taking part in St Peter’s (Accrington) Junior Operatic &
Dramatic Society’s production of Leslie Sand’s farce
“Beside the Seaside” on Friday & Saturday nights were:
back row (left to right) – K Robinson, S Twissell, A.
Isherwood, M. Greenhalgh, D. Kerr, F.S.C. Burnett; front
row – D Sibbering, P. Taylor, P Price. The play was
reviewed in Tuesday’s Observer. (Photo: Garth Dawson)
Bravo the teenagers of St. Peter Church Accrington, who on Friday
night made their first attempt at drama and what a successful debut
it was. Nine competent youngsters gave a bright and breezy treatment
to Leslie Sands's farce "Beside the Seaside" and provided two hours
of almost non-stop laughter to a large audience.
Farce is one of the most difficult types of play to interpret,
dependent as it is on snappy exchanges of dialogue and quick moving
action, and the thought of young people attempting it was not a very
happy one. But the St. Peters group had a certain quality, which
made this an above-average performance
Perhaps it was the unaffected manner in which each individual
approached his or her part, but whatever it was the overall effect
was successful and gave ultimate proof to the theory that young
people are natural actors,
It must have been the characters who made the play and not
vice-versa for the plot was nothing out of the ordinary it was a
typical seaside boarding-house farce complete with odd assortment of
the usual acid faced "repel all boarders type of landlady whose
greatest enjoyment seems to come from reading to all and sundry her
rigid set of house rules There was the typical holiday family from 'Uddersfield,
the "newly weds" and a couple of performers from the pier - in fact
everyone to be expected in such a sordid establishment.
Without a deep understanding of the play then, this could have been
a dismal failure but these youngsters made sure that it was just the
opposite. They made the most of their chances to emulate grown-ups
and their obvious enjoyment was wonderfully infectious Much of the
credit must go to Lewis Greenhalgh the producer who was responsible
for such a happy choice of characters and a sound knowledge of the
Outstanding member of the cast was Frederick S.C. Burnett as Wilf
Pearson head of the 'Uddersfield contingent A member of the audience
described this lad as a "natural comedian" at the best of times and
nothing was detracted from his natural humour at the thought of
having to perform before an audience. He showed a deep understanding
of the part, he was word perfect and his stage manner was confident.
So well did he succeed in extracting every ounce of humour from his
fun-laden part, in fact, so outstandingly successful was he that on
more than one occasion he had the remainder of the cast striving
hard to conceal their laughter.
wife Ethel, Maureen Greenhalgh gave a first-rate performance.
Strident of voice and decisive of action she was an admirable foil
to her "husband". She was typical worrying, nagging mother who was
more concerned about her poor mother in 'Uddersfield (much to her
husband's disgust) than enjoying the holiday.
starry-eyed honeymoon couple, Mr. and Mrs. Pepper, were delightfully
portrayed by Derek Sibbering and Patricia Taylor. This shy young
couple were shown no mercy by the tactless remainder of the guests
and the rather tactless maid, Florrie (Anne Isherwood). Derek
Sibbering was a maddeningly naive husband and the scene where Mr.
Pearson was trying to explain to him the age-old mystery of the
birds and the bees was one of the plays big highlights.
The plot concerned itself mainly with the illicit love affair of
Sally Pearson (Dorothy Kerr) and debonair pier performer Tony Brett
(Keith Robinson). This susceptible young girl fell for the romantic
patter of Brett and to everyone's consternation they ran off
together. Mrs. Pearson, who from the first expressed a profound
mistrust of "the acting profession", became almost hysterical, but
no one was more perturbed than Pat Marlowe (Shirley Twistle) who
turned out to be Brett's secretly married wife.
Twissell gave a competent performance and one could level nothing
but amazement when it was announced that she had taken the part over
from a sick friend at a days notice.
As the hatchet-faced mercenary landlady (sixpence extra for a bath),
Pamela Price gave a good performance after some early dialogue
This play, then, had everything, but most of all it had a most
enjoyable amount of infectious humour which adults never seem able
to catch no matter how hard they try - in fact, they probably try
too hard. - P.S.
taking part were - Keith Robinson, Shirley Twissell, Anne Isherwood,
Maureen Greenhalgh (RIP), Dorothy. Kerr, Fred Burnett, Derek
Sibbering, Pat Taylor and Pauline Price.
recognise anybody, or wish to contact me, you can do by
If you want to find out what I've been up to all these years
Can anybody tell me the date?
10/07/15 - John Sharples writes ...
photo of the St Peters players brought back many memories, I knew
them all though shirley Twissel was older than us, a friend of my
cousin Kathleen who we still meet for lunch every fortnight. I am
just back from two weeks on the yacht and am due at the Ribchester
Arms with Eileen for a meal. Belated congratulations on
a brilliant revue!
wishes John Sharples
15/07/15 - Derek Sibbering writes
so many years with St Peters Amateur Dramatics acting, painting sets
and just enjoying being in the company of friends, TV hadn't taken
over peoples lives then.
I was interested to read your story and can see you are enjoying
life just want to give you a short history of my life.
I think our play took place around 1955/6 I would be 15 (born Sept
1941) I went on to do several plays at St Peters after leaving
school I worked for Althams Travel in Accrington, In January 1959 I
was in my last play at St Peters finishing Saturday night after
dismantling the stage and on the Sunday morning left Accrington to
fly to Jersey to take up a job in a Travel Company.
I remained in Jersey until 1966 and came to London to take up a
position in Global Travel. I planned to be in London for a couple of
years and am still here!
I worked in Travel all my working life, after Global, I joined
Horizon Group until they went bust before joining Yugotours the
Yugoslav Tour Company ending up as General Manager. I made many
friends there but when the Yugoslav War came had a very stressful
time having to bring home over 5000 passengers from the war zone.
Remained with Yugotours until after the war ended but it was a
difficult time trying to diversify to cover other destinations
but after many set backs the company closed UK operations.
After a brief spell of unemployment I was asked to help Croatia
Airlines open operations to Croatia and remained with them until I
retired in 2011.
I still live in London and have a flat in Notting Hill where I have
lived for over 33 years.
I have some good friends, many ex colleagues from the various
companies I worked for. In fact, in April I helped to arrange a
Yugotours Reunion we managed to trace over 40 ex colleagues who we
hadn't seen for almost 24 years the internet was a great help.
I don't get up to Lancashire very often now have a couple of cousins
and an Uncle who is 91. My father died in 1974 and my mother in
1988. My brother Kenneth now lives in Wales with his wife Susan who
is the Manager of a care home on Anglesey.
I remember going with you to Derby to stay with your relatives one
time it is amazing to be in contact with you after all this time
have you heard from any of the others in the photo? I can remember
all the cast.
I was a good friend of a guy called Jim Corbridge who was in the
Dramatic Society he died about 4 years ago I went back to Accrington
for his funeral at St Peters Church and saw several friends from
Sorry to have gone on so long but wanted to make contact with you,
if you have made contact with anyone please pass my contact details
as I would love to hear from you all.
- Hi Fred,
likely won't remember me, I am Mick Crook's young brother Peter, but
I remember you and your sister and if I remember correctly you lived
in Lindadale Ave. I think that I remember that particular play when
at the end of which you left the boarding house taking the cruet
with you stating that it was a "blooming bargain at five bob".
attend St. Peter's in fact, I am a churchwarden, unfortunately none
of those in the photo still go to St. Peter's many of them having
moved away but many of those at church remember those in the photo
Eunice Whittaker, Irene Rawcliffe (nee Davenport) John Thompson,
Derrick Brockbank who is still organist. The Dramatic Society was a
very active group in the past and I remember putting up the stage
having the final dress rehearsal on the Wednesday night, the actual
production on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and then pulling
the stage down on Saturday night.
I have a
number of photos of the various plays that were put on in the old
school but I don't have any of the junior society productions so the
one that put on the website will be added to the collection. I am
sorry but I cannot find out the actual date of "Beside the seaside"
but if I get into the library I will have a look at the old copies
of the Observer and get back to you.
Are you in this photograph? If so I'd love to hear from