Ely High School 1905-1972



ANTONIO The Merchant of Venice Jacqueline Bidwell
friends of Bassanio
and Antonio
Janice Coville
Patricia Hickman
Jane Buck
Joan Brown
BASSANIO Antonio's friend Christine Day
PORTIA A rich heiress Sylvia Coleman
NERISSA Her maid Vivienne Danvers
SHYLOCK A Jewish moneylender Susan Cumner-Price
LAUNCELOT GOBBO his servant Hazel Beckett
OLD GOBBO Launcelot's father Rosemary Ward
JESSICA Shylock's daughter Christine Wood
Christine Carter
suitors to Portia Marilyn McKinlay
Pauline Morris
BALTHAZAR servant to Portia Elizabeth Elwood
THE DUKE OF VENICE   Pauline Morris
MAGNIFICOES   Bonita Ransome, Valerie Harding, Sylvia Braybrooke,
Margaret Peacock, Brigid Riley and Rosemary Crowe
COURT OFFICERS   Rosemary Savidge
Hilary Cutchey
STEPHANO Servant to Portia Mary Darby
SINGER   Phillippa Rayner
MUSICIANS   Carolyn Brunt, Helen Lee, Susan Dewey
TRUMPETER   Michael Yeomans

PRODUCTION under the direction of Miss Convine, with the assistance of Miss Bunn
SET designed by Miss Reynolds, painted by Miss Bridge and members of Form VI
SONGS set to music by Miss Dewar
STAGE MANAGERS Members of Form VI supervised by Miss Reynolds
LIGHTING Rosamund Yeomans
WARDROBE Miss Reynolds, assisted by Kay Bedford
COSTUMES (other than those made by the School) L&H Nathan of London, and on loan from Soham Grammar School.

The production gratefully acknowledges the kind assistance of Soham Grammar School, and thanks each one of the many people who have helped stage the play.

THE ACTION OF THE PLAY takes place between Venice, and Portia's home in Belmont.

Coffee will be served during the Second Interval

Jackie Bidwell - Christine Day

Susan Cumner-Price - Jackie Bidwell

Rosemary Ward - Hazel Beckett
via Vivian Hawes (Convine)

Sylvia Coleman - Susan Cumner-Price
via Vivian Hawes (Convine)

VC1: Christine Wood - Jane Buck - Vivienne Danvers - Joan Brown - Sylvia Coleman - Christine Day - Jackie Bidwell - 8 - 9
via Vivian Hawes (Convine)

VC6: Sylvia Coleman - Vivienne Danvers - Christine Day - 4 - 5 - Marilyn McKinlay - 7
via Vivian Hawes (Convine)

VC14: Christine Day - Sylvia Coleman - Vivienne Danvers - Joan Brown
via Vivian Hawes (Convine)

Susan Cumner-Price - 2 - Jane Buck - 4 - Christine Day - Jackie Bidwell

The Ensemble
back, row 4: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 (fore) - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9
row 3: (right): Hazel Beckett - Michael Yeomans - 3 (rear) - 4 - 5
row 3: (left): 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 (fore) - 5 - 6 (fore)
row 2: Vivienne Danvers - Joan Brown - Jane Buck - Christine Wood
front, row 1: Christine Day - Sylvia Coleman - Susan Cumner-Price - Jackie Bidwell

from the May 1964 Ely High School Magazine

The Merchant of Venice - 1963 production

With the departure of our talented producer Miss Brook many believed Ely High School's successful run of plays was at an end. However, Mrs. Hawes soon began work on "The Merchant of Venice".

At first much trepidation was felt over the casting of Shylock, but when Susan Cumner-Price was finally chosen for the part, she exceeded all hopes with her sympathetic portrayal of the miserly Jew. Portia, played by Sylvia Coleman with wit and vivacity, tempered by her charm, provided a perfect foil for Shylock. These two main characters were supported by a well chosen cast. A polished performance was given by Jacqueline Bidwell, as Antonio, in a costume reminiscent of Gielgud's "Hamlet". "Bassanio was played with sensitivity by Christine Day" (producer's comment).

Romance and comedy were combined in the characters of Gratiano (Joan Brown) and Nerissa (Vivienne Danvers) whilst Jane Buck as Lorenzo and Christine Wood as Jessica gave the play some of its more tender moments.

Hazel Beckett, with a floppy hat and numerous facial expressions, gave an amusing portrayal of Lancelot Gobbo, and Old Gobbo, played by Rosemary Ward, was a convincing old man. Pauline Morris as the Duke and Arragon managed her dual role well, and gave a dignified performance in both parts. Other members of the cast who gave competent performances were Marilyn McKinlay as Morocco, Janice Covill as Solanio, Patricia Hickman as Salario, and the Magnificoes.

Music within the play was composed and arranged by Miss Dewar. She is to be especially congratulated on the haunting melody, "Tell me where is fancy bred?" which added much to the enjoyment of the final casket scene. We should also like to thank the recorder players, and Michael Yeomans who provided us with a magnificent trumpet fanfare.

Miss Reynolds' set design for the play was much admired. The painting of this was supervised by Miss Bridge, who was helped by Joan Aves and the VI Form. Miss Reynolds supervised the costumes for the cast, aided by Kay Bedford, and many thanks must go to Soham Grammar School for the kind loan of many costumes.

Last but by no means least - our producer, Mrs. Hawes, is to be congratulated on a notable first production. Her task was not easy, but she presented one of our most successful plays. Miss Bunn also gave valuable help. The well-filled hall and enthusiastic applause which greeted "The Merchant of Venice" bore adequate testimony to Mrs. Hawes' achievement, and we look forward to future productions.


programme source: Jackie Sotheran (Bidwell), and images unless otherwise stated: original images by Brian Lane
This page created 1 Aug 10: last update 3 Dec 10: if you can add to this page with recollections or photos, please contact us.