would never have started, let alone be the successful group it is today. It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the Association of Community Theatre to induct Barbara Herd into the ACT Hall of Fame.
BRENDA HINDLE Brenda joined Ulverston in 1975 after being approached by a member of the Society to come along to help them raise some much needed funds. Finances were in a very poor state but as enthusiastic as always she vowed that the committee formed to raise funds, would raise the princely sum of £1,000 in the first six months. They did, and Ulverston Opera has never looked back. During her time with the society her enthusiasm and love for Ulverston Amateur Operatic Society has never waned. She has been a member of the committee for all those years except for one and has served as secretary for several years now, and had two spells as treasurer, and is currently treasurer. Having no desire ever to be on stage she has been invaluable both backstage and in the dressing rooms and has done make up, call, prompt, and tea girl. She has also organised, and at times made, costumes, compiled the programme, designed and build sets and dressed them, sorted and gathered props and even helped with the choreography. She is also ticket secretary and takes care of the stock control of ice cream which we sell all year round when stewarding at the Coronation Hall. We are very fortunate as this venture brings us in a steady income. She has directed eleven of our shows, the last one being Whistle Down the Wind and gets great satisfaction from working with the children in the society. She was also very much the driving force behind the society joining ACT. As we say no one is indispensable but Brenda could be the exception to the rule
HAZEL HODDER Hazel Hodder, a doyenne of community theatre began performing and dancing with Burnley Light Opera Society in her early teen on an annual basis eventually becoming the choreographer for this society for many years. She is now a life member of this group. In the 1970s she became disappointed that the town of Burnley no longer had any organisation performing the traditional family pantomime and it was from here a journey of almost 40 years began. Burnley Pantomime Society first production was Cinderella performed in a local church hall in front of audiences totalling a couple of hundred over a few performances. She made most of the costumes, family and friends created the sets and musical accompaniment. From those humble beginnings Burnley Pantomime Society become a very highly regarded organisation which now performs to well over 4000 children and adults every year producing pantomimes which their audiences say can rival any major professional pantomimes across the North West. Her creative ideas have ensured the society continues to go from strength to strength through her roles of choreographer, director, producer and more recently chair, she is responsible for an integral part of the Burnley amateur theatre movement.
PETER I'ANSON Peter I'Anson served his time as a financial accountant who worked in the cotton industry until ill health forced retirement in 1995. Since retirement he has used his skills and knowledge of figures to assist various local organisations with their finances, whether simply auditing their books, or acting as treasurer and bookkeeper. He always enjoys live theatre and has, as a patron, supported many amateur dramatic groups over many years, regularly attending performances across the area – especially The Garrick’s. When Burnley Garrick Club was in need of a new treasurer he was honoured to accept, after being assured that it was a small job that didn’t take much time. It didn’t take him long to transform the financial reporting of the Garrick, providing them with financial forecast for the first time, and guiding the committee when deciding on how best to use the money available during the season. The tight control of the money meant that future was becoming secure and all these years later there is still enough money for two more seasons! On the downside, the treasurer’s job was no longer small and took up more and more of his time. Failing health has meant he had to take the difficult decision to step down, but will be supporting the Garrick as a patron, and by offering advice when the committee ask.
DON JOHNSON The second nomination this year comes from Ulverston Operatic Society. Don Johnson joined Ulverston Operatic at the age of 26, after serving 5 years in the RAF. He auditioned to become a member of the chorus, remember those days? And was on stage for 56 years making a marked difference to the tenor line. His first show was A Country Girl and his last Guys and Dolls. Don had no aspirations to take leading roles but took small parts when asked for example the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof and Harbison in South Pacific. He has stood in on more than one occasion on opening night when someone fell ill. For the past 17 years Don has been Front of House Manager not only organising front of house for Ulverston but also organising a team of helpers at the local theatre, which generally results in some extra funds for Ulverston Operatic Society. Don has served on the committee for 50 years without a break and three years ago was made President of the society, a role he is very proud to hold. But as the nomination states ‘not as proud as they are to have him’ ACT is delighted to induct Don Johnson into the Hall of Fame
DAVID LEWIS What qualities do the ACT Board look for to justify induction to the 'Hall of Fame’? Is it wonderful lead roles in plays, musicals or pantomime, or dedicated committee work and backstage organisation, or maybe Inspired direction and possibly even promoting amateur and professional theatre? Commitment to any of these is to be applauded but this evening ACT recognises someone who has embraced all these qualities and yet some. Our inductee has directed a range of plays from classical theatre to farce, operettas, and musical theatre in all its widest genre not to mention the complexities of pantomime. Enough for anyone you may think, but add to that a much sought after leading principal of roles in operetta, musical theatre and dramas. Add to this a one-time wonderful editor, of a sadly missed magazine until the ACT publication magazine. We are talking of someone whose energy led to the founding of more than one (now much respected) societies in Northern Lancashire. When business commitments interrupted stage activities, the theatre was not forgotten and this doyen of Amateur Theatre moved to reviewing productions on Radio Lancashire which became a 'slot' eagerly looked forward to by the public. So! We have a gentleman who has served as Chairman of 'Ozzy Players', secretary and chairman of Hyndburn Bel Canto, and as a very much 'hands on' Secretary of 'The Garrick Club' in Burnley
KAY LILLEY Kay Lilley started her amateur theatre career as an adult dancer in 1953 with Oldham Amateurs, and was also a dancer for Ashton during 1958 to 1973. She was also the choreographer for Ashton as well as Trinity Methodist, Heywood Operatic Society, New Mills and North Manchester during the years 1960 to 1988, then Lydgate Music and Drama Society from 1992 to 1995. She also did a 10yrs stint as director and choreographer for Saddleworth Musical Society. Recent years have been spent choreographing musicals at Millgate theatre in Delph, Guide Bridge Theatre and Kirkholt Society in Rochdale. Kay has received many nominations and awards for her work. She was one of the founder members of Congress Players and is now the President of the Society. She is passionate about what Congress stands for and supports the society in every way she can. She has been quoted in saying “I have had over 37 years of sheer joy and hell (but all worth it) with Congress Players”. She has been a director, choreographer, wardrobe mistress, raffle and programme seller, even painted scenery and swept the stage – however would not change a thing. She says, "When I reflect back and see how much money Congress Players have raised for local charities across the North West it makes me feel very proud".
PETER MARSHALL I am sure that 64 years ago, when a young man first set foot on stage, he was bitten by the theatre bug as since that time, the person who is to be inducted into the ACT Hall of Fame, never thought that it would become a life time of a lot of pleasure, sometimes a little frustration, a great many highs and a few lows, but nevertheless, a thoroughly enjoyable journey. In the intervening years, he has played the ocarina in 'Call Me Madam', and been a dancer in shows ranging from "The Flower Drum Song", "The Student Prince", "The Desert Song", "Half a Sixpence", and one of the very first amateur presentations of "My Fair Lady". When he gave up being a dancer he went backstage and managed the societies props for shows such as "The Dancing Years" and "Pickwick", eventually taking over as Props Master and graduating to Assistant Stage Manager then Stage Manager.till the last performance in the sadly missed, Tameside Hippodrome. In 2009 he was appointed Chairman of his society, overseeing the move from Tameside Hippodrome to the society's current performing venue, The George Lawton Hall in Mossley. He relinquished the post of Chairman in 2013 and is currently its Technical back stage Co-ordinator. Ladies and Gentlemen, It gives me very great pleasure to induct into the ACT Hallof Fame, Peter Marshall
SHEILA MARSHALL Sheila first joined the Amateur movement in 1965 with Middleton Operatic Society helping backstage with their production of Annie Get Your Gun. She Joined Dukinfield AODS in 1966 helping backstage as a dresser for its production of The New Moon, and then became a member of the prop team from 1970 to 2012. She was elected to the Management Committee as Assistant Secretary in 1975, and is still a member of the committee. In 1979 she became part of the Ticket Booking team. She took on more responsibility over the next 4 years until, in 1983, she became sole Booking Secretary, only having assistance during the seat allocation period. Up to 2007 she had the responsibility of allocating up to 1,200 seats for each performance at Tameside Hippodrome. Since 2007, it is 360 per night at the George Lawton Hall. Her job also entails sending out over 600 booking forms. Sheila has been a Committee member for 39 years and a Booking secretary for 35 years. Sheila was also part of the Prop team for 42 years but after a rest for 2 years she re-joined the prop team this year. In 2010 she became a member of the social committee of which she is now Chairman. In her 49 years Sheila has been a Dresser/Property Assistant/ Management Committee Member/Booking Secretary/Social Committee Chairman and also helps with Get Ins and Get Outs.
GLYN NEARY We feel it is overdue to recognise the work this lover of the arts has achieved over 60 years. Always beavering away in the background, he has spent many a happy time “treading the boards”. Whether in the chorus or making scenery or enjoying a after rehearsal pint he is a friend to all. He worked for many years for an association looking after the performing arts as a regional representative reviewing shows, and finally becoming its area secretary. In later years he has chosen which theatrical interest to follow. He enjoys his membership of The Operetta Company and is a trustee, and a God for The Association of Community Theatre. It gives the ACT Board great pleasure to induct Glyn Neary into the ACT Hall of Fame and also award him with his 60 year certificate for services to community
LYNN PHILLIPS Ladies and Gentlemen we are here tonight to reward excellence in theatre. Have you asked yourselves how many people it takes to get you on stage? ACT recognises these people with the Out of the Spotlight Awards. To coordinate and have the final say there has to be Chairman to take the overall responsibility. Why? Well the buck has to stop somewhere. We are going to present the first of our ACT Hall of Fame of the evening to someone who has given 25 years' service for outstanding leadership as Chairman. After 8 years as Publicity Officer, the chair of Hyde Musical Society came free in 1992, and her Chairmanship started. That year ended with the society being awarded the local Reporter Award for its production of the musical, Guys and Dolls. The society has since gone on to win many awards. At the time of taking over as chairman, societies, in the main, presented operettas and the Rodgers and Hammerstein library. There were very few “modern” type shows. Lynn had the foresight to get the society to look at less main stream shows such as Follies and La Cage Aux Folles. This was a very brave move at the time. The society under her leadership and the high standard always achieved has secured Hyde Musical Society’s future. Lynn is known for her “can do” approach. She has always said that if you cut her in half H.M.S. will be seen running through her like a stick of rock. On her 25th anniversary the society brought her sticks of rock with Hyde MS running right through. Sadly, we do not have the time to recall her many achievements but it is time to say thank you Lynn. On behalf of The Association of Community Theatre, and Hyde Musical Society, for your dedication, service and your outstanding leadership A.C.T is delighted to welcome you into the Hall of Fame.
FRED PLANT Fred has had continual involvement with amateur theatre since he joined Bloon Street (CWS) Players in 1951. From 1954 to 1957 he spent his time playing in his regimental drama and concert group including the regimental band. Then in 1957 Fred joined Prestwich Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society PADOS. Besides other casual involvement with other society’s such as Whitefield AO&DS, Bury Athenaeum OS, and the Heys Revue Company to name but a few. He remains to this day an active member Of PADOS. Fred has received critical acclaim for many of his character portrayals and has played in many dramas and one-act plays. For a total of 26 years Fred was PADOS General Secretary and for a total of 50 years served on the Committee. In 2006 he was elected President of Prestwich AD&OS It is hard to believe he found time for administrative offices with The Greater Manchester Drama Federation, and others. All these achievements were possible due to the support of his wife Jean Fred’s vast experience it being called upon in his capacity as one of the Gods for ACT It gives me great pleasure to welcome Fred into the ACT Hall of Fame
ANTHONY RILEY Anthony Riley's involvement in amateur theatre began at the age of just 7, when his parents became founder members of Alderley and Wilmslow Amateur Operatic Society. At the age of 10, he made his stage debut in A Christmas Carol - as Young Scrooge, a role his daughters believe he was born to play. It wasn't long before he decided being in the limelight wasn't for him and he has spent the rest of his theatrical career behind the scenes. Within Alderley and Wilmslow, he was part of the props team with Ann and Tony Hallworth, and Sue, who was later to become his wife. He has fond memories of making trick props for pantomimes, inventive use of trapdoors and transporting Cinderella's coach through Wilmslow in the dead of night. He was also part of the publicity team at the same time. In 1960 he met his future wife Sue, when she joined the society. He became Alderley and Wilmslow's Stage Manager in his twenties and held the post for over 30 years and then retiring as Stage Manager to becoming the Society's Secretary. He become Alderley and Wilmslow's President 10 years ago and is delighted to continue his involvement with the society with which his family has been so involved. SUE RILEY Sue Riley joined Alderley and Wilmslow at the age of 16 has spent her entire career backstage. For a number of years she worked in, and then ran, the Props team. Animals often become the responsibility of the Props team and she has less than fond memories of trying to convince a donkey it wanted to go on stage for The Desert
Song. How successful she was is lost in the midst of time, though she did receive a badly damaged thumb from the horse box that was the donkey's dressing room. She later became the Ticket Secretary and moved front of house, where she has remained ever since. In 1993 she became the Chairman of the Society, a post she held for nine years. During her years as Chairman she had to negotiate with a belligerent band, who removed the piano hammers from the piano of a non-union pianist - on the opening night of a production. She pushed the company to perform one of the earliest amateur versions of Chicago in the North West - together with use of the f-word in the opening scene. Very racy for Wilmslow in the '90s. Alongside her role as Chairman, she has also been House Manager for the main productions For the last few years, Sue has taken more of a backseat but continues to house manage for each November production. Alderley and Wilmslow has been a major part of Anthony and Sue's life and ACT is honoured to induct Sue and Anthony into the Hall of Fame,
DOROTHY SPENCER This year Burnley Garrick has nominated Dorothy Spencer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame Dorothy, together with her late husband, Clifford has served the Garrick Theatre Club for over 60 years as director, actress, committee member, social secretary, as well as a host of other duties over the years. She was to have directed this years production of Calendar Girls but due to the failing health of Clifford had to relinquish the role. Sadly Clifford died at the beginning of August so was unable to take part in Dorothy and Cliffords Diamond Jubilee celebrations with the Garrick. Celebrations will still go ahead in memory of Clifford. Together Dorothy and Clifford were immensely proud of the Garrick and the achievements of the society over the years. Clifford was president of Burnley Garrick and it is with great pleasure that the Garrick have asked Dorothy to take over the reins and accept the nomination of President for Burnley Garrick. Not only is Dorothy a talented director and actress she is also a lovely person and it is with great pleasure that ACT is inducting Dorothy Spencer into the ACT Hall of Fame
BRIAN THORPE BRIAN THORPE has been involved in the Performing Arts for over 50 years and will be familiar to many of you in the North West, not as a performer but as a chairman, representative and an all round character within the performing arts. He acted as Vice Chair, Chairman and President of Salford Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Association, where he met his wife Anne. He spent many years serving the National Operatic and Dramatic Association as a Regional Representative, North West Regional Councillor and being made National President in 1997. More latterly he has accepted a role as an ACT god and become a very vocal and active member of the Management Board ACT has great pleasure in inducting BRIAN THORPE into the ACT Hall of Fame
KEN WEBB KEN WEBB was born from a family of Salvationists and as a result of this his future was destined to be as part of, not only the Salvation Army Band but also the Knutsford Band and The Royal Doulton Band. In 1958 he joined Knutsford Operatic Society as Musical Director. From there he took all committee positions in the society, back stage and front of house to eventually becoming the Chairman. In 1982 he was voted in as Regional Representative for NODA and after many years as a rep became North West Area Councillor. He was no doubt overlooked for National President and retired from his duties a couple of years ago. We are delighted that he forms part of the ACT Gods and for his 53 years service to the arts were delighted to induct KEN WEBB into the ACT Hall of Fame
DOREEN JOHNSON This dedicated thespian was born in the North East and moved to Lancashire as a young girl. She soon became interested in theatre and on her return from university started acting with amateur drama groups. This was where she met her husband, who, I have it on good authority, was an excellent actor. Their home was the hub of literature and music. As the only female teacher, firstly in a boy’s school, and secondly in a girl’s school, she started drama clubs. Her fellow teachers were also encouraged to take part in festivals along with the students, winning numerous awards over the years. Some students from this time went on into the professional theatre. Tracie Bennett and playwright, Julie McKiernan, say they owe their decision to work in the Arts to her influence. With an interest in all aspects of theatre, in the 1960s she joined St Joseph’s Players and soon took over directing, and also writing and directing the annual pantomime which attracted audiences of 2,000 every year. Doreen deserves to be singled out for her love of, dedication to, and remarkable work done, in local community theatre. It gives me great pleasure on behalf of The Association of Community Theatre to inaugurate Doreen Johnson into the ACT Hall of Fame.
KEN HINDLE This induction into the ACT Hall of Fame goes to an individual who first appeared on stage in 1981, and from then on was hooked. Playing Dame for Ulverston Pantomime Society for twenty plus years he appeared in his first musical, Jesus Christ Superstar in 1983. He has appeared in one-act and three-act plays for about 10 years as well as designing and building sets for several of them. He has served on Ulverston Amateurs Committee since 1987 and has been an active fund raiser procuring several grants to help productions and to benefit the Community Theatre in Ulverston. He was always finding time to play cameo roles and is a dedication chorus member. He is also show set co-ordinator and has over the years designed sets and built them, some in his front room. He constructed a 12ft Noah's Ark in his dining room and built a two-storey set for Goodnight Mr Tom which had to be dismantled each day to allow his hotel diners to eat breakfast. Most people sightsee on holiday but not Ken. He likes to seek out the unusual or hard to get items to bring home for sets and props. In 1999 he was elected Chair and has helped guide the society into the 21st Century. In 2018 he became a life member of Ulverston Amateurs and deemed it a great honour to be asked. Since its inauguration he has been a member of ACT and attended every Members’ Day meeting and several of the Awards nights. So keen is he that he talked his wife into changing their Winter Holidays from November to December to enable them to attend Party Nights to support his society and the event. Ken is now a trustee bringing his wealth of experience helping to guide the Association forward. Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome on stage Ken Hindle.
MARY and NEVILLE MADEN This induction is for a partnership, not only in marriage, but also in their joint love and support for the amateur theatre movement, and that couple is Mary and Neville Maden. Mary and Neville are a true partnership both in life, and as members of Ashton Operatic Society. Neville came to the society in the 1960s, playing a number of supporting roles before graduating to be leading man. During this time Mary joined the society, though she had been dancing, tap and ballet, from the age of three and joining Bridge Street Methodist society and performing in their shows previously. As one can guess, Mary joined Ashton's dancers and chorus. The life partnership ensued with their marriage. A newspaper report at the time had the headline "A Bride for 7 Brothers", a reference to Neville's numerous siblings, however, Mary only married Neville - just to make that clear. Mary was one of the first female members on Ashton's Management Committee, as it had been regarded previously an ALL male affair. In the 1990s she was elected Society Chairman. Her leadership brought new ideas and her enthusiasm was an inspiration. This was evident in the society's centenary celebrations in 1999. Neville has had many leading roles for Ashton and many other societies in the area. One of his most memorable was when he played Hajj in Kismet. Neville's favourite show, however, is "Man of La Mancha" - topic that can't shut him up when he has the opportunity to talk about it. Whilst playing all these parts Mary was an able helper and supporter with private rehearsals at their home. The partnership continues to this day with Neville as President and Mary as Chairman, a title she insists on retaining.