stage-write - The Friends of Shanklin Theatre

December 2015 News. Past, present and future.
This is going to be a very busy weekend for FOST volunteers as we are hoping to be able to
have enough people to enable us to take part in the festival at Regent Street on Saturday by
having a stall promoting the shows and also open the theatre to the public for refreshments and
tours as well as having the box office open all day. In addition, we have been invited to take part
in the Old Village Victorian Christmas Festival by wandering amongst the crowds in Victorian
costume giving out flyers and brochures. Also, there is a show on during Saturday evening and
the Royal Marines on Sunday afternoon. The catering team will be involved in providing a hot
meal for the band and again the box office volunteers will be working on Sunday. If you are able
to offer some of your time during that weekend, please add your details to the various rotas. It
should be a great weekend! Thank you.
The successful Island Author of the ‘Elfin Child’ who joined the ‘Friends of Shanklin Theatre’ to
help us save the theatre he loved, has lost his fight against Motor Neurone Disease in October.
Philip who also wrote poetry and produced a collection called Penglewissle Poetry
generously donated copies to help raise fund for the ‘Friends’.
He will be sadly missed by the Friends and our thoughts have been with his wife Nicola Bell
whom we know will continue her support for the arts in Shanklin.
Yes, increased prizes for the FOST Christmas Prize Draw. Our biggest first prize ever of £250.
Second prize £100 and then two prizes of £50 and two more of £25. The draw will take place on
the afternoon of the last Pantomime performance on 3rd January. Tickets still £1 and obtainable
at all shows in theatre and from FOST promotional stands during the December period.
You can always help by volunteering to sell tickets before the shows or during the intervals, just
leave a note for Sylvia Lay-flurrie at the theatre and she will arrange to get you involved in her
team of sellers.
John Hannam organised a glittering evening to celebrate the best of the Island’s highly
acclaimed amateur scene, this included 23 presentations ranging from ‘The Best Village
Production’ to the ‘Award for the Best Musical’. The young were catered for with a ‘Jeremy Irons
Award for Best Young Actor’ to all categories for the ‘Jack Douglas Award for Best Comedy’.
Three hundred attended the 17th year of these popular awards, but could this be the last with
John Hannam signalling that this was the last to be organised by him? John we salute you as a
great figure on our Island and as a real friend of Shanklin Theatre. We anticipate seeing you still
coming up the entrance steps for many years to come to see the many local community groups
and the big stars as they tread the boards of our ‘grand old theatre’.
The theatre played its role in the ceremony, by during the evening providing light refreshments
at the interval, and a prompt bar service to enable the second half to go with an even better
The resurgent Shanklin Theatre is now gaining global ‘Friends’ from across the pond. Montague
Cooper who lives on South Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach in Florida USA has recently taken
out sponsorship of a Theatre seat. Like all who sponsor, he received his certificate and tells us
he ‘will frame and treasure this ‘.
Montague who once lived in Shanklin now lives 4,374 miles away, but as he is proving, you can
still support Shanklin Theatre from afar.
Four years ago, when the new seats arrived, we launched ‘Name a seat’ sponsorship and with
us now approaching 200 seats bearing plaques, the FOST Committee agreed to hold a
reception to say thank you.
On the anniversary, 11th November guests were invited to a welcome drink, which was then
followed by a short film on how a stage set is erected, five years of before and after photos on
the big screen, culminating with a ‘Lights and Sound’ display arranged by Chris Gardner.
At the event our new brochure was launched inviting everyone to ‘Name a Seat’.
Endorsements by stars who have visited the theatre include Joe Pasquale “Please help to keep
this lovely theatre going by sponsoring one of their seats with a dedicated plaque” and John
Suchet who stated “ I’m proud to be Patron of this lovely theatre, and if you are able to sponsor
a seat this will go to help in the future running of the theatre”.
It was announced by Mike Beston, ‘Name a Seat’ promoter and Vice Chair of the Friends that
the FOST Website would now have an enhanced section inviting interest for seat sponsorship.
The seating already taken is highlighted in red and seats available are featured in green,
enabling new purchasers to easily select a seat. It’s a great idea for your loved ones this
True to the aspirations and reasons for keeping our theatre open, the theatre supports our local
amateur theatrical and dance groups. At the time you will be receiving this newsletter in
December we have shows by the Footsteps Dance Studio, First Act, Dance Vibez and Theatre
Train performing a Christmas Extravaganza, in 2016 we also have a list of local groups with
Early in February on Sunday 7th Starlight Boutique Dance Academy will be performing a ‘Dance
Revolution’ and then later in February on the 18th – 20th the Island Savoyards present Monty
Python’s Spamalot . There will be three evening shows and an afternoon matinee at 2.30 pm on
the Saturday. Spamalot is described as a new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion
picture ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ written by Eric Idle and John Du Prez.
Put this date in your new diary for 2016. The Friends of Shanklin Theatre will be holding the
annual Emergency Evacuation Training Evening on Monday 1st February at 7.30 pm in the
Even if you have attended before in previous years, it is very important to attend this year so
that you hear all the instructions that our officer responsible for Fire Evacuation, Chris Gardner
will give, should a fire or emergency break out. Also you will hear from Vic Farrow and Alana
Bird who will share their years of experience in dealing with problems in the auditorium.
All those attending will have their attendance recorded, and these volunteers will always receive
preference in working at the Theatre on the nights when the big shows come to town, so that
the knowledge gained on the exercise is available should problems arise.
All members of the Friends will receive an invitation, and everyone is welcome to attend.
30 Plucking years Eight Ukuleles, Sixteen hands, Thirty Two Strings, Sixteen Million Minutes,
One Billion Seconds, Thirty Years. Yes it is the return of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
on Saturday 12th December.
The show commences at 7.30 pm and tickets cost £24. By September of next year the
Orchestra will have been active for One Billion Seconds. This is your chance to experience just
a little bit of history.
In February Andy Fairweather Low and The Lowriders are set to get the theatre humming
again after the January winter break for refurbishment. In February – Anita Harris of seven
Royal Command Performances fame, will be followed by a return of Jenny Éclair. Brian
Conley will be our Easter Saturday star show (26th March) and in April on her now annual visit
to Shanklin, Sally Morgan.
Later in to the spring, Julian Clary will be visiting us on 7th May to explain ‘The Joy of Mincing’
to an audience that must be 16 plus. But if you haven’t got your tickets for
Sarah Millican, sorry these have already sold out for next June.
Once again in October the theatre welcomed the Island Townswomen’s Guilds for the
Federation Together Day. A varied programme was presided over by Janet Wardle known to
many of us as a volunteer at the Theatre.
Well-known to all Islanders, Karen Eales addressed the conference on the Charity Challenge
and Adventure, which works with young people aged 12 to 19 and uses adventurous and
challenging outdoor activities alongside tailored support to help raise their confidence, selfesteem and aspirations. Sandra Simmonds on her ‘Life after Iran’ and Mitch Jones, a Yeoman
Warder at the ‘Tower of London’ who gave an insightful talk into life at the Tower. The finale of
the afternoon was the ‘Bunker Girls’ rendering songs from the 50’s.
Home-made soup and freshly cut sandwiches, along with items from the bar were sold at the
lunch time interval raising funds for the Theatre. Over 80 members had an enjoyable day and
we look forward to their return next year.
The Royal British Legion held the Shanklin Festival of Remembrance and Drumhead Service at
the Theatre on Friday 6th November. The evening featured music by the Medina Marching Band
and displays by Army, Navy and Air Cadet forces.
Shanklin Theatre made this evening our local contribution to Remembrance, which is a time for
us to remember the people who gave their lives during times of war and conflict.
Theatre's Little Brother
R.Robertson 26 Nov 15
When visiting the Theatre to purchase or collect tickets at the Box Office, not everyone is aware
that the Box Office is actually within the building that was previously Shanklin Town Hall.
Today's Theatre is formed from two buildings : the Theatre (originally The Institute) and the
attached Town Hall on the right when the Theatre is viewed from the front.
The Theatre's Box Office was formerly the Reading Room of the
Town Hall. Despite the changes to the Town Hall building over the
years, there are still reminders of the former occupation of the
Theatre's 'little brother'.
On the same level as the Box Office is a room
containing a massive and formidable door, manufactured
by John Tann of London, that protects what was the
Town Hall's strongroom.
No doubt the strongroom's content had considerable
value, although today it contains cleaning supplies which
nevertheless perform the extremely valuable job of
helping to keep the Theatre fresh and sparkling!
Not far from the strongroom a grand staircase,
manufactured from quality hardwood, sweeps up to the first floor where the
'higher level' functions of the Town Hall took place.
Just climbing the wide staircase leads to a feeling of importance and also
curiosity as to what lies beyond.
Once the staircase has been ascended a door with a promising title lies
ahead – the Mayor's Parlour and Members Room. Sadly a quick peek inside
the room shows a meeting room of little interest.
Still, the door opposite also has a promising title – Council Chamber.
Shanklin Council must have met here, discussing and deciding on
issues of the time.
Pushing the door open reveals a much more interesting room The fire surround in the Council Chamber is rather grand and
appropriate to the previous function of the room, though the fire
opening is rather small and, whilst being economical, may not have
greatly warmed the room in winter. Perhaps the tiled surround was a later addition and the
original fire was larger.
On the other side of the room is a similar fireplace, although a subsequent addition of a cast
iron radiator across the fireplace detracts from its visibility and visual appearance.
Now for a little puzzle : on the wall of the Council Chamber are a number
of 'boxes' with lids that hinge upwards. What could they be? Ballot boxes
or letter boxes perhaps? But why more than one?
The answer is below -
Finally, if the visit to the valuables strongroom with its massive door, followed by an ascent of
the grand staircase to the splendour of the Council Chamber has donned a sense of wealth, a
further interesting part of the Theatre's 'little brother' lies downstairs on the basement level in a
stairwell open to the elements – the Rates Office.
Luckily the door handle is missing and the door no longer opens,
saving visitors from the temptation to part with their hard earned
wealth in order to pay their rates!
Christmas is almost here and Shanklin Theatre will be taking part in the Shanklin Festival of
In response to an idea from Shirley Hughes to make the theatre a visual part of the Festival Rob
Robertson has sourced and fitted low voltage icicle lights to the balcony and I’m sure you will
agree they will definitely make Shanklin Theatre part of the festival.
Our Managing Director, Vic Farrow, has successfully negotiated FOST discounts for 3 major
plays for 2016:
29th March to 2nd APRIL
19th to 22nd APRIL
14th to 19th November
Look through the posters and literature associated with the shows as well as On Line to find out
all the details.
FOST Discounts are only available by bookings your tickets in person at the Box Office with
your membership card.
More FOST discounts will be available throughout the year. Watch this space!
Volunteer Stage Door Keepers are needed during professional shows. The volunteers will work
in conjunction with the technical team. Interested? Send an e mail to [email protected] or
drop a note at the Box Office for the FOST membership secretary and we will come back to
To increase the publicity of the shows throughout the island, we need distributors who can go
into their local shops and ask them to display A4 or A3 Shanklin Theatre show leaflets. This can
be done at any time. Interested? Send an e mail to [email protected] or drop a note at
the Box Office for the FOST membership secretary and we will come back to you to coordinate
the distribution.
--00-November 6th Prize Draw
Re-drawn Prize not claimed in September £100
1605 Ruth Booker
Hamilton Road, BINSTEAD PO33 3QZ
1240 John Skinner
Blake Hall Road, Wanstead, E11 2QQ
2645 Neil
Address awaited
£ 50
1739 D. Rhodes
Poynder Pl., Hilmorton, Colne, SN11 8SQ
£ 25
1349 Susan Mawhood
Warden Road, Totland Bay, PO39 0AD
£ 25
1208 James Arnold
Elmside, Exeter EX4 6LW
The next draw is for Christmas. Prize Money worth £500. To be drawn at the final Pantomime
performance on 3rd January 2016.
Friends of Shanklin Theatre Volunteer Structure
Box Office - Doreen Armstrong 861566
[email protected]
Usherettes – Alana Bird 867007
[email protected]
- Deputy – Priscilla Morris 861401
Bar – Maureen Harden 405456
[email protected]
- Deputy – Brian Platt 868676
- [email protected]
Maintenance – John Steege 400336
[email protected]
Deputy – Rob Robertson 866322
[email protected]
Catering Supervisor - Dorothy Coleman 866342
[email protected]
- Deputy – Annie O’Neill 0786671266
[email protected]
Housekeeper – Shirley Hughes 07967 471191
Confectionary Shop – Cherry Scudder 07545577166
[email protected]
Social Media Co-ordinator – Mike Beston 862853
[email protected]
FOST Publicity - Mike Crowe 404727
[email protected]
FOST Webmaster – Tim Marshall 721557
[email protected]
FOST Coffee, Cake ‘n’ Chat Co-ordinator – Pam Phillips 865402
FOST Prize Draw Sales Co-ordinator – Sylvia Lay-Flurrie 862942
[email protected]
FOST Membership – Jacqui Robertson 866322
[email protected]