Much of the Bay Theatre Players’ 2017 program celebrates “the best of British”.
And what better day to do this than next Sunday, April 23, St George’s Day!
Tickets for Sunday’s matinee performance of Blithe Spirit, which is a fund-raising event for the Animal Welfare League, are still available from Bargain Box Fabrics (4472 5984), and, there will be an English afternoon tea on offer.
Seats are also available for the rest of the season, this Friday, April 21, and April 26, 28 and 29 at 7.30pm, and this Saturday, April 22 at 2pm, again through Bargain Box.
Following Easter Saturday’s matinee performance, director Kath Joyce reflected on the work which has gone into the production.
“After all the months of rehearsing and planning and set construction, there are only six more performances of Blithe Spirit left,” she said.
“Unlike the original London production, which lasted for 1997 performances and brought laughter into a country ravaged by war, the BTP production is limited to only eight shows.”
And Kath also noted the disappointment of Blithe Spirit author, Noel Coward, that he was not accepted for military service in World War II.
“Instead,” she said, “he played a significant role in raising awareness of the war effort, and donations to various war charities, through his tours of the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
“His cabaret performances and his partying with foreign dignitaries and socialites during the war were derided by the English press who ignored the fact that this was part of his role to promote support for Britain’s efforts.
“Coward’s freedom to move about through European countries made him a central part of a secret intelligence gathering team in the late 1930s, but this was never released to the press.”
Kath said he was considered for a knighthood after the war, but public opinion generated by the media made him ineligible.
It wasn’t until 1970 that he became Sir Noel Coward in recognition of his long service to the British theatre and film industries.
“Undaunted by these setbacks, Noel was determined to help his countrymen by writing a song, a play and a movie script that would lift their spirits and show the world that Britain remained steadfast despite the blitz and the threat of invasion,” Kath said.
“The first in the trilogy was his play – Blithe Spirit, which had audiences laughing out loud in the 1940s and has the same effect in the 21st century!”
The Bay Theatre Players are a very active community company operating its own theatre. The group presents three to four productions each year.
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