PAGE 12

Choose the article you wish to read:

  1. The Crucible, performed by The Priory in the mid-sixties
  2. The "Old Boys Association" in June 1965
  3. Twelfth Night, performed by The Priory in 1964
  4. Trip to Lourdes with the handicapped children (1964)


The following extract is taken from The Pelican, Summer 1965 (kindly lent by Pat Gritton).

THE CRUCIBLE



(Source: The Pelican, Summer 1965, lent by Pat Gritton)

Has anyone got other photos of this production?

CAST

Samuel Parris: Michael Tobin
Betty Parris: Raymond Sweeney
Abigail Williams: Sean Murphy
Tituba: Paul Glover
Susanna Walcott: Simon Blandford
Thomas Pubnam: Robert Shaw
Ann Putman: Thomas Hillas
Mercy Lewis: Donald Keerian
John Proctor: Kevin Gregson
Elizabeth Proctor: James McLaughlin
Mary Warren: Michael Byrne
Giles Corey: Cieran McGuiness
Francis: Paul Fletcher
Rebecca Nurse: Daniel O'Sulivan
John Hale: John Strain
Ezechiel Cheever: Thomas Whyatt
Marshal 'Herrick: Philip Mason
Judge Hathorne: Anthony Ryan
Deputy Governor: Richard Parsons

Stage Manager: John Madden
Producer: Father Garvey

A critique of the play, written by Fr Pat Fitzgerald:


To one whose memory of Priory stage productions is filled with pictures of youthful Ali Babas, Sinbads, and Man Fridays, and of a young audience rolling in the aisles at the sight of burly fellow-students attired as fairies or Widow Twankey, the news that Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" was to be our Christmas fare in 1964 was received with misgivings. Ten years ago, and even less, we thought we knew our Priory boys, their limitations and their talents. Perhaps we did, and perhaps we didn't! Certainly one or two serious plays had been successfully attempted ; they had been conventional schoolboy productions, a good murder, for example, that still allowed our fat boy to appear as the arm of the law. But to attempt an adult play, without slapstick, a play with a message, a message that only actors who had it in their bones as it were could put across, this seemed to be asking for trouble and taxing the seasonable good-will of the audience beyond measure.

It was, then, with eyes wide open for flaws and failures that this critic saw the curtain rise. The programme had showed already where they might be found — nine female characters for a start; the costumes too, for "the scene is Salem, Massachusetts, 1692"; were we to be treated to 20th century gym shoes showing beneath a piece of old curtain ? And would we spot candlesticks borrowed from the chapel, crockery from the kitchen and furniture from the fathers' rooms? No : it was evident from the start that all these signs of a second-rate, over-ambitious production had been banished, and we could settle down, prepared to be treated to adult entertainment. The excellence of the scenery, the props, the costumes and the make-up placed this play already in a category higher than anything I had previously seen on the Priory stage.

If the eye was satisfied, so was the mind. The success of the actors was overwhelming ; boys in men's shoes created an atmosphere, by mature acting ability and clarity of diction, which fused the thoughts and emotions of cast and audience into one. Here, as never before in this hall, we were caught up and committed in a drama of human beings at the mercy of their own folly and cruelty, of human dignity at odds with the bullying and brutal State, the vacillating church, the duped and docile public opinion.

The clash of those forces, incarnate in these young actors, still sparks a flame, three months afterwards, of admiration and enjoyment that the pen tries in vain to capture to pay its tribute to a producer whose triumph must have been dearly paid for in toil, tears and sweat, to a cast of intelligent and talented young men who reached the heights when good acting alone could lift them off the ground, to unseen helpers who created and maintained the setting worthy of such fine acting.

If the quality of a school is reflected in its stage productions then the Priory's tide must surely be at the flood.

 

Return to top



OLD BOYS' ASSOCIATION in June 1965
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1965


Owing to numerous complications we feared that the Old Boys would not be represented in this year's "Pelican". However, thanks to a few faithful correspondents, this danger has been averted. but many more are urged to write! We have learned from George Pennistone (President) that Teny Petit has taken over the secretaryship ; we wish him luck. He also tells us that efforts have been made to organise the first annual dinner for old Priorians, but he
says that difficulties have arisen owing to the lack of known addresses. It would be very much appreciated if you could write to him.

His address is : 45 Woodside Avenue, London, N.12

It has not been possible to obtain a report on the Trier Congress, but we hope that the Priory was well represented. The Old Boys have expressed their wish to add their own condolences on Father Harry Moreton's death, and I am sure they will share in the sentiments expressed in the obituary written by Father Superior.

We should like to thank the O.B's. who helped Father Haig sell tickets for the Christmas raffle.

NEWS OF OLD BOYS


B. G. Short 1956-59 is now married and lives in Rugeley.

James Lomas 1954-56 is at present teaching civics, history and R.I. When he completes his training, he hopes to take up work in the Liverpool slums.

Paddy Byrne 1959-62, contrary to reports in last year's "Pelican", is not teaching but is following a career in accountancy.

Nick Kendellen 1956-59 has been in Chicago for the past two years. He has lately been working in the analysis department in the La Salle National Bank, but is now studying for a degree.

Michael Donovan 1957-60 is a mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm. He sailed on the Ark Royal last January. His brother Francis is in the Australian army.

Denis Shields 1949-53 is planning to study for his Tutor's diploma in psychiatric nursing at university.

Peter Johnson 1961-64 is now Brother Cuthbert., a Benedictine novice at Quarr Abbey.

Paul Maggiore 1961-64 is at present a lay student studying at Ushaw College, Durham.

Desmond Grimley 1947-49 turned up at a very opportune moment and drove a boy with a broken wrist (sustained in a rugby accident) to hospital.

Bernard Aherne 1956-57 visited us with his wife during the lent term. He is now a P.E. instructor in London.

Joseph MacDermott 1952-57 who is now with the Milk Marketing Board made a short visit in January.

Tom Kelly 1952-58 now at the Board of Trade was able to visit us at the Priory as he was attending court in this area as a prosecution witness in a fraud case.

Father Keane, W F has made a few visits during the year.



We are always pleased to see old boys who are always welcome to drop in for a meal or a night's lodging.

On the last Sunday in June (the 27th), the Old Boys will be meeting at the Priory and we look forward to meeting as many as can possibly come.

Note:Mike Mearns, Paul Tait, Charlie Bingham, John Healy and I attended that reunion in June '65.
It was organised by Terry Petit and I have been trying to track him down. He would surely be delighted to know how many people are now in contact. Does anyone know of his whereabouts?

Return to top


TWELFTH NIGHT
By A. Ryan (Form VI)
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1964 - transcribed for us by Robbie Dempsey

The choice of "Twelfth Night" for this year's Priory play at first gave rise to doubts as to whether the Priory with its humble resources would be able execute it satisfactorily. But as plans matured into preparation and action, the doubts disappeared altogether, despite the fact that it was the first occasion for a long time that the Priory had produced Shakespeare. Nevertheless, this particular light-hearted comedy was well chosen as one of the less ambitious propositions and that which was most suited to the disposition of the "Priorian in the street," on whom it was thought that we would depend for the majority of our audience.

It was destined, however, to be otherwise, since the play was performed on two successive nights to a crowded hall. The first night was dedicated specially to the Priory audience and to those hardy parishioners who came; and the second to a huge bus load of parents and friends from the Midlands.



(Source: Tony Smyth)

"Twelfth Night" performed at The Priory 1964 (Directed by Fr. Brian Garvey)
L - R : Kevin Gregson, Joe McIntyre, Thomas Whyatt, Hans Van Well, John Strain, Ciaren McGuinness, Anthony Ryan, David Walker.




(source: The Pelican, Summer 64)

Another scene from Twelfth Night. Names, please?

In spite of a few minor hitches (largely unnoticed by the audience anyway) the Priorians enthusiastically acclaimed the play. This is no small triumph, since in general Priorians are not only the most harsh critics, but also the most confirmed carpers and sceptics ever likely to be encountered - and on this particular drizzly cold night, they had come primed with prejudice. Proof of their opinion was supplied on the next night when many came again.

The lion's share of the credit for this success must be given to Fr. Garvey, our producer, who in the tradition of all good producers, enforced his own conception of the play rigidly on wayward actors. Deserving special mention too are those who worked back-stage on lights, make-up, costumes and preparations of scenery. I feel that I should also mention those prompters, so often decently swept under the carpet in reviews, without whose vigilance some embarassing silences might have ensued. Without doubt the appreciation of the audiences shows that the Priory teamwork "clicked" as never before, to perform a memorable play.

K. Gregson was as assured as ever in his role of Orsino; an assurance that he managed to communicate to the other actors. T. Whyatt has made great strides as an actor and he made Viola a very winning and sincere character. C. McGuinness's interpretation of Sir Toby Belch was greatly applauded. One feels that Shakespeare must have meant to write the part for an Irishman. So Hughes as Malvolio was good if perhaps a little too dry and impersonal, for in spite of his pomposity Malvolio is surely a very human character. H. van Well as Olivia. although a little dumpv in appearance, managed nevertheless to give an air of dignity to the part. He spoke his lines clearly and intelligently. Maria's part was well acted by M. Buckley with the necessary pertness.

Cast:

Sebastian: T. Netton
Antonio: E. Cushlow
Sea Captain: P. Mason
Curio: J. McIntyre
Sir Toby Belch: C. McGuinness
Sir Andrew Aguecheek: A. Ryan
Orsino: K. Gregson
Malvolio: S. Hughes
Fabian: D. Walker
Clown: J. Strain
Olivia: H. van Well
Viola: T. Whyat
Maria: M. Buckley

Prompter: J. Smit
Scenery: Mr Savage, P. Maggiore, M. Greene
Costumes: R. Kinlen
Dancers: P. Fletcher, P. Glover, S. Murphy, R. Sweeney, J. McLaughlin, J. Reynolds


Return to top




The Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage to Lourdes, 1964
By D. Ritson (Form V)

Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1964 - transcribed for us by Robbie Dempsey

As the train rounded the bend the town of Lourdes came into sight; first the spires of the Basilicas, and then the many hotels which make up the "new" town of Lourdes. After twenty-three hours of travelling since we had left London, we had arrived. The next five days were to be spent in the town in which Our Lady appeared.

There were over one thousand pilgrims in our party; it was a combination of the National Schools pilgrimage and the "Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust." The idea of this Trust is to take handicapped children to Lourdes so that they can honour Our Lady. Helpers volunteer to go to Lourdes in order to take charge of these handicapped children. In order to make the work easier the helpers and handicapped are divided into groups. It is the job of the helpers to make sure that all are cared for, and very often there have to be more helpers than children in the group. In our group there were four and a half helpers to three and a half children, myself being half in half. Fr. Garvey was the group leader and chaplain and John Parker, also from the Priory, was one of the other helpers.

Our first day was perhaps the most tiring as we were obliged to take part in everything we could. We heard mass in the underground basilica of Pius X, then after a French breakfast we had our opening ceremony at the grotto. We were addressed by Bishop Grant, the leader of our pilgrimage, and we received his solemn blessing afterwards for a happy and holy pilgrimage. This took up most of the morning. In the afternoon we took part in the Blessed Sacrament Procession; this is a marvellous experience which can only take place at Lourdes because of the devotion of all those who participate. Later in the evening we turned up for the torchlight procession; this however was cancelled because of the rain. Instead, we all sang the "Credo," made a visit to the Grotto and retired peacefully to bed.

The following day was our special day for leading all the processions and the singing. We also had the great privilege of hearing Solemn High Mass in the beautiful Rosary Basilica. Before our procession in the afternoon we all bathed in the icy water of the baths; what an experience.. .brrrr! That evening the rain stayed off and a small procession took place

As the next day was Sunday we had rather a quiet time. Our mass was later than usual so some of us went for a short walk. In the afternoon we took a coach to Bartres, St Bernadette's childhood home. This was followed by a Blessed Sacrament procession at four o'clock. The Liverpool pilgrimage had to leave on Monday morning, and for that reason nearly all of them went to their last torchlight procession. That night the procession was the largest I saw.

On Monday we had a free day, so we went to Gaverine, up in the mountains. As we got higher the rain turned into sleet and then into snow. It snowed all day, but the air was pure and refreshing and we all enjoyed our day out. That night after the procession John Parker and I decided to walk to the old part of Lourdes; we lost ourselves and consequently returned to the hotel rather late - 12.30 a.m.

As Tuesday was our last day, we had lots of preparations to make for our journey home. Shopping was done in the morning; Stations of the Cross were made in the afternoon, and farewells were said to Our Lady and St. Bernadette in the evening. On Wednesday we rose at 6 a.m.

As the train rounded the bend, the shutter of my camera clicked down, capturing the parting view of the town of Lourdes and the spires of the Basilica. As we left, so did we all hope to return some day in the future.

QUESTION: Have you any photos of this trip that we could use, please?

Return to Top
Return to HISTORIES Index