Northumbrian Language Society

The Sid Chaplin Show 1.10.1969

On the 7th May 1969 The Sid Chaplin Show was premiered at Ashington Technical College, as part of the Ashington Festival.
On 1st October 1969, a performance was given at the Duchess School in Alnwick, and the Society is privileged to have been given access to one of the cast’s personal papers, reproduced here in facsimile and transcribed for easier reading.

The annotated script for the piece ‘Grace before meat’ is here

and the Letter of thanks from Sid to the writer is here

and now on with the show!

    – – – o O o – – –

(Page 1)

Sid Chaplin Show Programme

Mid-Northumberland Arts Group (MidNag)

presents

THE SID CHAPLIN SHOW

Wednesday 1 October 1969

THE DUCHESS SCHOOL, ALNWIC
with SID CHAPLIN

and 
players JOHN ARMSTRONG
 JOHN POLLARD
 JESS SUTHERLAND
 ALEC SWAILES
ANN SWAILES
 KEITH SWAILES

Singers MIKE RIGBY
VERONICA SLAUGHTER

lyrics
dramatisations by EDGAR CRIDDLE
production
The SID CHAPLIN SHOW was originally presented on May 7th, 1969
at Ashington Technical College as part of the Ashington Festival.

(Where the chairman of ‘the club’ was heard to say “If bar all quiet it’ll not taak very lang.)i

(Page 2)

Programme page 2

FROM PAGE TO STAGE
All the characters in the stories and playlets that make’ up this program are, one feels, faithful portraits, or composite portraits, of real people whom the author has known personally and intimately; that is one reason why they provide – for us at any rate – such fascinating theatrical material. There are other reasons: The situations in which these characters find themselves are often novel but always credible; their actions and reactions are seldom predictable but always consistent; their language, though often impressive and picturesque, never sounds artificial.

All the stories and excerpts we present have been abridged. This is not to imply that they were too wordy in the first place; nor was the cutting done to save time; quite simply it is because fewer words are required when they are spoken aloud in a theatrical setting. An actor can reveal in a split second what takes a paragraph of cold print to describe. A piece of stage ‘business’ – such as poor Jethro stirring his tea with a pencil- conveys the essence of a situation instantly with no words at all.

As _I see it, the job of a novelist is to tell the truth about the people and places and situations he knows and understands, and those who transfer his creations to a different medium – the stage – should strive to preserve the essential verity without any regard whatever for superficial accuracy. Offhand I cannot recall what Sid Chaplin’s GLADYS or MEG SURTEES looked like; I know that our GLADYS, and our MEG, though they differ greatly from each other, have been re-created very convincingly by Jess Sutherland. On the darkest night you would never confuse Sid Chaplin with John Pollard; and yet – in A CERTIFICATE FOR LIFE-SAVING – John plays Sid better (I know he will forgive me for saying it) than Sid could play himself. For Johm is an actor and Sid is not.

That Chaplin characters are eminently stage-worthy was clearly demonstrated in CLOSE THE COALHOUSE DOOR. Now THE BIG ROOM (from which our playlet POWER was taken) has been dramatised and starts a trial run at the Billingham Forum on October 13th. We’ll be running a coach trip on Saturday October 25th. If you want to go (15s inclusive charge) please obtain a booking form from a steward
and send it in with remittance.
If you like this sort of show don’t miss our next : THE USA SHOW 
Ash. Tech. December 17th.
Edgar Criddle.

(Page 3)

THE SHOW
WARM-UP…..ALEC AND ANN SWAILES with JOHN ARMSTRONG at the piano

SID CHAPLIN
Songs
Private, Keep out….
GRACE BEFORE MEAT
from The Leaping Lad
Two Hundred Years ago..
DEATH OF A LEAD MINER
from My Fate Cries Out
Strong drink, oh my friend!
FIRST JOB
from The Day of the Sardine
Two bold faces….
J.R. ANDREWS
from The Thin Seam
Who will be the master?
POWER-
from The Big Room

I N T E R V A L
Coffee and biscuits in Dining Hall. Tickets (1s) from stewards.

SIDCHAPLIN
Songs
Young love in the springtime
THE BERRY HOLLY
first published in The Journal
Jethro and Gladys. . .
THE SOFT HUSBAND
from The Watchers and the Watched
Jack Surtees he had brains
THE EXILES 
from Sam in the Morning
Childhood, time of growth
A CERTIFICATE FOR LIFE-SAVll\IG
first published in The Guardian

(Page 4)

Programme page 4

NORTHERN ARTS
The large increase in concerts, exhibitions, ballet, opera, folk music, drama, jazz, outstanding performers of all kinds in the Northern Region during the last few years is largely due to the Northern Arts Association.
Now the N.A.A. needs help, in addition to what it. already gets from local councils, industry and other organisations. MidNAG benefits from Northern Arts as much as anyone. So we are asking members of tonight’s audience to make a donation to theNorthern Arts Appeal. There will be a retiring collection for this purpose at the end of the performance.
There was a most successful collection after Raphael Orosco’s concert last week in Ashington.
No obligation, of course, but if you have enjoyed this evening we hope you will want to contribute, so that the Association can grow and produce even more of the good things that enrich our lives.
GEORGE STEPHENSON
Director MidNAG.

Changes: MidNAG member : x I”1idNAG members please alter season tickets. 2nd Winner Leeds Int’l Piano Comp. GEORGES PLUDERMACHER of France
Ash’ton Nov. 18th (not 12th). OPERA FOR ALL will be in Alnwick on Nov. 27th (not-26th)
Sorry, but not our fault.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
5 October ADRIAN MITCHELL, poet, with folksingers Patsy
Haggerty & Mick Darwin. LAMPGLASS CLUB, ASH’TON 8pm
14 October CENTURY THEATRE in Artsbuses
from Beadnell etc (LONGHJUGI-I’I‘CN 239), Alnwick and
Morpeth (MORPETH 3785) to Ash.Tech. College.

21 October Scottish folk singer with supporting artists,
Artsbuses: Seahouses 3s6i (L0NGHOUGHTON 289) Ash’tn
Morpeth 5s. (MORPETH 3785) to Duchess Sc. Alnwick.

 

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