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"Mystery Box"

Although the Fairlight Players can boast an enviable archive collection, there are a few gaps, and we hope that visitors to this site might be able to help us to fill them. We are always interested to receive items, be they pictures or personal reminiscences, but the list below identifies a number of items that would be of particular interest.

The Village Hall in the 1950s/60s When the Fairlight Players was born, the Village Hall was but around 1 year old itself, and at that time was just what we now know as the small hall. It was extended significantly in the 1960s. We would be very interested if anybody has a picture showing how it used to look before the extension, or pictures of the construction work.

Missing Programmes

We have no programmes for the productions listed here, and are thus unable to ensure that proper credit is given to the cast and backstage helpers. We would be grateful for the opportunity to borrow and copy a programme, or any other information that helps us to fill this gap in our history.

* In the cases marked with an asterisk, I have seen a programme, but would appreciate a second look to capture pieces of information that I wasn't looking for before.

1954 (Spring) Three One-Act Plays
1960 The Camel's Back
1963 After My Fashion
1971 Waters Of The Moon
1984 A Murder Is Announced
1991 Table Manners *
1993 Night Must Fall *
1994 The Heiress *
1998 Blithe Spirit *
"Black Holes". Throughout their 60 year history, the Fairlight Players have maintained a sequence of twice yearly productions (and occasionally more). However, there are just three exceptions, which may be interuptions to the sequence, or simply gaps in the archive. Can you tell us more?

Spring 1958
Spring 1959
Autumn 1966


The plays listed here are notable for the lack of any photographic record. In the case of the earliest plays, this is understandable (although we would be thrilled to discover any early pictures). However, there are a few later gaps that we have a fair chance of filling with your help.

1960 The Camel's Back
1961 Count Your Blessings
1963 Silver Wedding
1963 After My Fashion
1964 Roar Like A Dove
1964 Breath Of Spring
1966 A Quiet Weekend
1968 Fool's Paradise
1970 Dangerous Corner
1971 Candied Peel
1975 Mystery At Greenfingers
1979 Suspect
1982 Something To Hide
1984 A Murder Is Announced
1988 A Tomb With A View
1992 Three Short Plays
1993 Three One-Act Plays
2002 The Poltergeist

Scripts Scripts. We have a cupboard full of scripts from previous productions. In most cases, just one or two copies as a memento ... and a number that were acquired for consideration but, for whatever reason, never taken up. With the exception of one or two however (generally those which were reprised at a later date), we have no scripts for the productions from the 1950s, but we would be fascinated to receive some.

Plays by G Lyon, Hastings (1951-53)

During this period, the Players performed three plays (two one-act plays and one full length play) written by the incumbent producer W. Gordon-Lyon (under the thinly disguised pseudonym of G Lyon, Hastings). The plays in question were "The Laugh" (1951), "The New Boarder" (1952) and "In The Roar Of The Sea" (1953). It would be of particular interest to us to discover a script, or indeed any information, about any of these three plays.
1976 Murder At The Vicarage There is some doubt as to whether the pictures were correctly labelled. If you can remember this far back, please take a look and see whether you can work it out.
1978 Spring A unique occurence in the history of the Fairlight Players - the Spring performance (intended to be J.B. Priestley's "They Came To A City") was aborted. Does anybody know why, or is it indiscreet to ask?
1985 Autumn Ok, so 1978 wasn't unique after all. Once again, the planned performance of "Murder Mistaken" by Janet Green never happened. Does anyone know why?

The following pictures are a bit of a mystery to us. We believe that they show various perfomances by the Fairlight Players during its long and illustrious history, but we are at a loss to identify them positively. If you are able to identify either the play or any of the individuals, or even an item of furniture (preferably not as a result of either being featured on Crimewatch), we would love to hear from you.

Photo - Copyright Hastings & St, Leonards Observer circa 1950s

Copyright Hastings & St. 
   Leonards   Observer   circa   1950s

1. These two photographs are clearly from the same production. The presence of Bet Gallop dates it to 1955 or after (or possibly the Spring of 1954 as we have no programme for that) while the small stage suggests that it pre-dates Bonaventure (Autumn 1957) which, according to the review, took place on a newly enlarged stage.

My best guess at this stage is The Two Miss Hemingways , which was staged in the Spring of 1957. The cast list for this play is shown below.

Bert Gallop here shares the stage with eight women. If my hypothesis is correct, the only person missing is David Beeching, who also directed the play. Perhaps he was behind the camera. Can anyone identify any of the ladies?

Gladys Pollitt Elizabeth Neville
Mrs. Gilmour Alex Mailer
Bob Lindsey Bert Gallop
Hazel Royd Marjorie Vandervord
Linda Carson Dee Beeching
Steven Warren David Beeching
Mrs. Addison Judy Corson
Miss Tranter Elsie Stevens
Miss Hemingway Doris Taylor-Smith
Miss Lucy Gwen Wedgewood


Mrs. Withers, the Charwoman Bess Graves
Marion Butterworth Lydia Perry
Gay Butterworth, her sister-in-law Lila Garrard
Pelham Butterworth, Gay's husband Edward Garrard
Theodore Malek, a Czech David Beeching
Thelma Cressingdon Marjorie Vandervord
Hubert Batt, a Solicitor Edward Warden
Mrs. Compton Chamberlain Jade St. Cyr
Juliet Frost Dee Beeching

2. A note on the back of this picture gives the names of Jade St. Cyr and Lydia Perry. We now know that these are third and second from the right respectively.  We have also been able to identify David Beeching, Sam Warden and Lila Garrard. The count of bodies (3 male, 6 female) matches Count Your Blessings (1961), the play in which both Sam Warden and Lila Garrard made their debut. The rest of the cast, so far as we know them, correspond to the cast list (left) so I reckon this is a fairly good bet.

3. These three most distinguished looking gentlemen have been identified as (left-right) Bert Moore, Donald Hume and Percy Hodgson.

They are listed on four occasions in the same cast as follows;
1976 Will Any Gentleman?
1978 Lord Arthur Savile's Crimes
1979 The Late Christopher Bean

A comparison against the latter of these records reveals a strong likeness in Percy Hodgson's manner of dress, so The Late Christopher Bean emerges as the favourite.

4. A vicar and a schoolgirl ... that should narrow it down a bit. My guess is circa 1970s. Any ideas?
5. The earliest colour photograph that we have dates from the early 1960s, but I would estimate this one to be around the 1970s to early 80 ... certainly pre-1984. Can you identify the production, or any of the cast? Somebody has suggested that the lady on the left might be Audrey Rayner ... is my informant correct?

6. I am led to believe that this lovely lady is Joan French, but can anyone date the picture, or identify the play?

7. It's not a great picture, but we might as well try to identify it anyway - believed to be 1983 or earlier.