SHEILA SMITH 1929 – 2015 (Past President Prestwich ADOS) Members of PADOS were saddened to learn of the passing of Sheila Smith who joined the Society in 1944 and remained a loyal ‘one society’ person until her recent demise. Sheila became a member during the latter years of the war, no doubt with the encouragement of her mother, Evelyn Briggs who was a founder member of the Society. Sheila’s father, Harold Briggs, at the time was the Secretary of PADOS and had maintained an active society throughout the hostilities managing to stage dramatic productions using ladies in male roles due to absence of male members due to active service. Sheila appeared in numerous plays and musicals in these early years of the society. Together with her husband Colin they produced programmes for many years seeking advertising and making this a profitable activity for the Society. Nearly forty years ago the Society obtained a lease on the former library in Prestwich and Sheila was from then on a member of what we know as the House Committee. Initially the venue was a rehearsal venue only but Sheila was greatly involved in the transformation to a Studio Theatre as we know it today and for bar management. Sheila proudly wore her medal signifying over 70 years service to Amateur Theatre and was honoured with Life Membership and the Presidency of the Society in 2001. She will be greatly missed by all members of PADOS and especially by her much loved husband, Colin and her daughters Janet and Kay. Fred Plant - Hon Chairman & Archivist - PADOS
Barry Swithenbank It is with deep sorrow that Altrincham Little Theatre has to announce the death of Barry Swithenbank its Stage Director. Barry was responsible for designing and lighting spectacular sets for its plays, which regularly drew gasps of delight from our audiences, followed by a spontaneous round of applause. His technical knowledge was second to none and many is the time he has managed to solve an apparently insurmountable problem. He was always generous with his help and advice and there will be many in the area who have learned much from him. He will be very sadly missed and our thoughts go out to Val and his family.
Bill Owen Bill Owen joined Dukinfield Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society in 1957 His piano skills had been recognised by Charlie Hadfield, the Society’s early make-up artist and Bill was appointed rehearsal pianist but soon became one of the dancers when the Society was short of men. From then on he was involved with all the productions either on stage or behind the scenes. Between 1931 and 2013, he served on the Society’s Management Committee, being joint programme co-ordinator from 1992 overseeing the compilation and printing of the programmes for the shows. Bill was a song and dance man specialising in comedy, starting in minor principal roles but was soon playing leading roles with Dukinfield and other local societies including Ashton O.S., Hyde Musical Society, New Mills A.O.D.S. and Romiley O.S. Two roles he enjoyed in the early years were Kipps in Half-a-Sixpence in 1974 and Denry Machin in one of the first amateur productions of The Card in 1975. In 1985 he played Chesney Allen in Underneath the Arches - all three with Hyde Musical Society. Later favourites were The Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooge - The Musical and Chitterlow in Half-a-Sixpence, both with Dukinfield. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Bill was a member of the Harry Slater Concert Party performing at charitable events. In 1996, he led the Hyde Musical Society team in the BBC Radio 2 quiz series — ‘Mad about Musicals’. They reached the final, losing by just one point in a tie-break. In recent years, he enjoyed making people laugh in the comedies written by Sylvia Walker at Hyde Festival Theatre. Bill held the NODA gold medal and bar for fifty-five years service to the amateur stage and, although a Compositor by trade, he was also a character performer with Granada Studios Tour from 1989 until its closure in 2000.
Betty Bennett Betty Bennett - was first associated with Dukinfield A.O.D.S. in 1970 as a bar-stewardess when the society ran the bar during show-week at the then AFC, Ashton. She went on to become a very active member of the Social Committee from 1975, regularly holding fundraising events at her home and working on the front-of- house team until her retirement in 2011. Barbara Goddard Barbara Goddard - like Betty first joined Dukinfield as a bar-stewardess in 1972. She too went on to join the Social Committee as Secretary from 1975 until 1981 and was also an enthusiastic number of the front-of-house team until 2004. David Baxter 1936 -2014 It was with great sadness that Burnley Garrick Club learned of the death of its Vice-Chairman, David Baxter. David was a very active vicechairman and a major influence in the Garrick and was always there to help or to use his common sense to simplify what could be thought was a problem. Always the gentleman, David could be relied upon to keep the feet of Garrick personnel firmly on the ground. Many of you will only know David for his Front of House duties but he was a major influence in steering the Garrick on a firm path towards the future. We shall miss him. Our condolences to Pam and the family.
Peter Ball (1947 - 2014) It is with great sadness that Altrincham Little Theatre, formerly Club Theatre, has to announce that its Treasurer, Peter Ball, died last week. Peter loved Club Theatre, taking part in all aspects of its work. From when he joined in the early 1970s, everyone will remember him for his kindness and humour. He became Secretary of the theatre in 1989 and then took over as Chairman when David Lane, the then Chairman, died in 1991. He steered the theatre forward, organising the centenary celebrations in 1996. Pressure of work forced him to relinquish the post of Chairman in 1998, but he still remained active, becoming one of the Trustees. He became Treasurer in May 2009 and started working on computerising the theatre accounts, which he looked after until his death. He appeared on the stage in several productions over the years including “The Ghost Train”, “Saturday Night at the Crown”, “The Lion in Winter” and “Funny Money”. The theatre will miss a true supporter and enthusiast. Our sincere sympathy goes out to his wife, Jennifer, and his two children, Gina and Mike.
Pat Mikosz 1931 - 2014 There was a strange but lovely gesture from a friend and fellow Thespian, Pat Mikosz of Flookburgh For her funeral service Pat had requested that, instead of the usual church music whilst waiting for her coffin to arrive in Church, show songs should be played. She had also requested that, if the congregation felt like singing along, tapping their feet or dancing in the aisles, then to do so. We thought that one of her favourite shows must have been Fiddler On the Roof as the whole score was played before, during and after the service and, on the strength of that music, we sold tickets for our performance of Fiddler on the Roof in September. It was a great send off for a highly respected and well liked person. Her gesture gave us a lot of free publicity. ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business ‘was the final tune as the congregation followed her to the churchyard. She’s probably up with the angels forming yet another musical society .
Bill Springthorpe 1938 - 2014 Bill was a very loyal dedicated member of UAOS both on and off stage. He had a lovely baritone singing voice and from his first appearance for Ulverston in White Horse Inn in 1973 graced many a production during his 41 years with the Society. He also loved Gilbert and Sullivan and performed with Barrow Savoyards on many occasions. He shared his passion for musical theatre with his wife of 52 years, Barbara. Some of the roles he played over the years were Og in Finian’s Rainbow, Abernathy in Guys and Dolls, Dr Falke in Die Fledermaus, Dindon in La Cage aux Folles but the part he made his own was Alfred P Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Barbara and Bill had done everything together since meeting in the Youth Club of the Methodist Church in Newport, which was their home town. Bill had many varied hobbies and was actively involved with many worthwhile organisations such as the RNLI and the Prostate Cancer Group as well as being Secretary of the Ulverston Methodist Church. He was an avid sailor and past Commodore of Coniston Sailing Club, in fact only weeks before his untimely death he was preparing his cruiser for another season on the water. He did so much for others and was a lovely man, loved by all whose paths he crossed. Although fighting off the effects of his prostate problems he appeared as the Minister in our production, Whistle Down the Wind last September. His last performance came at his Celebration of Life which was a colourful affair attended by over 300 people when a DVD was shown of him performing one of his favourite G & S pieces as the Sentry in Iolanthe, ‘When All Night Long’ As the red velvet curtain closed at the Crematorium Bill received his last standing ovation. Bill as Sergeant Meryll in Yeomen of the Guard for Barrow Savoyards in 2004
BARBARAMITCHELL-DAVIDSON 26th February 1944 - 9th August 2013 Members of Prestwich AD & OS heard the very sad news in August of the passing of their dear and loved friend Barbara Mitchell-Davidson (more affectionately known as just ‘BMD’) after a very short but bravely endured illness. BMD (or even Babs) joined PADOS in 1974 for the production of Half a Sixpence and was rarely missing from successive productions. She was also a wonderful character actress in plays and pantomimes. It is fitting that in May of this year she was awarded the ‘In House’ Best Actress Trophy for her role in Calendar Girls at the Society’s Annual Awards Dinner which she sadly was not able to attend due to her early signs of illness, although this was unknown to her many devoted friends. She was noted for her outrageous costumes in pantomimes, which she very often created herself and maintained a secret until Costume Parade. This was typical; of ‘Our Babs’ who never shunned the unglamorous roles which sometimes belied her exceptional acting ability. The Society recognised BMD for her administrative work as the Society’s only Membership Secretary since the office was created in the 1970s. With her dogged work in ensuring the collection of membership subscriptions, it is doubtful anyone else could have extracted payment with so much humour. She was also a member, and at times, Chairman of the Ladies Committee and under her guidance they annually subsidised growing financial commitments. For these and much more work for PADOS, she was elected a Life Member of the Society. She was also a Life Member and Past President of our close neighbours, Whitefield AODS. Sadly the writer believes she is one of the last of the breed that believes that ‘Service Off-Stage is as important as that On-Stage – perhaps more so’. She will be hugely missed at PADOS and our sympathy is extended to her daughter and grand-daughters as well as her sister. Fred E Plant (PADOS Archivist)
LYNDA BURTON 1944 – 2013. The members of Prestwich ADOS, and many others involved in Amateur Theatre in the North West, were sad to hear of the passing of Lynda Burton on 16th April 2013 following a five year debilitating illness which commenced within weeks of her final spectacular performance as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Lynda joined PADOS in 1971 to sell programmes but her vast and varied talents as a Dancer, Actor, Director and Choreographer were soon recognised by the Society. It is hard to believe the tremendous input she devoted to the Society. Following her graduation to principal roles in The Boy Friend and Half a Sixpence she went on to choreograph and/or direct more than 30 major productions for the adult section of the society. Perhaps most memorable were her award winning presentations of Oklahoma!, Sweet Charity, Fiddler on the Roof and Mack and Mabel. Lynda did not restrict herself to musicals but was an imaginative director of plays. Her production of Lion in Winter is still remembered fondly by members and patrons alike. Enough for one woman some may think but Lynda found the time and energy to reform the Society’s Youth Group and a younger Junior Group leading them to much critical acclaim and regular award winners with major productions of musicals and plays. Administration was something she also excelled in and took on the reigns of the society as Chairman for several years. She even found time to serve on the Board of the GMDF. Fred Plant (PADOS Archivist)
Mary Tristram Kershaw née Jenkins Mary was born on 20th February 1943 in the club house of Lyndrick Golf Club near Worksop on the border of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire Mary insisted she was Yorkshire. From an early age the world of the theatre and dance in particular were a huge part of her life, as she studied ballet and tap as a child, in her early teens winning the All England Championships in Sheffield. Mary was Head Girl at her senior school, Dinnington Technical School On the 22nd August 1959 Mary was the bridesmaid at her elder brother’s wedding where she met the bride’s cousin, one of the ushers, a boy called Graham. It must have been “Bingo” because they married 5 years to the day later. On 29 August 1964 Graham married “the love of his life” On leaving school, Mary thought of joining the Air Force but decided that she should become a teacher and studied at Didbury Training College. After qualifying she taught for many years until the children came along, Catherine in 1966, Jonathan in 1968, Robert in 1970, and Louise in 1972. Mary then set up and ran a play group in her spare time. Mary and Graham set up home in Royton, at first in a caravan until their house was ready, then moving to the family home in Whitworth. Mary joined Whitworth Musical and Dramatic Society in 1965 playing in the chorus and later, major roles including Ado Annie twice, Dolly Levy, Susan in Desert Song, Bloody Mary in South Pacific. Mary and her great pal, Ann Kerry, started Junior Associates of Whitworth Society. Their very successful first show Wizard of Oz, was featured on BBC Children’s Television. They ran JAWS for 10 years, JAWS is still running today. In more recent times, as well as looking after her grandchildren for the past 18 years, and working in the family business, Prosceneium, Mary found time to sing with the local choir Descant and be chair of the church social committee, and raise thousands of pounds for cancer charities from sponsored walks. Mary and Graham moved to the dream home they loved, in Denholm, 8 years ago, their 11th home. Mary loved Graham, her children and grandchildren, butterflies and rainbows. We are sure Mary has now found her crock of gold at the end of her rainbow.
HARRY JONES J.P. It was with great sadness we were notified of the sudden death of Harry Jones JP. Harry was known to many people in the theatre world in and around the North West, and beyond. He started as a chorus member in Half a Sixpence and took various parts at many local societies, including his magnum opus as the Star Keeper in Carousel for a few local societies. Alongside this Harry was also very proactive and supportive to many committees including the dramatic society Cosmopolitans, Worsley Intimate Theatre and Salford Musical Theatre Society or Salford Amateur Operatic Society as they were then known. He also served as Treasurer to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, N.W Area for many years which included running his celebrated London Theatre trips allowing many of us North Westerners access to the new shows of the time. Over the past few years he was very heavily associated with the Manchester Musical Awards, to that end he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the most recent Awards. Harry and his partner, Mike have supported ACT since the start in February 2010 as Duet Members, and as guests at the Launch and Awards Night. He was a great friend to many of the Board members and will be greatly missed. Brian Thorpe
Paul Mosley We are very sad to announce that our chairman and founder member of G.O.D.S. (Glossop Operatic & Dramatic Society), Paul Mosley, has passed away, after a relatively short illness, born with great courage. Paul was a founder member of the society and was for many years the chairman and has held position of S.M. for many a top show and on several occasions M.D. He was respected by many local societies and G.O.D.S. is very proud to have had a long association with such a respected individual. Paul will be greatly missed by the society for his leadership, enthusiasm, energy and musical talents. Our thoughts are with his wife Jean and their family at this sad time.
COLIN SMITH I am extremely sad to have to report to members that Colin Smith – an Honorary Life Member and was one of the very few of the existing members who were members when I joined PADOS 60 years ago. He no doubt joined because his dear wife – Sheila was a member (also an Hon Life Member and Past President of PADOS). He never actually faced an audience on stage but devoted considerable time to activity both in the workshop building scenery and props and then in the wings shifting flats and furniture. When the Society had its home at The Victoria Theatre he would be found in the Fly tower (50 feet above the stage) along with his jovial pals physically hoisting backcloths and flats even ‘Frenchmen’. (How many members know what they are these days?). * His final ‘hands on’ activity for PADOS was as House Manager for the productions staged at PADOS House – always immaculately formally dressed in dinner suit, starched white shirt, black bow tie and with a cheery welcome to our patrons. Some years ago his health deteriorated and resulted in a leg amputation which resulted in him having to hand over House Manager duties to David Belton. However, despite his poor health he continued to support Sheila especially during her term as Hon President and up to the time of her untimely passing. * A scenic flat which is flown into position, usually with French braces. Consists of a number of flats fixed together with battens.
Mary Parker Mary’s childhood she said “was filled with music and drama, piano lessons, choirs and visits to the theatre”. Her singing career really took off at sixteen after her debut as Elise Maynard in “The Yeoman of the Guard” with a local G&S Society. In 1055, Mary was accepted at London University on a pilot scheme, specialising in music with a final year at the Royal College of Music. Here she met aspiring composers, sang jazz, learned to extemporise and study opera. Mary also had the enormous privilege of being accompanied in two solos by Sir Benjamin Britten. On returning home, she continued her studies with Elise Thornton at the Manchester College of Music. Mary then auditioned successfully for Sadler’s Wells Opera Company but circumstances prevented her from following a professional career. The professional stages loss was the amateur stage gain. Mary played over 30 principal roles and many other parts from Sigmund Romberg to Steven Sondheim with Dukinfield AODS, Hyde Musical Theatre but principally with Stockport AOS, New Mills AODS and the North Cheshire AODS. Her favourite roles include Julie Jordan (Carousel), Anna (The King & I), Rosabella (Most Happy Fella), Guinevere (Camelot), Lalume (Kismet), Anna (The Merry Widow) and all the Novellos. After retiring from the stage in 1981 Mary spent 11 years as a region rep for NODA North West, Mary was consulted about the development of a new performing arts association. She agreed with the concept and aims of ACT and wanted to be involved. Unfortunately ill health intervened restricting her involvement. Mary’s last role with the amateur theatre movement was as President of Stockport AOS.
WELL-KNOWN former councillor Anthony (Tony) Adler has died at the age of 81. The retired solicitor also served as an Oldham Liberal councillor during the 1960s and 1970s. He was first elected for Mumps ward in 1966, aged 31, and again in 1969. He stood down in 1972 claiming he could do more good for local people as a voluntary worker than as a councillor. In 1969 Mr Adler, whose family home was in Werneth Hall Road, famously held his ward seat at the local elections by a single vote. He was appointed chairman of Oldham Liberal Party in 1968. He was also Oldham Council’s first-ever chairman for community relations. In 1981 Mr Adler became chairman of Oldham Amateurs, at the time the town’s senior amateur theatre company after being involved with the group for 28 years. He later became a regional representative for Amateur Theatre representing Oldham and surrounding area for over 30 years. Always the voice of reason, Tony could always be relied upon to give the soundest advice. Mr Adler was also Oldham’s District Health Authority chairman for over six years — ending in March, 1986. He died on November 15 at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. He was the son of the late Dr Samuel Adler and the late Mrs Amelia Adler and brother to the late Mrs Joan Silverson and Miss Peggy Adler. Richard Knowles said: “He was the Liberal’s chairman when I came to Oldham in 1972. I knew him very well and I’m very sad to hear he has passed away. He was a very genuine sort of guy, very community-minded and generous with his time.” Tony Adler
DON JOHNSON 1922 – 2016 Don had been a member of Ulverston Amateurs for 70 years. He had one of those rare voices in amateur theatre, that of a true tenor. He performed in every show from 1947 taking minor leading roles in the early days until he decided to bow out from the stage in 2003 after performing in Guys and Dolls. His enthusiasm and love of the society remained as true as ever. He became our house manager carrying out his duties admirably and with the same dedication and verve for 20 years. He was truly honoured when he became the society President seldom missing either rehearsals or Committee meetings and taking great interest and pleasure from them. In fact, he had served on the committee without a break for over 50 years. To our great sadness and irreplaceable sense of loss Don passed away peacefully in April 2016 aged 94 but not before he had arranged his funeral service with his daughter, Helen. We always thought Don would be around and with us forever. It seemed fitting that he requested the Society to sing songs from Les Misérables, one of his favourite modern musicals at his funeral. We were very privileged to be asked and some forty plus members joined with his many friends to say goodbye in the appropriate manner, singing our hearts out for a wonderful President and real gentleman who had served Ulverston Amateurs and the amateur theatre in general so long and so well.
Pat Jewell (1928 - 2017) Some 65 years ago Pat joined Ulverston Amateurs and remained a true and loyal member. She joined the society as a chorus member and then became one of the dancers. Pat was secretary for many years and served under several chairmen until modern technology got the better of her. Pat continued to serve on the committee up to the time of her death giving of her expertise and experience. She helped the Front of House with husband, Les, for several years and continued selling raffles and programmes up until her last show with us which was The Wizard of Oz. How proud she was of her daughter, Sue, who played the wicked Witch in that production and of her son in law, Bill, who played a Winkie. Her health unfortunately deteriorated but after her pacemaker was fitted she seemed to get a new lease of life. She once again attended rehearsals and even took part in the inter society quiz. Pat was taken back into hospital in July where she passed away peacefully. This marks the end of an era for UAOS. Pat will be sorely missed.
Dennis W. Carter The members of Romiley Operatic Society were saddened to learn of the death of their good Friend, Dennis Carter, following a long battle with cancer. Dennis was a longstanding member of the ROS Management Committee and was well known to members and audiences alike for his work front of House during every show week welcoming patrons to each performance. Over the years Dennis had carried out positions of Ticket Secretary and Membership Secretary, with the meticulous enthusiasm that Dennis brought to every task that he carried out for the Society. He was always keen to promote amateur theatre, being an Individual Member of ACT and NODA, ACT awarded Dennis with an “Out of the Spotlight” award for “Excellence in Customer Service (Front of House). Dennis attended many award ceremonies, dinners and conferences, accompanying his wife Denise. A part of his commitment to local amateur theatre, he took an active part in the organising committee of Showcase, the fundraising group of local musical societies who annually present an evening of entertainment. This annual event has raised thousands of pounds for local charities.
David Parkes 1933 - 2018 David joined Davenham Church Players, Nantwich when age 20 years old and where he met his wife Elva. They were married in 1957 and went on to have a son and daughter. He enjoyed drama and comedy at Davenham, Acton Bridge and the Circle Players of Timperley. David’s first musical was “The Quaker Girl” with Winnington A.O.S. where he played Tony Chute, the leading man. He performed with Mid Cheshire M.T. taking several leading roles in “White Horse Inn”, “Show Boat”, various Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, etc. David’s work took him to Manchester in 1961 which gave him the opportunity to perform with North Cheshire A.O.S. and the Manchester Palace Theatre, also South Manchester A.O.S., Cheshire A.O.S. , Northeneden A.O.S., Salford A.O.S. and Knutsford A.O.S. He also enjoyed playing Dame in Frodsham pantomimes, and wrote and produced pantomimes for Mid-Cheshire M.T. David was the president of Mid-Cheshire M.T. He was also the Noda representative for region 8 for several years.
David Garner - 2018 It is with deep sadness and shock that we have to report the sudden death of David Garner. David was a well-known local amateur actor who performed with several local drama groups. He appeared in many plays at Altrincham Little Theatre and in fact was in the cast of Fondly Remembered, our opening play of this season, when he collapsed in the dressing room during the interval of the play on its first night. He died peacefully yesterday afternoon with his family round him. Remaining performances of the play have been cancelled. David was a delight to know. Friendly, funny, an excellent actor in whatever part he played, and when he was not on stage he could be found, immaculate in dinner jacket and black tie, selling programmes and serving coffees to members of our audiences. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and we send our love and condolences to his family and friends, who were numerous.
William Driver (Bill) (1935 - 2018) Bill was born on the 21st November 1935 in Clitheroe to Elsie and Thomas Driver. He has one brother, Roy, and now a sister-in-law, Carol. Bill was brought up and educated in Ribblesdale attending local schools. He was 5 years old when his father left for the war. His father was a P.O.W. And Bill was 10 before his father came home. He left school when he was 15 years old and, served his time as a painter and decorator. He had three jobs in his life time, painter and decorator, then; Atkinsons as a sprayer and then, tanker driver for Ribblesdale Cement. Bill was a good footballer in his younger day and played for the amateur league for Chatburn and Ribblesdale Cement, When Bill was 21 he joined the army doing 2 years national service as a cook. When he came home he met and married Jennifer. Bill was a private man and he and Jennifer kept themselves to themselves but sadly Jennifer passed away in 1988. Bill was a quiet man until- one got to know him. He was a golfer at Stoneyhurst and joined Ribblesdale Bowling Club and played for the club in the league games. Along with golf and bowls he enjoyed word search and a glass of wine. Bill loved travelling including India, Nepal and Everest. He also went to Egypt and did a Nile cruise. Bill did quite a few Saga trips and made many friends. He has a nephew in the Australian police and bill went to see him in Australia 3 times. Bill had a purse that he carried with. him and would fiddle with it. He was known for his purse and the moths that lived in it! He had a little diary that he carried everywhere. It was always in his pocket but he never wrote anything in it! Bill has been a friend and partner to Hazel for 15 years and has been very kind and supportive to her. They enjoyed many holidays together including a trip to Cyprus. He supported Hazel in pantomime and she, and her fellow actors, gained awards for best pantomime in the north west as well as many other awards. They were soul—mates and had a great relationship. Bill was happy and contented ‘with his life. In May his health began to deteriorate and he -stopped driving and was unable to play golf or bowls. Bill passed away on the 3rd July at the Blackburn Royal Hospital. His family is very grateful to the staff at the hospital for their kindness‘ to this kind, gentleman who never had a bad word for anyone. Bill will be sadly missed but happily remembered.
GLYN NEARY It is with great sadness that I inform you of the sudden death of Glyn Neary. Glyn could always be found beavering away in the background of amateur theatre and he has spent many a happy time “treading the boards”. Whether in the chorus or making scenery or enjoying an after rehearsal pint, he was a friend t o all. Glyn worked for many years for Noda as a regional representative, reviewing shows. He later became the North West’s area secretary. In later years he became a trustee of the Association of Community Theatre using all his 60 years’ experience service to community theatre to help benefit its members. He still found time to enjoy membership of The Operetta Company and Farnworth Little Theatre. The ACT board will miss Glyn’s friendship, enthusiasm and knowledge of the performing arts greatly. All our thoughts go to his family.