(many of them
by Dave Collins) to match. Behind these productions
lies the work of an ongoing nucleus of enthusiasts
who have between them devoted countless hours to
making the front-of-house activities possible.
keyword for the venue's character is 'intimacy'.
companies such as Hijinx, who are used to playing
in much larger spaces, say they love coming to Theatr
Fach because of the close and direct bond between
audience and performers. Grander pantomimes may
be staged not far away, but few can match
the involving family experiences Theatr Fach's efforts
have provided over the years. For children or students,
the 75-seat auditorium is the perfect context for
early attempts at dramatic projection. And as an
acoustic stage for Sesiwn Fawr and other musical
events, the venue affords a valued alternative to
otheroptions. Above all, the once- or twice-yearly
major productions - Priestley's 'When We Are Married'
and Ayckbourn's 'Ten Times Table' the most recent
- continue to provide first-rate and memorable entertainment,
and that must always be the goal.
are due to the various funding bodies who have acknowledged
the worth of grant applications over the years and
lent their support.
you read 'Money
Matters', a piece by our current (and already
long-serving) Treasurer Richard
Withers on Chrissy's excellent website?
I confess I hadn't. It gives sharp detail
on those initial stages, describing how Gavin Miller
masterminded applications to the Princes Trust and
the Foundation for Sport and the Arts. The success
of these enabled the building “to be reroofed and
refurbished to such an extent that only five years
later in 1993 'An Inspector Calls' was produced
on the new stage to rapturous applause.” Richard
goes on to cover the next major historical development,
the addition of the extension providing a dressing-room
and clubroom downstairs together with storage space
and a toilet upstairs. It is hard now to imagine
Theatr Fach without these (some of us do remember
the previous conditions backstage!).
some risks offending others, but as I recall the
vision and determination of Steve Holland
played a major part in seeing this development come
took on the crucial responsibility, following Gavin's
sad demise, of administering the finances. Winning
the initial Lottery grant of about £90,000 seemed
almost miraculous at the time (theoriginal purchase
price of Theatr Fach hadbeen a tenth of that), but
building costs went up and a further £30,000 had
to be secured through local fundraising and a loan
from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts. (The
latter is acknowledged on a plaque in the theatre.)
for all this began in 1998 but work was
only actually started in October 1999, with
a triumphant Open Day being held in May
page on the website that's well worth exploring
is 'Dave's World (of Light and
Much time and effort has had of course
since 2000 to be put into further fundraising
and applying for grants, and one of the
most significant of these projects has just been
realised. Dave Collins's
contribution on the technical side over
a long period has been immeasurable, as has
his unwavering dedication despite often difficult
personal circumstances; it is good to see
him now able to install the upgraded equipment
he must long have dreamed of. It will
play a key role in Theatr Fach's success for
the foreseeable future. Do
have a look also at the list on the clubroom noticeboard
of previous productions - it's by now
quite an impressive one. Perhaps future newsletters
could include occasional (or regular)
recollections of highlights from these by
some of those who have taken part; to attempt
any such now would go way beyond the
bounds of this piece. Also on the walls, of course,
we still have Richard Paramor's exemplary
display panels, embodying the precision
and sense of order he brought to the society
and which benefited us enormously. We
do miss him.
risks in thanking notwithstanding, I should
like to end by saying how lucky we have
been in Theatr Fach over the years to have
had original scripts written for us, mainly of
course by Ed Penney and Chrissy Moore-Haines.
And we continue to be lucky in our chairpersons
- the society could not function without
them. (Ditto secretaries!) Chrissy Moore-Haines
and John Bond have served us
that regard in recent years, and Julian Jones
currently doing so. Please lend him and your
committee all the support you can. 2038 seems
a long way off, but we have to aim for it!
here's to the next twenty-five years of successful
activity. It goes without saying that these
can only be realised if the community is willing
to come and be entertained, and to affirm
the value of live (as opposed to canned) theatrical
or musical experience. There really is
nothing to beat it!
World of Light and Sound: Update
first published an article about how I came to be
involved with D.A.D.S. on our new website a few
years ago. Well, since then things have moved on,
and we now have an updated lighting system with
a few more lanterns and a new digital control desk.
But for those of you who haven't access to our web
page, I will give a brief history of how it all
was doing some electrical work for the late Gavin
Miller who was the Society's treasurer, and he asked
me if I would like to help out and finish off the
electrical work at the new theatre. I have been
involved with theatre on and off since I started
work as an apprentice electrician at the Civic Hall
Theatre in Guildford, Surrey in 1956, so this challenge
was too good to miss. There were a few problems
such as lack of funds to buy new equipment,
so I started with a single dimmer set and some lanterns
donated by a society member, plus a collection of
old stock aquired by various means and a borrowed
So where do we start? First of all, the design has
to be adaptable and easy to use. The word “lantern”
is used to cover all types of theatre lights; there
are several categories with various types in each
group. The following is a list of the lanterns we
now have at Theatre Fach:
non-focusing lantern giving a wide coveringof light.
The only adjustment is angle andmasking with a shutter
and barn door.
after its French inventor, this lanternhas a thin
convex lens giving a diffused light that can be
focussed onto a specific area by moving the bulb
and reflector inside the casing, and shaped by the
fairly new lantern that has a thin lens with a pebble
or small blips built into the lens. This gives a
brighter and more concentrated beam which can be
adjusted from wide to narrow by moving the lens
and shaped with a barn door.
lantern that gives a beam of light that can be shaped
by internal shutters; these are usually positioned
at Front of House, which is in front of the stage.
to the above, but with the ability to project a
pattern through a metal insert called a Gobo.
version of the profile with several adjustments
to give a soft or hard beam. With an iris inserted
the beam can go from wide to black out. This lantern
is mounted on a spigot and can be moved to follow
the performers onstage.
is now a widely used lantern on concert stages etc.
because it is easy to set up; it consists simply
of a cylinder with a nonadjustable sealed old-type
car headlight bulb called a P.A.R. lamp because
it gives a near parallel beam.
now have a stock of 2 triple, 2 single and 4 portable
floods, 8 Fresnel lanterns, 5 P.C. lanterns, 10
spotlights inc. profile, 4 cans, 1 followspot, a
total of 40 lanterns with a total loading of 20,450
watts or 89 amps. Our supply can give us a maximum
of 90 amps, but very rarely would you have all the
lanterns on at once.
how do we position our “rig” and control all
this? With our new digital control system all the
lanterns will be individually plugged into 15 amp
sockets, which are wired to the main board on stage
right. Here are situated the new DMX dimmers which
can feed 36 outlets, and all you have to do is to
plug in the lanterns you want to use. The dimmers
arecontrolled by our new juggler digital control
deck, which is up on the technician's gallery at
the back of the auditorium. This will enable the
lighting technician to select and control individual
lanterns, plus many other effects including storing
scenes which can then be cued at the press of a
have tried to design and install a system which
is reasonably easy to use, and which should give
us all the lighting requirements we need for the
forseeable future. Lighting technology is advancing
at a rapid rate with new types of lanterns appearing
all the time.
designer/technician can achieve wonders if the finance
request made 23 years ago has led me into a very
interesting and worthwhile hobby. If there is anyone
out there who would like to become involved with
theatre in any capacity, my advice is DO IT – you
won't regret it!
FUTURE THEATRE TECHNICIANS!
sad news is that Dave Collins, our longserving and
highly valued theatre technician, will be leaving
us for family
probably sometime in the coming months.
good news is that he will hopefully be around long
enough to train someone to replace him. So, if you
feel could enjoy being our new technician, please
contact Dave on email@example.com
Funding For The Cause
an item is needed in the theatre, which would take
us a long time to save up for, it is always worthwhile
applying for grants, should there be anything relevant
available. This is something that most voluntary
bodies have to do. It is always worth keeping in
touch with what funding is available and to have
some foresight about what the group's priorities,
needs and desires are, as no grants fit all.
with a building the maintenance is costly. Developing
the range of facility we can offer is something
that happens, as the theatre evolves over time,
and the technical equipment becomes outdated. There
are always a variety
pots of money coming available, from a variety of
sources. There are some funds which typically fund
a particular type of
such as The Arts, Sports, Education.
is vital to have a clear understanding of the criteria
which are stated by the 'Funder', as you won't be
successful with a bid unless the criteria are met
precisely. This is imperative. You have to make
your project fit the criteria. It is never the other
way round, because it is so competitive and there
are so many other organisations who are applying
for the same funding, who do match the criteria
which are submitted and are forwarded to the panel
for discussion, unlike those which do not match
them, which are not.
happens is that the administering body receives
the applications and scores each one, to assess
how they do match the criteria of the fund. Not
every application is submitted to the panel. The
applicant has to demonstrate, giving evidence, of
how the application is deserving and fits the fund.
Just making a statement is not enough. No matter
how deserving the project/cause, it will still be
refused if it isn't relevant to the criteria of
the funding. The evidence can be:
Letters of support from the public and from other
organisations endorsing the work done by the applicant.
Examples of previous documents utilized by the organisation,
such as publicity material to demonstrate the kind
of work you do, or your commitment to bilingualism,
here in Gwynedd.
The constitution document of the organisation, to
demonstrate that you are a constituted body, (without
this status, it is unlikely that any fundingwill
Bank Statements. Usually the last 3 months are required.
This demonstrates that the organisation has a bank
account and also that the organisation has a cash
The most recent copy of the Annual accounts at the
time of application.
Evidence of ownership of the building, so that the
group is not applying for money to work on a building
they do not own, (in the case of structural work,
as we did early in 2012). These can be varied depending
on the funder, and often some other documents may
be requested, or relevant. Letters of support aren't
always listed, but it is always worth
some to demonstrate the value of what the organisation
provides, and that it benefits the community.
always compile an ordered and easily navigated bundle
of documents, presenting them with each document
numbered and indexed on a front sheet with the name
of the organisation and the name of the project
and fund. When the bundle is complete, and as near
to perfect (including the application form) as is
possible, it is submitted to the funder to the correct
address and before the closing date for applications.
It is always worth sending by special delivery,
as this means that it WILL reach there on time,
and there is evidence that it has been sent/received.
on receipt the funder acknowledges the application
and gives the applicant an idea of when an outcome
may be expected, and when the panel will be meeting.
whole process is lengthy, and is a great deal of
work, especially fitting this into a normal working
schedule, commitments to any other organisations
and obviously family commitments, and should not
if you are asked at all by one of the local groups
who provide facilities, activities or entertainment
that you enjoy, for a letter of support, please
try and deal with the request speedily as it doesn't
take too long, but can make a big difference to
whether the applicant is able to demonstrate the
value of what is provided by the organisation to
is important to remember that organisations such
as Theatr Fach, Barmouth Music, Dolgellau Music
Club, and local Tourism and Trade Associations are
run by volunteers, and generally these volunteers
are active in a number of groups as well as having
their own lives and work. They all need people who
are willing to help, and to take on tasks to facilitate
the work done by the organisation.
be generous and volunteer to help out if asked,
as you won't be asked for a huge amount of time,
but just a little. When the productions are on in
Theatr Fach there are a whole range of tasks which
need to be done, such as selling programmes before
the performance, selling raffle tickets, being at
the door selling tickets as people arrive, doing
the refreshments (best not on the night you are
attending to watch the play, as you will miss some
of it). Perhaps you may be willing to do one of
these on one of the nights? Many hands make light
are delighted to announce that we have been awarded
a grant of £3346.50 from the Community Investment
This money has enabled us to digitise the whole
lighting system in the theatre, and we are most
grateful to Mantell
for giving us the grant. We are also very grateful
to Debbie Ashton for making the application, and
to Dave Collins, our technician, who is installing
Ayckbourn's gift for exploiting the humour within
the commonplace is evident throughout his work,
and 'Ten Times Table' is no exception. First staged
in 1977, its plot concerns a group of committee
members in the fictional town of Pendon who plan
a pageant, re-enacting the 200 year old massacre
of the 'Pendon Twelve', local farmworkers led by
Jonathan Cockle and William Brunt, who demanded
higher wages and paid with their lives. All seems
to begin amicably enough, but cracks soon start
to penetrate the veneer of middle-class respectability
as prejudices rise to the surface.
production by D.A.D.S. at Theatr Fach, Dolgellau
ran from Wednesday October 17th to Saturday 20th
October. 'Ten Times Table' is not the easiest of
plays to perform, as the majority of the action
takes place in the committee room, and is followed
by a descent into complete mayhem on the day of
the pageant. In the wrong hands, this could be a
recipe for disaster - among any audience, there
must be many who can recall sitting frustratedly
through over-long, monotonous meetings where even
a matter as trivial as setting the date of the next
meeting is fraught with difficulties. However, under
the skilful direction of director Julian Jones,
armed with a strong cast, Ayckbourn's witty dialogue
is brought to life.
the start, events conspire to disrupt the proceedings.
Some are extraneous - lights are switched off without
warning, plunging the committee room into sudden
darkness, and carpet-layers threaten to drown out
discussion with their hammering. Meanwhile, the
various acutely-observed characters begin to emerge,
as do their tensions, problems and disagreements.
No-one escapes Ayckbourn's satirical eye, although
the humour is gently mocking, rather than unkind.
The orderly, conventional world of the chairman,
Ray (played with expert comic timing by Richard
Withers), is soon disrupted, goading him into uncharacteristic
and hilarious outbursts of indignation. Donald,
played with just the right amount of straight-faced
earnestness by Ifor Davies, is a stickler for the
formalities, despite the somewhat disconcerting
presence of his elderly (and ostensibly deaf) mother,
Audrey - a delightful performance by Ruth Nicholls.
The moody Marxist Eric, convincingly played by David
Walker, sees his chance to resurrect the revolutionary
leader, Jon Cockle, as a mouthpiece for his rhetoric.
He quickly antagonises the snobbish Helen, whose
disapproving eye is firmly focused on the shortcomings
of the other members and on the world in general.
Christine Jones brings to the role a delicacy of
touch which prevents it becoming mere parody. Beneath
the absurdity of these characters lies pathos -
we sense their underlying vulnerability. The increasingly
intoxicated Lawrence, for example, is wrestling
with the collapse of his marriage. No longer able
to find much sense in the world around him, he must
come to terms with his loneliness. Equally fragile
is the gentle, romantic Sophie who falls for Eric,
only to be abandoned, not for the first time, it
appears - sensitive performances by John Bond and
Jacki Evans respectively. Newcomer Vaughan Davies
succeeded admirably in his portrayal of the vague
and troubled Tim, who metamorphoses into a half-crazed
militarist on the day of the pageant: ('Anyone wearing
a jerkin - clout him!') Sally Lister's debut performance
as the mousy, perpetually stitching Philippa was
a delight, while Gareth Pugh put in a brief but
memorable appearance as Max Kirkov.
simmer, then erupt, and the growing division between
the committee members results in the formation of
two rival factions.
ill-fated pageant day becomes a microcosmic Civil
War. The cast coped extremely well with the riotous
simultaneous action of this challenging scene, and
provided lasting memories of some of the funniest
moments of the whole production. Among them was
the sight of Lawrence, as the Duke of Dorset, tumbling
in slow motion, wig askew, from his 'stylised horse'
- imaginatively designed and constructed by John
Bond and drama students from Ysgol y Gader. Then
there was the wounded Eric, rising from behind the
piano (played continuously throughout the scene
by Audrey, oblivious to the manic goings-on around
her) and bellowing in pain. Her surprised reaction:
'What's the matter? Don't you know the words?' met
with huge appreciation from the audience. Equally
entertaining was the carrying off of Helen by Max,
as the burly Brunt, and her later reappearance,
dazed and dishevelled, after undergoing what was
apparently a life-changing experience. Peace is
uneasily restored at the end. There are no winners
- Ayckbourn himself does not take sides - he pokes
fun at both the smallmindedness of the Helens of
this world and at the overblown declamations of
the Erics in a play which is as relevant today as
it was in the 1970s.
admirable performances from the cast, ably supported
by those behind the scenes, including Dave Collins
(lighting and sound) and Pat Gill (prompt and sound
effects), 'Ten Times Table' marks another resounding
success for D.A.D.S. Long may they continue!
Adventures Of Sancho Panza
by the HIJINX THEATRE on 10th October 2012
was good to see the Theatre Fach almost full for
this production, a chance for those of us who live
in out-of- the-way places to see new and challenging
theatre. Hijinx have performed before in Dolgellau,
but for some reason I missed them. However I will
try to ensure that their next visit is highlighted
de Cervantes' novel whose full title is "The
Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha"
is huge, published between1605 and 1615, and is
regularly named as amongst the greatest works of
fiction ever published. I must confess that I have
never read it, though many of us who haven't will
be aware of the word 'quixotic', which is now part
of our vocabulary and means either 'extravagantly
and romantically chivalrous', 'pursuing lofty but
unattainable ideals', and what I think is its most
common application, 'ridiculously impractical, preposterous,
play looks at the story from the point of view of
Sancho Panza, Don Quixote's servant who is recruited
to attend him on his attempts to revive the ancient
chivalries. The action begins in the present day
but swiftly moves to
time of the book, and reenacts some of the quixotic
adventures, such as tilting at windmills, traveling
far and wide, fighting
and defending the name and honour of Don Quixote's
is made instantly apparent that Sancho is more grounded
than his master, but cheerfully follows him in the
expectation of becoming a ruler of an island. However,
when he doesachieve this lofty role he finds its
restrictions cumbersome and wisely rejects it for
such creature comforts as a glass of red wine and
a burger. That very briefly is the story.
those of you familiar with Theatr Fach know the
stage is small and restricted; this didn't deter
the actors who, with the minimum of props and scenery,
were clambering over mountains, trudging across
deserts, fording streams and hiding in caves. Much
ingenuity was used, so we had a double bass being
used to depict a horse, a ukelele was Sancho's lowly
donkey, tables and chairs became mountains and a
seemingly endless supply of paper became practically
everything else. It is amazing how quickly one can
be transported into a different world by the simplest
of devices.The actors had no difficulty in bringing
the characters to life in words, song and music
showing an wide diversity of talent; they even got
us singing after a rather bizarre vocal warm up
session. I must say that our contribution nowhere
near matched the talents of the actors.
ensemble acting worked well, the lone female doubling
as stage hand with one or twoasides to the audience
about how put upon shewas.
actors playing Sancho and Don Quixote looked uncannily
like the familiar illustration from the book, a
tall thin Don and short sturdy Sancho; the other
three provided a wide variety of supporting roles
to further the plot.
play was quite complex in the respect that it encompassed
three time zones, the distant past as told in the
book, the modern home life of the young Sancho and
the actual time in the theatre when the audience
were involved. It is amazing that we were guided
through those times without losing or interrupting
the flow of the play.
play also seemed to have three themes: books, fantasy
figured largely, in fact the set contained many
piles of books which during the play became stepping
stones, birds leading or accompanying the actors.
Early on in the action Sancho retrieves a hidden
book which his mother seems to have banned him from
reading, and this is the key to the dream fantasy
sequence when he becomes Don Quixote's squire.
me the play works on several levels, at the same
time being entertaining both aurally and visually
and also putting forward thought provoking themes.
Many excellent plays do the former quite easily
but don't challenge the audience to think deeper
than the obvious story line. Plays which stimulate
us to consider other things challenge us to consider
our assumptions about aspects of life and develop
us as well; they are not just an interesting spectacle
for an evening's entertainment.
are a company who work extensively with people with
learning difficulties, that two of the actors were
obviously challenged in this way but enthralled
us with their skilled, sensitive acting performances,
every bit equal to the performances of the other
actors shouldn't come as a surprise but once again
challenges us to look at our own pre-conceived perceptions
of people with learning difficulties in the same
way as the para-olympics did in the summer. The
actors were very ably supported by excellent lighting
and sound effects; these, plus some scary puppets,
enhanced the mood and action of the play.
and thanks to all who were instrumental in bringing
this play to Dolgellau; a most entertaining and
Saturday April 6th at 7.30pm there will be a concert
entitled “Otto Freudenthal and Friends.” This was
postponed two months ago due to snow, but we're
hoping that spring weather will be kind and allow
us all to flock to Theatr Fach to hear Otto playing
Chopin and Harriet Earis on the harp. Tickets £9/£6,
booking on 01654 761 358.
MURDER HAS BEEN ARRANGED
is delighted to be presenting Emlyn Williams' melodrama
'A Murder Has Been Arranged' in May, when it will
be produced and directed by Richard Withers. In
this unique thriller, which has playgoers gripping
their seats, Sir Charles Jasper, an eccentric who
delves into the mystical, is due to inherit two
million pounds on his fortieth birthday, and plans
to celebrate the occasion with a party on the stage
of St. James' Theatre. The merriment is interrupted
by Maurice, his hitherto missing nephew and heir
to his money. Maurice stands to gain a fortune if
…...... well, come and find out for yourselves!
play is running for four nights, Thursday May 23rd,
Friday May 24th, Saturday May 25th and Monday May
27th and is sure to provide an exciting evening.
early to avoid disappointment!
Office 01341 422 680.
and Prose Reviews
were three excellent Poetry and Proseevenings in
the last six months.
November 16th 2012, Ben Ridler presented 'The Unfurling
of my Love', a birthday tribute to his mother, the
distinguished poet and playwright Anne Ridler. This
provided an evening which will long be remembered
by all of us in the unusually large audience. 'The
Unfurling of my Love', the poem which gave the evening
its title, began and ended the programme, and, as
Ben wrote in his very helpful notes, 'it contains
some of (Anne Ridler's) core themes – the mystery
of love in its many forms, erotic, familial, maternal,
love of nature …..' These themes were amplified
in short poems and in 'Evenlode', the Greek myth
of Alpheus and Arethusa, transported to the landscape
of Oxfordshire through which flows the river Evenlode.
Throughout the programme, the listener was aware
that his role could not be a passive one, but when
intellect engaged with the voice of the poet, the
subsequent rewards were rich indeed. In a contrasting
lighter vein were Anne Ridler's recollections of
her childhood reading, and an amusing account of
the eccentric Miss Nickel of Downe House School.
For many, a highlight of the evening was the inclusion
of extracts from the verse play, 'The Trial of Thomas
Cranmer', commissioned for the quartercentenary
of Cranmer's death and
on the anniversary by the B.B.C. I think that none
of us at Theatr Fach in 2012 will forget David Scutt's
interpretation of the role of Hugh Latimer, shortly
before his execution. In its integrity and immediacy,
we were confronted with this man in a most poignant
way: not as a figure in history but as a human being
of flesh and blood. One felt a personal response,
and perhaps this was the keynote of the evening:
the recognition of the universality of human emotions
expressed in phrases of illuminating beauty.
Friday 14th December Julian and Pat Jones presented
us with 'Our Christmas Card'.
evening was a festive celebration, with many of
our members contributing to the entertainment. The
theatre was looking very pretty as our technician,
Dave, who gives so much to us, had set the mood
for the occasion by putting up Christmas decorations
and fairy lights. Thank you Dave, for this; you
are so generous with your time and effort. We do
really appreciate you!
were too many contributions to visit individually,
but the ones which remain in my mind are Evelyn
Richardson's rendition of 'No-one Loves a Fairy
When She's Forty' . (I do like the funny ones best!)
and the two pieces which Sally Kirkham had prepared,
both humorous; 'Christmas Thank Yous' by Mick Gowar,
thank you letters for gifts received, which I am
sure we could all relate to, having received gifts
in the past which left us questioning the sanity
of the donor, but still having to thank them in
the customary way. The Welsh Learners' choir joined
in the proceedings and this was lovely, with audience
participation encouraged and enjoyed by all.
the end of the evening, we had a few words from
Julian. He paid tribute to Richard Paramor, who
had been a very active and highly organised member,
whom we sadly lost in tragic circumstances, earlier
in the year (8th October), by reading a passage
from Noel Coward, whose work Richard particularly
here for a short visit only
I’d rather be loved than hated:
may be lonely
my body’s disintegrated,
that which is loosely termed my soul
whizzing off through the infinite
means of some vague remote control;
like to think I was missed a bit.
do miss him and his contribution to our theatre,
and we are finding out just how much he did for
us, now that he is no longer with us.
this evening was for you Richard, and thank you
so very much for everything.
Clubroom looked a picture when we went through for
refreshments during the interval, with festive table
decorations made by Bronwen. Julian and Pat had
made mulled wine which went down a treat with the
festive cakes and mince pies donated by members
for the occasion. Thank you to all who made these,
they were delicious!
you to Pat and Julian who bravely took on the task
of organising this, at a busy time of year, and
to everyone who managed, against the odds, to pull
the programme together.
Friday February 15th, Ruth Nicholls showed us 'The
Many Faces of Love'. And there were certainly many
faces. 'Love as yet Unspoken' was illustrated by
extracts such as the moving dialogue in 'Twelfth
Night' between Orsino and Viola – who cannot reveal
her love while she is posing as a young man. In
'Love Impatient' we heard one end of an agonising
phone call as the caller begs, urges, implores the
person on the other end to pick up the receiver
– but in vain. 'Love Celebrated' included a touching
extract from 'Golden Wedding' by Joyce Grenfell,
as a couple look back on their lives together, and
another 'Telephone Call', also by Joyce Grenfell,
illustrated 'Love Renounced' as the caller painfully
abandons her lover in the name offamily duty. And
'Love Rejected' was delightfully illustrated by
a reading from 'Emma' by Jane Austen in which Emma
tells Mr. Elton exactly what she thinks of his proposal.
In all, a splendid set of readings, splendidly read.
was born in Potters Bar, the first of three brothers.
Old enough to remember the blitz that spread from
Central London, he attended a local primary school,
where air raid practices involved sheltering under
classroom tables. He passed the 11+ and moved onto
the grammar school, but he left at 15 without qualifications.
He himself admitted that the excitement and attraction
of transport systems was overwhelming. So he started
his first job at Victoria Coach Station, first as
a messenger boy, and gradually taking on more and
18, in common with all males who did not go directly
to university, National Service intervened. A two-year
stint in the colours was enough for most people,
but the excitement and attraction of transport systems,
and the dangled promise of being something important
in R.A.F. Transport Command persuaded Richard to
sign on for 4 years. Happily for him, as it turned
out, this was not to be. On his second day of service
at Cardington Basic Training Camp he was diagnosed
with acute sinusitis and declared unfit for service.
After a confusing month in which he lived in limbo,
unwanted by any of the services, and not yet fully
discharged for work as a civilian, a final medical
examination saw him fully discharged from the services.
Richard promptly returned to Victoria Coach Station
where he rose steadily through the ranks.
Richard’s prowess as a travel expert saw him working
for an elite travel agency in Leamington Spa. Whale
watching off the Azores, at a time when whale watching
had little or no cachet for anyone except whale
catchers, deep sea angling off Madeira, orchid hunting
in the Amazon were now the staple ingredients of
his work. He also helped run a themed restaurant
Spa, where, not surprisingly, transport was the
underlying theme. “Book your table at platform 14.”
April 1989 Richard moved on to the Isle of Wight,
where he became Postmaster at Bonchurch. By every
account this was the
idyllic period of his life. Undaunted by the annual
Christmas rush of letters and
by the ever-changing demands of changing regulations,
prices and responsibilities, Richard thrived on
the island, and despite his busy Postmaster life
found time to work for the Island’s Multiple Sclerosis
October 2002, now retired, he moved to Bontddu.
But the word retirement was really a misnomer. He
worked with the Dolgellau Hospital League of Friends,
with the Meirioneth Access Group; for his influence
here, look no further than the bus from the town
centre to the local hospital. As in the Isle of
Wight he worked extensively with the Multiple Sclerosis
Society of Wales. To each organisation he brought
professionalism, an insight of how to deal with
bureaucracy, and left each of them enriched and
better established. In the meantime he also found
the energy to learn Welsh, in which he was surprisingly
fluent. He also began to study for an Open University
Degree which he successfully completed in 2009,
being awarded a prize as one of the outstanding
Open University students of Wales in that year.
moved to Llwyn View in Dolgellau, and immediately
set about establishing a Residents' Association.
A number of residents were privileged to work with
him for three years in this organisation; his scholarship,
diplomacy and tact were all too evident as we set
about successfully persuading developers and planners
to further improve the site. Richard gave a considerable
amount of time to Theatr Fach. He was not interested
in treading the boards himself, but brought to the
area a love of ballet, music and the theatre. Soon
a keen and hardworking committee member, he encouraged
us all to develop the longer term planning of theatre
events, in particular the forward planning of Poetry
and Prose evenings. His publishing skills are manifest
in the record he has left us of quality play bills
the course of his life Richard embraced and exemplified
the concept of lifelong learning. He wrote extensively.
- a history of Victoria Coach Station” was published
in 2007. An autobiographical book, “The Changing
Scenes of Life,”
in 2009 using his own publishing company, Round
House Publishing. Incidentally the royalties for
this book go towards the Multiple Sclerosis Society
of Wales. He also contributed to and participated
in a B.B.C.T.V programme, “Time Shift” in which
the history of coach travel was outlined. A natural
extension of this work was his enthusiastic encouragement
of other writers through creative writing classes
at Theatr Fach and later at Llanelltyd Village Hall.
Richard’s life was eventful and varied. In particular
his retirement life in Wales should stand as an
example to all. He was a good friend and colleague
and we will all miss his dedication and energy.
AMATEUR DRAMATIC SOCIETY
to find us if you need us:
Bond (Chairman) 01341 421 144
Jones (vice-Chairman 01341421 856
Withers (Treasurer) 01654 761 358
Anslow (Secretary) 01341 421 186
Collins (All Technical Matters) 01654 710 096
Moore-Haines (Website) 01766 540 382
Ashton (Facebook and Twitter) 01341 250 911
Dorling (Publicty and Newsletter Editor)
01341 250 085
Evans, Sally Kirkham, Ruth Nicholls and Ben Ridler
Collins, Julian Jones, Sally Kirkham, Ruth Nicholls,
and Richard Withers
FACH, GLYNDWR STREET, DOLGELLAU, GWYNEDD, LL40 1BD
HIRING THEATR FACH
You may not know that it is possible to hire all or part of Theatr Fach, and at very reasonable prices. These are:
- Auditorium, stage, dressing room
and working lights....£10 per hour
- As above, but for a performance £50 per performance
NB: If we supply and sell the refreshments there is no extra charge for the use of the Club Room and kitchen facilities during performances.
- Use of stage lights with approved operator................£10 per session
- Club Room, kitchen facilities and upstairs toilet............£10 per hour
Minimum of two hours evening or daytime. Rates are negotiable for regular bookings.
The Theatr Fach website shows available hiring dates, and bookings should be made with Richard Withers on 01341 440 215 or 01654 761 358
Oct. 2013 Absolution Saxophone Quartet.
Nov. 2013 Sónia Grané (soprano),
Nov. 2013 Elen Hydref (harp).
Jan. 2014 Ailsa Ijiri (piano).
Feb. 2014 Wu Quartet (strings).
Mar. 2014 Rosanna Ter Berg (flute),
Apr. 2014 Llangollen Operatic Society
at 7.30pm, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor.
Anslow 01341 421 186 or
Ben Ridler 01341 450 224/01758 701 385 firstname.lastname@example.org
of Theatre Nostalgia
order a copy of the latest issue please send a cheque
for £6.66 (inc UK postage and packing) payable to
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