Official launch of the Neville Studio

Saturday 18th May 2013

Celebrating John Neville

On Wednesday 15 May, actors, stage managers, directors, writers, press officers, props makers, wardrobe assistants and secretaries that worked at Nottingham Playhouse in the 1960s returned to the theatre to celebrate the official launch of the Neville Studio, named in honour of John Neville.

Former colleagues were reunited to celebrate the life and legacy of John Neville, who was Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse, 1963-68 and who passed away in 2011.

Remarkable reunions

Some remarkable reunions occurred at the special launch event. Alan Dossor, director of the 1967 production of Bread and Butter by CP Taylor, met, for the first time in 47 years, three of the original cast members: Giles Block, John Shrapnel and Wendy Allnutt. All four female actors in Ronald Magill’s 1966 production of Hedda Gabler – Ursula Smith, Mary Healey, Wendy Allnutt and Marielaine Church – were also reunited.

Colin George, Associate Director at Nottingham Playhouse 1958-61 and later founding Artistic Director of Sheffield Crucible, performed in the original production of Bomb Thumb in the 1960s and was reunited with its writer Emrys Bryson.

Other guests included actors Alfred Bell, Marielaine Church, Richard Hampton, Laurence Harrington, Vivien Heilbron, David Savile and Ursula Smith.

Official opening of the Neville Studio

To mark the opening of the Neville Studio we decided to produce, for the first time in over 50 years, several “lost” short plays by writers including Harold Pinter, Shelagh Delaney, John Mortimer and N F Simpson and present them alongside work of contemporary writers. The basic premise of The Lost Plays Revue was to celebrate new writing and writers as much as more established names. This was achieved by performing the short sketches without telling the audience which was which until the end of the evening.

All of the writers were in attendance on Wednesday evening and can be seen in the above photo.

Back, L-R is C P Hallam (Director), Clare Cole, Michael Eaton, Stephen Lowe, Nick Wood, Mufaro Makubika, Michelle Vacciana, Giles Croft (Director), Michael Pinchbeck.

Front, L-R is Amanda Whittington, Andy Barrett, Emrys Bryson, Deborah Stevenson

The Lost Plays Revue concluded its run on Saturday 18 May.

For more information you may find the following articles of interest:

Nottingham Post coverage of the evening

The Independent

The Observer

Nottingham Post reports on the Neville Prize

The Guardian reports the initial discovery of Harold Pinter’s Umbrellas

John Neville obituary