Lake View Drama & Social Club

Lake View Drama & Social Club

Prologue -Is anything being done for the Youth of Felbridge?

The story of the Lake View Drama & Social Club begins with the Felbridge Evening Institute and Youth Group that was established by Ben Hopper in 1945. The Youth Group had a minimum age limit of 13 years and 9 months, and initially met at Felbridge School but quickly moved to the Felbridge Institute. The Evening Institute offered courses in skills and crafts, such as needlework, dressmaking, working with plastics, leather working and shoe repairing, whilst the Youth Group offered competitive activities, such as billiards, snooker, table tennis, and drama. Many of the evening class students were recently released servicemen. Shortly after its formation, the dramatic section of the Evening Institute and Youth Group entered a Surrey Drama Competition with a published sketch set in a theatre box office. Miss Betty Warren of Rowplatt Lane produced it. Dramatic production soon passed from Miss Betty Warren to Mrs Effie Charlesworth, when Betty left for Canada to marry her Canadian soldier fiancé. In January 1947, the dramatic section of the Evening Institute and Youth Group gave their first pantomime, ‘Robin Hood & Maid Marian’, at the Felbridge Institute. The production attracted the largest audience seen in Felbridge for many years and the money raised from the two performances went towards the Institute Welfare Fund. The production was also repeated at the Crawley Down Village Hall in aid of the Crawley Down Welcome Home Fund.

The success of the dramatic section was again repeated in January 1948, with their second pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’, this time written and produced by Effie Charlesworth. Success and circumstances led to a change of emphasis towards drama within the Felbridge Evening Institute and Youth Group that was to see the formation of a local ‘institution’ that was to last for over thirty years in Felbridge and the community.

Act I
Scene I– In the Beginning

Building on the success of the dramatic productions, some of the members of the Felbridge Evening Institute and Youth Group decided to break away and form the Lake View Drama & Social Club. The Club, under the sole guidance of Effie Charlesworth, took its name from the road in Furnace Wood in which she lived and from where she ran the local shop, writing their scripts between serving customers. The Club held their first meeting on 3rd November 1948 at the Felbridge Scout Hall, Stream Park. With rehearsals underway in the Scout Hall, the Club’s first production was performed at the Felbridge Institute on 11th November 1948. The concert, produced by Effie Charlesworth, was called ‘Christmas Crackers’ and included black-out sketches, singing, instrumentals, tap-dancing and ballet solos, with all the performers and behind scene workers under the age of twenty-one.

The audience was also invited to take part in one sketch, assisted by Effie Charlesworth, Vernon Parker and Daphne Wilson. The concert proved to be a big hit with the residents of Felbridge with all the proceeds being ploughed back into the community in aid of the Felbridge Village Fete Fund, that was to be held in the summer of 1949. The concert proved so popular that it was repeated again at Crawley Down and formed the entertainment for the East Grinstead Red Cross Society’s Children’s Christmas Party.

Scene II – Rules, Regulations and the Official Stuff

With the formation of the Lake View Drama & Social Club it was essential to establish a committee and set out the rules and regulations to run the Club. The first committee was set up in December 1948 and consisted of Effie Charlesworth as Chairman and Producer, Pamela Charlwood as Treasurer and Margaret Pentecost as Secretary, assisted by Vernon Parker and Tony Jones. One of the first functions of the committee was to organise the Club’s Christmas Party held at the Felbridge Institute.

Rules, in the early stages of the Lake View Drama & Social Club, included that members had to be over seventeen years of age and had to be proposed and seconded before joining the Club, and the subscription was set at 3d a week. Owing to several breakages the rule ‘Any Member wilfully damaging any property belonging to the Club, or to any Member, is liable to be asked to leave the Club’, was quickly introduced. Then on 8th December 1949, a set of club Rules were formulated and produced on 14th December 1949.
1 Members to be 17 years of age.
2 Prospective Members must be proposed and seconded, in their absence, before joining the Club.
3 Membership fee 2/6d per annum.
4 Weekly subscriptions 6d.
5 Persistent misconduct by any member of the Club will cause them to be asked to leave.
6 Any Member who undertakes a part in Shows will be expected to attend regularly, unless they have a reasonable excuse.
7 Any Member wilfully damaging any property belonging to the club, or to any Member, is liable to be asked to leave the Club.
8 All profits made by the Club will be donated to charities etc., and no personal gains will be made by any Member of the Club.

The initial rules were revised and corrected on 28th January 1954, with all wording referring to ‘leave’ re-written as ‘resign from’, and the following rules were amended.
1 Members to be 15 years of age.
2 Prospective Members must be proposed and seconded, in their absence, before joining the Club. One nominee to be a member of the Committee.
6 Any Member who undertakes a part in Shows will be expected to attend regularly.

Two years later the rules were revised and corrected again, with the last rule being introduced because of the popularity of the Club.
6 Any Member who undertakes a part in Shows will be expected to attend regularly and must attend three times a month throughout the year, unless a reasonable excuse is given to a Member of the Committee.
9 Members will be permitted to bring a Guest to the Club once per month; this may be amended to suit circumstances.
10 Club membership should not exceed forty.

To make it a democratic Club a ‘Grievance Night’ was held regularly for people to air their complaints. A ‘Suggestions Box’ was introduced to enable good ideas to be heard and voted upon, and a Sub-Committee was set up to deal with Shows, concerned with scenery, props and stage management etc.

Scene III – All in their first year!

The next production put on by the Club was in April 1949, and was called ‘Easter Eggs’. This was a programme of songs, sketches and other amusing items, produced by Mrs C, as she had affectionately become known. The proceeds from this production were split between investment in the Club and the Carnival Association.

In May 1949, it was decided that the Club should be divided into two teams under the leadership of Vernon Parker and Tony Jones who assumed the titles of Captains and Producers. The two teams would then compete annually for a drama shield that was presented to the Club by Mrs C. The teams had to arrange their own productions and the winning team would then perform their piece in one of the seasonal concerts. The first year saw Vernon Parker’s team win the ‘L.V.D. & S.C. Inter Club Drama Competition’ with a sketch called ‘Way out West’, and his team also went on to win the competition for the next two years, before the competition was dropped due to friction within the Club.

Drama was not the sole function of the Club and in June 1949, the Club entered the Felbridge Fete Procession with a decorated lorry that won Second Prize. The social side of the Club was also active with the use of the tennis court at the vicarage, loaned by Rev Hewitt, in August the Club went to Dymchurch, Kent, on their first annual outing, and in September they held an Inter-Club Table Tennis Championship.

A rehearsal then started for the presentation called ‘Michaelmas Quartet’ that was held at the Felbridge Institute in October. The production consisted of four shows in one. First there was the winning sketch of the Inter-Club Drama Competition called ‘Way out West’ performed by Vernon Parker’s team, this was followed by a short play called ‘The Cameo’, a dramatic sketch depicting the differences between modern and Victorian life. A comedy sketch called ‘Uncle Charles’ followed this and the programme concluded with an item called ‘Hawaiian Scene’ that included hula-hula dancing.

November saw the 1st Anniversary of the Club with a party held at the Felbridge Institute, along with the presentation of the Inter-Club Table Tennis Cup to Vernon Parker for winning the competition. Shortly after this the Club held its first Christmas Dinner at the Scout Hut. This was the total responsibility of David Subtil who cooked a three-course dinner, with very limited facilities, for the Club members. Finally, to end 1949, the Club held its first Annual General Meeting, re-electing Mrs C as Chairman, Pamela Charlwood as Treasurer and Margaret Pentecost as Secretary. The Committee members elected were Jim Cleverley, Mollie Good, Tony Jones, Vernon Parker and Brian Roberts.

Act II
Scene I – From Strength to Strength

January 1950 saw the next production by the Club, the pantomime Aladdin. This was presented at the Felbridge Institute and repeated at the Lingfield Colony, now St Pier’s School, to an audience of 400. The pantomime was so successful that the Club was asked to repeat it again in March at the Parish Hall in East Grinstead in aid of the Felbridge St John Ambulance Brigade. The pantomime was followed in April by their spring variety show called ‘April Antics’, at the Felbridge Institute and repeated again at The Parish Hall, East Grinstead.

In June, some of the Club members decided to try out camping at Wych Cross, this proved to be so popular that this too became an annual event. In July, the Club were asked to entertain at the Vicarage Fete to mark the 85th Anniversary of St John’s Church, with all proceeds going to the Church Fund. In August, the Club entered their Hawaiian Scene, complete with hula-hula dancing, on a decorated vehicle for the East Grinstead Carnival and gained Second Prize. In the same month they performed a short concert at Chelwood Beacon Old Peoples Home, an idea that they repeated at many other homes during their years of performing. To conclude the month of August, the Club held their second annual outing, this time to Camber Sands, Sussex.

In September, it was decided that the two Club team should be named after the local lakes, so Vernon Parker’s team were named Hedgecourt and Tony Jones’ team became known as Furnace. Hedgecourt included Terry Good, Jim Cleverley, Mollie Good, Margaret Pentecost, Pamela Parker, Janet Cleverley and Joyce Streeter. Furnace included Marion Pike, Jean Sargent, Pat Quilley, Pat Honour, Brian Roberts, John Baldwin and Anthony Bardwell. October saw the second of the Inter-Club Drama Competitions held at the Felbridge Institute. Hedgecourt team presented ‘The Bloaters’ and Furnace team presented ‘Wireless and Such Like’. The competition was close with Hedgecourt winning by just half a point. This was followed by joint participation in a show for United Nations Day. The presentation of the drama shield was held in November, followed by the start of rehearsals for the next pantomime and the year was rounded off with the Club’s 2nd Anniversary combined with the Christmas Party.

1951 proved to be yet another busy year. The annual pantomime, ‘Ali-Baba & the Forty Thieves’, was so successful that the Club were invited by Lady Kindersley to perform a variety concert at Plaw Hatch Hall. The pantomime was also repeated again in February at the Lingfield Colony and then at the Victoria Memorial Institute in aid of the Lingfield Girl Guides Association, and in March at the Parish Hall, East Grinstead. Also in March, the Club took part in a combined concert in aid of the Felbridge Institute Renovation Fund.

In April, the Club was asked back to Plaw Hatch Hall to perform another concert as well as rehearsing for the spring variety show called ‘Spring Trio’. The programme consisted of the two competition plays, ‘The Bloaters’ and ‘Wireless and Such Like’ and a revue called ‘Club Capers’. June then saw some members of the Club off on their annual camping trip.

In July 1951, the Club took part in the Pageant staged at East Court, East Grinstead. The Pageant was based on local historic events that touched East Grinstead. It was presented in six episodes between 2nd and 7th July. The Pageant began with the Prologue given by a ‘Quite Ordinary Man’ played by John Day. Episode 1 portrayed the Normans and was performed by members of the clubs and societies of Forest Row. Episode 2 portrayed Edward I and was performed by the East Grinstead Dramatic Society. Episode 3 portrayed Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s Escape of 1468 and was performed by the Felbridge WI. Episode 4 portrayed the Sussex Martyrs of 1556 and was performed by members of the clubs and societies of West Hoathly. Episode 5 portrayed the Parliamentary Election of 1640 and was also performed by members of the clubs and societies of West Hoathly. Episode 6 portrayed Highwaymen of 1770 and was performed by the Lake View Drama & Social Club. Many of the club members had to learn to ride for their performances as highwaymen! This month also saw the third annual outing of the Club, this time to Camber Sands and Hastings. The Club also moved venue in this year from the Scout Hall, that charged 2/- an hour, to the Felbridge Institute that only charged 4/- per evening, and also had better facilities.

The third and last Inter-Club Drama Competition took place in October, with the Hedgecourt team performing ‘Babes in the Wood’ and the Furnace team performing ‘Puss in Boots’. The Hedgecourt team won the competition again. November saw Mrs C being re-elected as Chairman and Douglas Roberts as Sub-Chairman at the Annual General Meeting. In December, to raise money for the Club Funds, a small party of the members spent an evening Carol Singing, and to round off another successful year the Club celebrated a combined 3rd Anniversary and Christmas party.

1952 started with the now normal pattern of Club activities, pantomime, ‘Mother Goose’, in January and the spring variety show, ‘Spring Follies’ in April, this included the first performance of the ‘Sand Dance’ by Vernon Parker and Tony Jones. This was to prove a successful number and Tony Jones had several different partners during later performances of the dance. Then came the camping weekend and the annual outing, this time to Southend-on-Sea, from Tower Bridge by paddle steamer. There was also the odd entertainment, one at Plaw Hatch Hall and another at a Garden Party held at the Felbridge Vicarage. However, it was decided that the Inter-Club Drama Competition should be dropped and there was no autumn variety show. The Club now had enough funds to purchase its own piano and an idea grew that in the future they would have their own Club hut in which to store it. September saw the marriage of Vernon Parker and Margaret Pentecost, the first of many marriages between members of the Club, for Mrs C had not only created a thriving drama club but also a local match making service! The year ended with Douglas Roberts being elected as Chairman, and the Club celebrating its 4th Anniversary.

Scene II – Coronation Year

1953 started with the pantomime season, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ that was performed at the Felbridge Institute and repeated at the Crawley Down Village Hall. A second performance was held at the Felbridge Institute, with all the proceeds going towards the village Coronation Fund, and a final performance was given at West Hoathly Village Hall. The Club were back at West Hoathly in March, when they augmented a programme of entertainment organised by the West Hoathly Players with a show called ‘Coronation Capers’, the proceeds of which went towards the Coronation Fund. In April, still in fund raising mode, members of the Club assisted with a stall for the Coronation Fair.

May saw members of the Club set off on their annual Whitsun Weekend camp at a new campsite at Nutley, and for the summer, the Club members were able to play tennis on a court made available to them by Mrs Tate of Felbridge Copse, London Road.

On 18th July 1953, the village of Felbridge held its Coronation Celebrations within the grounds of Felbridge School. Several members of the Club were asked to enter the Fancy Dress Competition and enter into a comic cricket match. They also performed a short variety concert, at which Mrs C played the piano, although the piano was generally played by Lorna Faraday for the Club. On winding up the Coronation Fund, the Coronation Committee had a surplus of £100 and they thought it should be passed to the Felbridge Institute Executive Committee as a start towards the cost of adding extra rooms to the Felbridge Institute. So the ambitious project to raise money for the extension of much needed extra space at the Institute got underway and the rooms, known as the Coronation Rooms, were finally completed in 1958.

1953 ended with another couple, Elsie Bush and Reg Houghton, tying the knot. Then there was the Annual General Meeting, and the Club’s combined 5th Anniversary and Christmas Party.

Scene III – The President leaves for Canada

1954 kicked off with the pantomime ‘Babes in the Wood’ at the Felbridge Institute, with repeat performances at the Lingfield Colony, Crawley Down Village Hall and then another at the Felbridge Institute. The spring variety show ‘Spring Surprises’ was held in April. Mrs C produced the revue, and with the exception of the one-act play ‘The Geyser’, she wrote the entire script. The remainder of the year included a trip to the Adelphi Theatre, London to see the show ‘You’ll be lucky’, theatre trips now being a regular feature of the social side of the Club. There was also the introduction of darts and billiards, along with the table tennis and, in the summer, tennis. There was the annual outing, this time to Bognor Regis, a short entertainment at the Vicarage Fete and the Annual General Meeting when it was decided that Mrs C should be made President of the Club. The year concluded with the combined 6th Anniversary and Christmas party at the Felbridge Institute.

1955 entered the pantomime season with ‘Dick Whittington & his Cat’, presented at the Felbridge Institute, also at Crawley Down, East Grinstead, Lingfield Colony and repeated again at the Felbridge Institute. The spring variety show was presented in May and was called ‘Dancing in Spring’. Then in June Mrs C announced that she would be emigrating to Canada. For the past six years Mrs C had written the scripts for the annual pantomime and provided the dialogue for the variety shows and sketches that the Club had performed. The Club members got together, pooled their talents and organised a grand send-off party for Mrs C. This was held at the Felbridge Institute where the Club presented its first collection of songs and sketches without the help of their founder. As a leaving present the Club members presented Mrs C with a gold wrist watch, who in turn presented the Club with a record player and the promise that she would continue to write scripts in Canada and send them back to the Club.

The camping weekends proved so popular with Club members that in 1955 they spent three weekends away at the farm site in Nutley, with the summer outing to Bognor Regis. Not only did Mrs C leave the Club this year but also in October the pianist resigned and was replaced by Nora Waddington. The year concluded with the Annual General Meeting and the combined 7th Anniversary and Christmas Party.

Scene IV – The Show Must Go On

Despite losing their founder and organiser, the Club presented their seventh pantomime, ‘Puss in Boots’ in January 1956. Mrs C was true to her word, and wrote the script for the pantomime on board ship, crossing the Atlantic to Canada. This was duly sent back to England to be performed at the Felbridge Institute, the Lingfield Colony, with a repeat performance at the Felbridge Institute, then the Parish Halls, East Grinstead, and a final performance at the Sunshine Home for Blind Babies.

The remainder of the year was fairly quiet, apart from performing in a joint entertainment organised by the Institute Committee. Most of the emphasis for this year was placed on the social side of the Club that included a trip to the Cambridge Theatre, London to see ‘The Reluctant Debutante’. June saw the marriage between Tony Jones and Marion Pike. There was the annual Whitsun weekend camp to Nutley and annual summer outing this time to Southend-on-Sea. The Club also entered a float in the East Grinstead Carnival entitled ‘The Lido, Old and New’ depicting swimming fashion old and new, and it duly rained for the occasion! It was also decided that half an hour of each Club Evening would be set aside for members to learn Ballroom Dancing, taught by one of the members, Pam Parker. In September preparations were underway for the next pantomime, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, with Mrs C writing the parts and posting them from Canada. The year concluded with the Annual General Meeting and the combined 8th Anniversary and Christmas Party being held at the Felbridge Institute.

In 1957, three performances of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ were presented at the Felbridge Institute, followed by one at the Lingfield Colony. To branch in a different direction of entertainment a skiffle group was formed by various members of the Club in March. By now the traditional spring and autumn variety shows had been dropped to only the spring, with a variety show called ‘Nuts in May’. This included the skiffle group, the ‘Wedding Group’, ‘Gypsy Scene’, tap dancing and a medley of songs. Small groups of Members were now also performing entertainments for various functions in the local area.

In June, members of the Club spent Whitsun weekend camping at Nutley, and the annual summer outing was to Cuckmere Haven. In October, the Club combined with two other organisations for a concert at the Felbridge Institute in aid of the Coronation Room Building Fund. This included the skiffle group and the ‘Wedding Group’. In December, the ‘Sand Dance’, immortalised by Nigel Webber and Tony Jones, was performed as part of the entertainment for the annual staff social of the East Grinstead branch of Louis G Ford held at the Whitehall. The year ended with the Annual General Meeting and the position of Producer being given to Tony Jones.

In 1958, the pantomime season presented ‘Goody Two-Shoes’, written by Mrs C in Canada and produced by Tony Jones. Then in May, the Club combined with the Felbridge Darby & Joan Club, the Parochial Church Council and the Felbridge WI at the Felbridge Institute to present the evening’s entertainment for the opening of the Coronation Rooms. This was the culmination of five years fund raising and building work to mark the Queen’s Coronation of 1953, and Mrs Back, wife of Mr R H Back, Chairman of the Felbridge Parish Council, opened the Coronation Rooms. The Club performed songs from different parts of Britain with the scene set in a travel agency. A Vicarage Garden Party at which they were asked to perform the ‘Wedding Group’ shortly followed this, and June saw the marriage of Brian Roberts and Jean Sargent. The Club also entered the East Grinstead Carnival procession. The Whitsun and August Bank holiday camps at Nutley quickly followed. The Annual General Meeting saw Douglas Roberts re-elected as Chairman and Tony Jones re-elected as Producer.

The year ended with the club celebrating its 10th Anniversary and Christmas Dinner held at the Oak Room at the Felbridge Hotel. Mrs C had arranged for all Club members to receive a buttonhole and sent a letter that was read out at the proceedings. She paid tribute to the late Vernon Parker who had died suddenly and who had always shown much enthusiasm for everything connected with the Club. She ended the letter with good news; she and her husband had booked a passage back for a holiday in June 1959 with a short holiday in the Felbridge area.

Scene I – The President Returns, briefly

The 1959 pantomime was ‘Cinderella’, written by Mrs C in Canada and produced by Tony Jones with the musical arrangements by Norah Waddington. Four performances were given at the Felbridge Institute, followed by one at the Lingfield Colony and another at West Hoathly. The East Grinstead Courier review for this year sums up the traditional pantomime produced by the Lake View Drama & Social Club: ‘Every year this virile organisation gives the village a rip-roaring pantomime complete with good and bad fairies, dames, shapely principal boys, music, songs and dancing’. Just to make sure they had done it right, members of the Club went on a coach trip to the Coliseum, London, to see ‘Cinderella’!

To celebrate the brief return of their founder, the Club held a dinner and social at the Felbridge Hotel, where Mrs C was guest of honour. The evening’s programme of entertainment consisted of sketches, songs and dance numbers, that included, the ‘Marching Routine’, ‘Sand Dance’, ‘Triplets’, ‘Four Seasons’, ‘Hawaiian Dance’, the skiffle group and the ‘Wedding Group’, numbers that rekindled the enthusiasm that had set the Club on its feet under the guidance of Mrs C in 1948.

The remainder of the year was fairly quiet, although on the social front, badminton was introduced after the acquisition of two rackets and the use of a donated strawberry net! In October, a small group of Members were asked to perform at the Felbridge Harvest Social; they put on the short sketch called ‘The Geyser’. The end of the year saw the Annual General Meeting and Anniversary/Christmas dinner.

1960 opened with the pantomime ‘Aladdin’, written by Mrs C and produced by Tony Jones. Shortly after, the pianist, Nora Waddington, resigned and was replaced by Doreen Knight. September saw the marriages of two couples of Club members, that of Jim Cleverley to Pam Roberts, and Don Whittington to Pam Parker. In October, the Club were asked to take part in an evening of joint entertainment for the retirement of Charlie Wheeler, a long serving member of the Institute Committee. Apart from the odd entertainment, little time was now spent performing, as many members had by now married and had family commitments to take into account. In fact, 1961 did not open with the traditional pantomime at all, and the community of Felbridge had to wait until February for ‘Entertainment’ to be performed. Then in March, a small group of Members performed an entertainment for the Civil Defence Group.

Several Members expressed their concern in the decline in the social side of the Club, and attempts were made to liven up the activities. The outcome of this was the decision to outline a programme of events at the beginning of each year. These included, walks and rambles, paper chases, barbecues, boating, car rallies, bingo, table tennis tournaments, rounders, swimming, skating, ten pin bowling, stock car racing and go-karting, as well as the continued theatre trips.

In the summer it was decided to enter a float in the East Grinstead Carnival procession, which was unfortunately unplaced. Then in October a variety concert was held at West Hoathly.

Scene II - The Second Generation

Although the Club had started for the youth of Felbridge, it had grown and matured at the same pace as its original members, save a few younger brothers and sisters who had joined over the years. By the 1960’s many original members had paired up and were married with children of their own and the pantomime that opened in January 1962 included some of the second generation Lake View Drama performers. The pantomime production was ‘Beauty & the Beast’, written by Mrs C and produced by Tony Jones. This saw the debut of Susan Beale, Judith Comber and Stephonie Jones, although this also saw the minimum age limit of fifteen years waived, as the youngest performer was only four years old!

In the summer of 1962, the Club again entered the East Grinstead Carnival with a float depicting countries of the world. Members of the Club were also asked to provide entertainment for a group of Austrian students that were over for July and August. Also in the summer, six members of the Club spent a week on holiday in Brixham, Devon and were later joined by three more for a second week in Anglesey, Wales. Then in November, they held a bonfire party (that didn’t pass without incident) and barbecue at The Birches, where they used to race their go-karts.

1963 saw the production of ‘Mother Goose’ postponed until February. The pantomime was written by Trudy West and produced and directed by Derek Smith and included something that was rarely seen in amateur productions at that time, the use of ultra-violet in the production of a hand ballet. In the summer of 1963, ten members of the Club spent two weeks on holiday in Cattalica, Italy.

1964 saw the performance of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, produced by Tony Jones. This pantomime also included the use of ultra-violet in the woodland dance performed by Kathleen Gladman, Susan Beale and Stephonie Jones. As the social events had expanded and the annual camping trips to Nutley had by now ceased, it was decided to give their unwanted camping equipment to the 1st Felbridge Scout troop.

There was no pantomime produced in 1965, but a variety concert was put on in late spring called ‘Spring into Summer’, which included the ‘Sand Dance’, this time performed by Tony Jones and Norman Woodward. There was also a show in July at West Hoathly that was supported by the drama group of the St Luke’s Women’s Club, produced by Mrs Peters. This was followed in January 1966 by the pantomime ‘Puss in Boots’, written by Mrs C, and presented at the new Felbridge Village Hall that had opened in October 1965. After the success of ‘Puss in Boots’, the Club presented ‘Review 66’ in May. This did not pass without incident and could have proved to be useful material for a future review. The show was due to start at 7.45 pm, but on arrival at the hall it was discovered that there was a power cut. A phone call later and they had been promised limited power by Seeboard. However, by 7.40 there was still no power, so the Club members told the audience that the show was off and returned their ticket money. Minutes before the show was due to start the power was returned and departing visitors were called back, the cast hurriedly took their stage positions and in true show business tradition, the show went on! This was the first revue that the club had put on in nearly ten years and it proved to be a tremendous success. In July, they formed part of the entertainment of the civic concert that was put on in honour of French delegates from Bour-de-Peage Town Twinning. Numbers included, ‘Boots’ dance routine, songs and a musical hand ballet in ultra-violet called ‘Tijuana Taxi’. Songs included La Mer, sung in French by Pam Coleman and a song made famous by Edith Piath, this time sung in English. It was decided that their programme should be compered in French and English, with Patrick Pinot who was French, speaking in French and Pat Quilley in English.

This was quickly followed by a short entertainment for the United Women’s Social Club and a show at West Hoathly. Later that year they entertained at the Heatherly Cheshire Home, with a repeat of the ‘Review 66’, and in November performed in a joint entertainment to welcome the new residents of Whittington College who had recently moved to Felbridge. This included, ‘Tijuana Taxi’, and a selection of solo songs and show songs.

1967 saw the annual pantomime, ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’, written by Mrs C and produced by Tony Jones. It was during this pantomime season that the Club lost another founder member, namely Jim Cleverley who was to have performed in ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’ that year. The year also marked the end of an era, as it was to be the last pantomime written by Mrs C, founder of the Club, for several years to come. It was also a time to reflect on the success of the pantomime season. The Adeline Genée Theatre, which had recently opened on the outskirts of East Grinstead, caused great concern as it too produced an annual pantomime and consequently competition for the annual Club production.

Later in the year members of the Club put on a short entertainment for the United Women’s Club, that was followed by performing in another joint entertainment for the Town Twinning show that included an ultra violet hand ballet and the song ‘Paris Café by Night’. In the summer, due to concern for the dwindling number of members, it was decided to put on an Open Evening as a recruitment drive. The show included an ultra violet hand ballet, the ‘Drunk Sketch’, ‘Improvisation Sketch’ and ‘Harmony’. This show was later repeated for the Heatherly Cheshire Home.

Scene I – New Era

1968 started with the pantomime ‘Cinderella’, written and produced by a non-Club member Peter Teasel, being his first attempt at script writing and stage production. Unfortunately things did not run too smoothly with some of the cast hit with flu for the first night, and a temporary pianist, Mrs Wakeling, also had to be found to stand in for Doreen Knight. Despite the flu setback, the cast carried on with two successful performances to packed houses. By now the number of second generation Lake View Drama performers had also increased from the original three children. Two brothers, Nicholas and Jonathan Jones, along with Stephen Owden, son of the late Vernon Parker, and Sarah Dumphey, joined Stephonie Jones as the child performers.

Later in 1968, members of the Club performed in ‘Hillariety 68’ a programme of variety entertainment given by amateur performers from various parts of Sussex, at West Hoathly. Johnny Day, a former producer and director for BBC and Granada television attended the show, on what he described as ‘a talent-spotting mission’. However, the spring entertainment that was to have been put on was cancelled due to lack of enthusiasm and it was agreed not to consider putting on any full-length shows other than the pantomime, apart from the occasional cabaret. This year also saw the resignation of pianist Doreen Knight, and after some searching a replacement was found in Douglas Wragg.

With the first production under his belt, Peter Teasel set about writing the pantomime for 1969. He decided to produce something with a little more originality and came up with a pantomime based on the nursery rhyme, ‘Bo-Peep’. This was the longest production yet tackled by the Club at over two hours, with seven scenes and a cast of twenty-eight. By now the numbers had been swelled by the involvement of the second-generation Lake View Drama performers that included Stephonie, Nicholas and Jonathan Jones, Stephen Owden, Sarah Dumphey, Mark and Nicola Arnold, and Gillian and Alison Roberts. In the summer, the Club enjoyed a visit from Mrs C and they held a wine and cheese party in her honour that was well supported by the Members.

The pantomime of 1970 returned to a more traditional tale with Peter Teasel writing the script for ‘Robin Hood’ that was produced by Tony Jones. In October, a small group of Members performed a one-hour show for the WI and later for the East Grinstead Old Peoples Home.

In 1971, Peter Teasel wrote the script for the not widely known pantomime ‘Old King Cole’ which was produced by Tony Jones and Stan Trow. This was to be the last script written for the Club by Peter Teasel who then went on to become involved with the Adeline Gen¾e Theatre and more recently, the Chequer Mead Arts Centre. Later in 1971 it was decided to review the Club rules with rule 3 being amended to ‘Membership annual subscription to be decided by the committee and payable from 1st May to 30th April’. In November, a small group of Members took part in a joint entertainment for the old people of the East Grinstead district that was organised by the Rotary Club, numbers included a hand ballet and songs from Mary Poppins.

Scene II – The President Returns, again

1972 was to prove to be a busy year. It started with the pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty’ written by Mrs C and produced by Tony Jones. This saw the continued trend of running at a loss that had occurred for the past few years, in general due to the competition of the Adeline Genée Theatre and increased cost of the Felbridge Hall, so it was suggested that the next pantomime should be the last. Members of the Club presented an entertainment at the West Hoathly WI social that followed in May. Then two days later, on 13th May, they performed in the East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival gaining an Honours Certificate and winning the Robert Sear’s Cup for the best one-act play in the adult open section, the ‘Playgoers’ produced by Stan Trow. Then in June, members of the Club performed in an evening of combined entertainment to display the newly acquired lighting system for the Village Hall. The lights were a product of three years fund raising and were fitted by Tony Weaver and some of the Club members. Also during 1972, members of the Club performed songs from ‘Camelot’, Four Seasons, and an ultra violet Indian dance as part of an evening of entertainment for the old people of the East Grinstead district, again organised by the Rotary Club.

1973 saw the year begin with the pantomime ‘Aladdin’ produced by Tony Jones. It was decided to enter the East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival again this year and the Club took Third Place with ‘Among Those Present’ written by Aubrey Feist. In July, they performed several numbers as part of the Town Twinning concert that included, ‘Four Seasons’- April Showers, In the good old summer time, Autumn leaves and Sleigh ride, and the song ‘It’s never too late’ sung by Val Trow. The Club then celebrated its 25th Anniversary in November. The celebration, held at the Village Hall, featured a 2¾-hour programme made up of scenes from past productions. Former Club members were invited to give repeat performances of parts they had played before, with the whole event scripted by Mrs C, the founder of the Club. The aim of the evening, along with the anniversary celebrations, was to say thank you for the support the Club had enjoyed from the community of Felbridge since its conception in 1948. After the show the committee threw a surprise champagne party for the cast.

The Club did not perform an annual pantomime in 1974. Later in the year they performed a short entertainment for the residents of Copse Close, East Grinstead that included the ‘Doctor Sketch’, ‘Boots’, ‘Couple of Swells’, the ‘Wedding Group’, ‘The Playgoers’ and songs from Mary Poppins. They also entered the East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival with ‘When the old cock crows’ but this time were not placed. It was also decided that the Club would perform a pantomime the next year.

1975 saw the production of ‘Dick Whittington’, the script again written by Mrs C, an apt choice of subject considering that Whittington College, founded by Dick Whittington, had recently moved to Felbridge. This saw the debut of yet another offspring of one of the Club members, Angela Pelling, who stood in as The Cat when Rona Bingham had to pull out through illness. Later in the year a small group of Members provided the entertainment for the Multiple Sclerosis Christmas party, numbers included, the Sailors Hornpipe, Couple of Swells, songs from Oliver and ‘Fed up and Frustrated Fairy’.

The Final¾

1976 saw the pantomime ‘Humpty Dumpty’, written by Mrs C and produced by Tony Jones. The pantomime was well received by the audience but for the first year ever, received mixed reviews from the press. The East Grinstead Observer reported the production as ‘a huge success’, whilst the East Grinstead Courier reflected that ‘the days when a small group could be counted on to entertain the under tens in its own parochial but intimate style, seems alas, to be gone’.

This was the last pantomime performed by the Lake View Drama & Social Club before they decided to hang up their costumes and grease paint. However, they continued to perform short entertainments and in July put on a show at West Hoathly that included the ‘Marching Routine’, ‘ ’ole in my bucket’, songs from Oliver and the ‘Fed up and frustrated fairy’. They also entered the East Grinstead Carnival procession with the float based on the theme of ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and took Second Prize. This brought the curtain down on nearly thirty years of pantomime entertainment provided by the Lake View Drama & Social Club that had brought enjoyment to successive generations of the Felbridge community.

However, members of the Club continued to entertain well in the 1990’s by providing short shows and concerts that they took out on tour, or as part of variety shows. These included taking part in ‘Night of Entertainment’ in 1976, a variety show to help raise money for the Felbridge Village Hall extension, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1977 and the 50th Anniversary of VE Day Celebrations in 1995. Member of the Club also toured many homes for the disabled and elderly, which included the Handicap Home in Northgate, Crawley, and OAP homes in Forest Row and West Hoathly, Spring Copse, East Grinstead and Orchard Court, Lingfield. The social side of the Club also continued with trips to see shows and sausage sizzles held regularly at Newhaven during the summer months.


To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lake View Drama & Social Club a reunion was held in October 1987, (one year before the official formation of the Club). The event was held at the Felbridge Village Hall and was not without incident, namely The Hurricane that struck two days before the event. Having said that ‘the show must go on’ and a large number of past members attended, including Mrs Charlesworth.

Curtain Call

To celebrate the 90th birthday of Mrs Charlesworth, founder of the Lake View Drama & Social Club, a reunion was held in August 2001, to which all traceable founding members were invited to attend. The reunion was held at Llanberis Farm, Crawley Down Road, the home of Tony Jones and over forty founding members attended the lunchtime buffet.

Production and Acknowledgements

Finally, after more than fifty years of performing, most remaining Club members were happy to continue the occasional social but had long since hung up their costumes and put away their grease paint. However, four long-standing members of the Club, Eddie Everest, Tony Jones, Mollie Pelling and Pat Quilley, were persuaded to come out of retirement and perform a short skit in January 2002. The topic was one that they were quite familiar with, that of growing old, entitled ‘Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional!

Finally, many thanks to all Club members who were able to help with dates, information and memories.

The Felbridge Archive now contains over 100 photographs related to the Lake View Drama & Social Club along with programmes, reviews, scripts and minute books.

The Cast
Jean Ansley. John Ansley. Bob Argent. Phillipa Argent, formerly Cook. Ann Arnold. Rita Arnold. Bernadette Ayres. Delia Ayres. Phil Backshaw. Vivian Backshaw, formerly Brookes. Evelyn Bailey. Lyn Bailey. Bruce Baker. David Baldwin. John Baldwin. Christine Barber. Anthony Bardwell. Michael Bardwell. John Barter. Andrew Bassett. Philip Bassett. Maureen Bell. Doug Bingham. Wendy Bingham, formerly Coles. Rona Bingham, formerly Watts. Roy Bingham. Carol Boorman. Derek Boorman. Arthur Brooker. Anne Carpenter. Christine Carpenter. Sharon Chambers. Effie Charlesworth. Pamela Charlwood. Joyce Chewter, formerly Streeter. Janet Cleverley. Jim Cleverley. Marion Cliff. Leon Coleman. Pamela Coleman, formerly Cleverley, formerly Roberts. Carol Collins. Marshall Cooper alias Dillon, Levoy, Refoy. Ann Cuthill. Bill Darling. Dorothy Davey. Eddie Ellis. Eddie Everest. Doreen Faulkner. Jackie Finn. Kathleen Fowler. Diane Giles. Una Gillman. Kathleen Gladman. Terry Good. Mick Greenaway. Jane Honour. Pat Honour.Vernon ‘Buster’ Honour. Mavis Hopper. Elsie Houghton, formerly Bush. Marjorie Houghton. Reg Houghton. Jose Housman. Marion Jones, formerly Pike. Tony Jones. Christopher Kenward. David Lawrence. Norman Lawrence. Wendy Lawrence. Mollie Madgewick. Pamela Mitchell. Tony Mitchell. Sylvia Moore. Mary Newson. Rosemary Newson. Suzy Novak. Michael Nunnerley. Margaret Owden, formerly Parker, formerly Pentecost. Ian Pannel. Brian Parker. Jean Parker. Vernon Parker. Mollie Pelling, formerly Good. Colin Peters. Pauline Philpot. Peter Pollard. Janet Pope. Marion Poplett. Ernie Prevett. Dillis Puddephatt. Pat Quilley. Gordon Rayfield. Billy Richardson. Sheila Richardson. Brian Roberts. Jean Roberts, formerly Sargent. Evelyn Sargent. Barbara Saunders. J Shrimpton. Daphne Simmonds. Ann Smith. Derek ‘Smudge’ Smith. Stephanie Smith, formerly Bassett. Jeff Sturgess. Betty Subtil. David Subtil. Peter Teasel. Jean Tompsett. Cony Towes. Malcolm Townsend. Stan Trow. Valerie Trow. Alan Vallance. Brian Walder. Jean Walder, formerly Coles. Maureen Walder. Lesley Ann Watson. Jan Weaver. Kay Webb. Edna Webber, formerly Pentecost. Nigel Webber. David Wedge. Sylvia Wedge. Peter Weller. Janet Westgate. Pam Whittington, formerly Parker. Don Whittington. Daphne Wilson. Nick Winchester. Angela Woodward, formerly Wharburton. David Woodward. Judy Woodward, formerly Whatmough. Norman Woodward. Marlene Wootten. Winnie Yates. Paul Young. Veronica ?

Karen Arnold. Mark Arnold. Nicola Arnold. Susan Beale. Simon Bingham. Hazel Chewter. Karen Chewter. Judith Comber. Sarah Dumphey. Gina Graysmark. Jonathan Jones. Michael Jones. Nicholas Jones. Stephonie Jones. Stephen Owden. Susan Owden. Angela Pelling. Alison Roberts. Gillian Roberts. Jenny Saunders. Susan Weatherley.

Script Writers & Producers
Mrs Effie Charlesworth. Tony Jones. Vernon Parker. Pat Quilley. Derek ‘Smudge’ Smith. Peter Teasel. Stan Trow. Trudy West.

Pianist & Musical Arranger
Pauline Brown. Mrs Effie Charlesworth. Mrs Gulliver. Miss Lorna Faraday. Doreen Knight. Mary Newson. Brian Roberts. Jean Roberts, formerly Sargent. Alan Vallance. Norah Waddington. Mrs Wakeling. Douglas Wragg.

Make-up & Costume
Evelyn Bailey. Mrs W Baldwin. Rona Bingham, formerly Watts. Wendy Bingham, formerly Coles. Mrs Brookes. Miss K Creasey. Diane Giles. Kathleen Gladman. Pam Hedgecock. Mrs F Honour. Mrs V. Honour. Mrs Marjorie Jones. Doreen Knight. Mrs Margaret Parker. Gusti Poole. Mrs Bertha Sargent. Bette Thomas. Margaret Thomas. Valerie Trow. Mrs Watts. Edna Webber, formerly Pentecost. Sylvia Wedge. Mrs Whatmough.

Back Stage & Support Staff
John Ansley. Phil Backshaw. David Baldwin. Ray Barber. Mrs Coralie Bardwell. Michael Bardwell. Cynthia Bassett. Don Beale. Roy Bingham. Derek Boorman. Anne Buckeridge. Jack Carmack. Sally Carmack. Jim Chewter. Jim Cleverley. Mick Cleverley. Leon Coleman. Marshall Cooper. Hazel Daniels. George Darling. Diane Giles. Michael Hall. Alan Henton. Ricky Honour. Reg Houghton. Stephonie Jones. Tony Jones. Gwen Killick. John Lavery. G Lewinson. Michael Maynard. Enid Moon. Michael Nunnelly. Brian Parker. Tony Pattenden. Brian Pepper. Tony Pepper. Colin Peters. Marjorie Pollard. Peter Pollard. Ernie Prevett. Pat Quilley. Wilfred Quilley. Douglas Roberts. Jim Shilston. Ann Taylor. June Taylor. Peter Teasel. Alan Tulett. Maureen Turner. Chas Vaughan. Kathleen Wadham. Jean Walder, formerly Coles. Lesley Ann Watson. John Waymark. Nigel Webber. Peter Weller. Derek Wilson. Charles White. Don Whittington. David Woodward. Marlene Wootten. Stephen Young.

Scenery & Lighting
Bob Argent. David Baldwin. John Barter. Alan Bingham. Gary Bullen. John Edge. Stephen Graysmark. Mr Farmer. Alan Henton. Norman Hipperson. Ken Housman. Stephonie Jones. Don King. Brian Parker. Trevor Taylor. Ron Tulett. Tony Weaver. Dick Webb. Don Whittington.

Mrs Elsie Quilley. Mrs Edna Roberts. Mrs Bertha Sargent. Mrs Smith. Betty Subtil. Esther Wood.

All names are in alphabetical order and not order of appearance. (Apologies for any missed)

List of Productions by the Lake View Drama & Social Club
1948 – ‘Christmas Crackers’
1949 – ‘Easter Eggs’
Drama Shield – including ‘Way out West’
‘Michaelmas Quartet’ – ‘Way out West’, ‘The Cameo’, ‘Uncle Charles’ and ‘Hawaiian Scene’
1950 – ‘Aladdin’, pantomime
‘April Antics’ – including ‘Psycho Sketch’, ‘Four Seasons’ and ‘Court Sketch’
85th Anniversary of St John’s Church Fete – ‘Do You Remember?’
Drama Shield – ‘The Bloaters’ and ‘Wireless and Such Things’
United Nations Day Show – part of the entertainments
1951 – ‘Ali-Baba’, pantomime
Variety Concert – ‘Miscellany’ as part of the entertainments
‘Spring Trio’ – including ‘Bloaters’, ‘Wireless and Such Things’ and ‘Club Capers’
East Grinstead Pageant – ‘Highwaymen’
Drama Shield – ‘Babes in the Wood’ and ‘Puss in Boots’
1952 – ‘Mother Goose’, pantomime
‘Spring Follies’- including ‘Sage-brush Sadie’, ‘Desert Island’, ‘Old Man’s Beard’ ‘Pedro the Fisherman’ and ‘European Tour’
1953 – ‘Humpty Dumpty’, pantomime
Variety Concert – ‘Coronation Capers’ as part of the entertainments
Variety Concert – ‘Coronation Celebrations’
1954 – ‘Babes in the Wood’, pantomime
‘Spring Surprises’- including ‘The Geyser’, ‘Triplets’ and ‘The Jones Boy’
1955 – ‘Dick Whittington’, pantomime
‘Dancing in Spring’ – including ‘Four Little Sisters’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Naughty Twenties’
1956 – ‘Puss in Boots’, pantomime
Show organised by Institute Committee – part of entertainments
1957 – ‘Sleeping Beauty’, pantomime
‘Musical Evening’ – including ‘The Wedding Group’ and Skiffle Group
Christmas Entertainment- including ‘The Sand Dance’
1958 – ‘Goody Two Shoes’, pantomime
Opening of Coronation Rooms Concert- including ‘Around Britain Tour’ as part of the entertainments
1959 – ‘Cinderella’, pantomime
Harvest Social Entertainment – including ‘Old Geyser’
1960 – ‘Aladdin’, pantomime
1961 – East Grinstead Civil Defence Entertainment – including ‘Hula Hula Dance’
‘Entertainment’- including ‘Thank Heaven for Little Girls’, ‘Butterfingers’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’
Variety Show – including ‘The Sand Dance’
1962 – ‘Beauty & the Beast’, pantomime
1963 – ‘Mother Goose’, pantomime
1964 – ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, pantomime
1965 – ‘Spring into Summer’- including ‘The Sand Dance’
West Hoathly Show – part of the entertainments
1966 – ‘Puss in Boots’, pantomime
‘Review ‘66’- including ‘Hula Hula Dance’ and ‘Landing on the Moon’
Town Twinning Civic Concert – including ‘Tijuana Taxi’ as part of the entertainments
United Women’s Social Club Entertainment
West Hoathly Show
Heatherly Cheshire Home – repeat of ‘Review 66’
Welcome to Whittington College Entertainment – as part of the entertainments
1967 – ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, pantomime
Town Twinning Civic Concert – including ‘La Mer’ as part of the entertainments
United Women’s Social Club Entertainment
Town Twinning Civic Concert – including UV hand ballet as part of the entertainments
Open Evening of Entertainment – including UV hand ballet and ‘Improvisation Sketch’
Heatherly Cheshire Home Entertainment – repeat of above
1968 – ‘Cinderella’, pantomime
‘Hillariety “68” ’ – including ‘Never on a Sunday’ and ‘Now or Never’ as part of the entertainments
1969 – ‘Bo-Peep’, pantomime
1970 – ‘Robin Hood’, pantomime
WI Entertainment
East Grinstead Old People’s Entertainment
1971 – ‘Old King Cole’, pantomime
Rotary Club Entertainment – including Hand ballet and songs as part of the entertainments
1972 – ‘Sleeping Beauty’, pantomime
East Grinstead Music & Arts Festival – ‘The Playgoers’
Variety Show – including ‘Camelot’ and ‘Four Seasons’
Rotary Club Entertainment – including ‘Camelot’ and UV Indian Dance as part of the entertainments
1973 – ‘Aladdin’, pantomime
East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival – ‘Among those present’
Town Twinning Concert – including ‘Four Seasons’ as part of the entertainments
25th Anniversary Concert – including ‘The Playgoers’
1974 – Copse close Entertainment – including ‘Doctor Sketch’, ‘Couple of Swells’ and ‘Wedding Group’
East Grinstead Music and Arts Festival – ‘When the old cock crows’
1975 – ‘Dick Whittington’, pantomime
Multiple Sclerosis Entertainment – including ‘Sailor’s Hornpipe’ and ‘Fed up and Frustrated Fairy’
1976 – ‘Humpty Dumpty’, pantomime
‘Night of Entertainment’ – including songs from the ‘Sound of Music’ as part of the entertainments
West Hoathly Show – including ‘Grandfather Clock’ and ‘Fed up and Frustrated Fairy’
1977 – Queen’s Silver Jubilee Entertainments
Variety Show
1995 – 50th Anniversary of VE Day Celebrations
2002 – ‘Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional!’