Greville Theatre Club
In the years following the Second World War, many amateur drama groups sprang up throughout England at a time when interest in the theatre was still active and before television took hold of the public imagination. This was particularly valuable in rural areas away from major cities and towns, where the same was happening in professional theatre in, for example, Coventry, Colchester and Chichester.
The leaders of so many of these amateur clubs were members of the teaching profession; Dunmow was no exception. A group of teachers from Helena Romanes School, led by the then head teacher, Trevor Phillips, formed the Greville Theatre Club (Greville being the family name of the Earls of Warwick). The first performance in 1959 was of “Everyman”. Written in the 14th century, it is the finest of the medieval English morality plays.
Initially performances were held in the school hall, but in the 1970’s the Barn Theatre became home to the Club. This ancient performance space, reputed to have been the location of Tudor revels in the sixteenth century was converted from the village tithe barn to a theatre in 1913 by Daisy, Countess of Warwick ‘to amuse my growing family’. It hosted appearances by many great names of the day during Daisy’s latter years.
The Club has gone on to present two productions each year to wide acclaim. Five performances of each production over two weekends include two in aid of local charities. Many thousands of pounds have been raised for good causes in this way, and as a consequence, the extent of our potential audience has been greatly widened.
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