King Henry the Fourth Part I

28th, 29th & 31st March, 1st April 1958
Programme (courtesy of Chris Meakin)



"What, shall we be merry ? shall we have a play extempore ?"

King Henry the Fourth

J. R. Williams

Henry, Prince of Wales

R. F. Laughton

Lord John of Lancaster

P. N. Kenning

Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmoreland

P. Broomhead

Sir Walter Blunt

D. E. Rodgers

Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester

S. G. Linstead

Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland

J. G. Robinson

Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur, his son

M. J. Lodge

Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March..

C. J. Barnes

Archibald, Earl of Douglas

A. W. Struthers

Owen Glendower

J. Buchan

Sir Richard Vernon

T. Williams

Sir John Falstaff ..

M. E. Sara

Edward Poins

J. C. B. Turney

Gadshill ..

F. D. Loxley


A. J. Revill

Bardolph ..

W. Bailey

Lady Percy, wife to Hotspur and sister to Mortimer ..

J. A. Cunningham

Lady Mortimer, daughter to Glendower

D. A. Booth

Mistress Quickly, hostess of the Boar's Head Tavern

M. J. Grundmann

first Carrier

P. J. Goulden

Second Carrier

M. F. Roddis


P. Benton


J. P. Abrahams, J. E. Beckman, M. J. Gould, F.A Smith

Servant to Hotspur

A. Jackson


J. W. Thorp

Francis, a drawer

M. R. Robinson


N. D. Worswick


J. H. Sharpe

Lords, attendant on the King

R. E. Bardgett, M. Lewis. D. Woodhouse


P. J. W. Grimsditch, D. Mingay

Page to the King

J. P. A. Hobson


C. S. Berresford, D. W. Williams

Stage boys

C. W. Hague, R. Mingay

King's soldiers

G. B. Cash, R. N. Crookes, W. Darwin, M. J. Gould, M. A. Hall, J. V. Mosley, F. A. Smith, D. Steeple, B. R. Sykes, S. L. Williams.

Rebel Soldiers

J. P. Abrahams, J. E. Beckman, P. J. Goulden, J. A. Hague, J. D. Hinchliffe, A. Jackson, F. I. Parker, M. F. Roddis, J. H. Sharpe, J. R. Topley, I. M. Whitehouse.

Soldiers to Falstaff

D. A. Cox, P. W. Gurney, M. Hill, P. N. Kenyon, M. J. Richards

The action lasts from the defeat of Mortimer by Glendower in June, 1402, to the battle of Shrewsbury, July, 1403.

Produced by MR. R. B. CHALMERS

"0, he's as tedious
As is a tired-horse, a railing wife ;
Worse than a smoky house."

Scenes of the Play

" A kingdom for it was too small a bound ;
But now two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough."



The King's Court at London


An apartment of the Prince of Wales


The King's court at London


An inn yard at Rochester


The highway near Gadshill


Warkworth Castle


The Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap



The archdeacon's house at Bangor


In the King's palace at London


The Boar's Head Tavern


The Rebel Camp near Shrewsbury


A public road near Coventry


The Rebel Camp


The King's Camp near Shrewsbury


The Rebel Camp


The Battlefield


" So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant."

There will be one interval of fifteen minutes when coffee will be served in the Dining Hall. Visitors are requested to obtain tickets (price sixpence) from the Stewards before the play starts.

The Music

"Peace, ye fat-kidneyed rascal ! what a brawling dost thou keep ! "

The music and fanfares have been specially composed by Mr. N. J. Barnes, who also trained-the singer. Lady Mortimer's song is " Gwenllian's Repose," a traditional Welsh air.

The Fights

"We must have bloody noses and cracked crowns."

The fights have been arranged by Mr. B. C. Arthur.


" By Heaven, I cannot flatter ; I do defy
The tongues of soothers ; but a braver place
In my heart's love hath no man than yourself."

To the making of a play many are called on to lend their aid. To the following the Producer and the Cast express their profound gratitude for the valuable and willing assistance they have freely rendered.

The Costumes

Mrs. Harold Miller and the mothers of the cast, too many to name, who made them.

The Setting

Mr. E. J. Green, Mr. J. A. Bray, M. J. Averill, C. S. Berresford, R. Carroll, P. H. P. Cass, J. C. Crabtree, A. M. Dowling, A. R. Dowling, J. Ellis, J. G. Francis, D. W. Gregory, C. M. Johnson, E. K. Parker, C. R. J. Singleton, A. R. Wilcock, B. A. Wilkes, D. R. Williams.

The Furniture

Mr. J. W. Hersee, P. M. Beckett, R. Jordan, J. S. Noble, D. Woodhouse.


Mr. W. K. Mace, I. Andrews, D. W. Gregory, P. G. Hibbard, C. R. J. Singleton, P. C. Wing.

Stage management

Mr. B. C. Arthur, Mr. P. D. Arculus, A. E. Grant, J. H. Hemming.

Set Decorations

J. T. Borwick, M. D. Linton


Mr. P. S. Hetherington


Mr. E. F. Watling, Mr. J. C. Hemming and their assistants

The Poster

Mr. C. Helliwell, D. E. Rodgers


Mr. K. Bridgwater

Front of House

Mr. A. W. Surguy


Mr. W. Birkinshaw, Mr. G. W. Taylor

The Music

Trumpets : P. G. Barrett, F. D. Loxley, I. W. Wright


Clarinets : W. M. Abbott, J. G. Robinson, J. R. Topley


Flute ..M. D. Linton


Side drum : N. D. Worswick


Tympani : W. T. Stokes


C. S. Henderson


The Head Boy and the Prefects

"Now, my masters, happy man be his dole, say I ;
every man to his business."

[KES MAGAZINE Spring 1958:]


Henry IV, Part I.

March 28th - April 2nd, 1958

King Henry the Fourth

J. R. Williams

Henry Prince of Wales

R. F. Laughton

John of Lancester

P. N. Kenning

Earl of Westmoreland

P. Broomhead

Sir Walter Blunt

D. E. Rodgers

Earl of Worcester

S. G. Linstead

Earl of Northumberland

J. G. Robinson


M. J. Lodge


C. J. Barnes

Earl of Douglas

A. W. Struthers

Owen Glendower

J. Buchan

Sir Richard Vernon

T. Williams

Sir John Falstaff

M. E. Sara


J. C. B. Turney


W. Bailey

Lady Percy

A. Cunningham

Lady Mortimer

D. A. Booth

Mistress Quickly

M. J. Grundmann


F. D. Loxley


A. J. Revill


M. R. Robinson


P. J. Goulden, M. F. Roddis

"HENRY IV" is not an easy play to put on; two formidable snags have to be evaded. First, Falstaff - who, if he can, will wreck the unity of the piece since he is so clearly a Comic Hero in a serious history. Secondly, the plethora of fighting and rhetoric in Act V., which in most adult productions is at once tedious and unreal. Fortunately there is a natural way out of these difficulties in a school society, and it was wisely and successfully taken. Sara's Falstaff, though full of engaging joviality, never dominated the King and Hotspur: you felt that he was what Shakespeare originally intended him to be-a royal jester-not what he turned out when imagination had inflated him into a comic genius.

As for the Battle of Shrewsbury, no more convincing and savage onslaught could have been dreamt of: waves of skull-cracking infantry swept across the stage in furious ebb and flow, yet evaporated without a hitch to leave space for their leaders' more formal and fatal sword-play. And Hotspur's death was more moving than Falstaff's resurrection - another credit mark for Mr. Chalmers' balanced conception of the play.

An oblique proscenium arch, with grey curtains, ensured continuous action, while a few bold background symbols or decorations told us all we needed to know about locality. A fresh and lively set of 15th century costumes gratified the eye: the Prince's blue and silver, Poins' epicene pink, Worcester's malevolent black and yellow, were all a real echo of their wearer's personality, and far more expressive than more pretentious hired drapery.

It was, then, a most satisfactory and smooth performance. For it to have become an outstanding one, I think two things were needed. First, enough time for practice, so that every action or posture, in big scenes and small, could be made to count. There were obvious failures to realise themselves by several actors who had it in them to be successful. And secondly, more experience of acting as juniors, so that stage consciousness becomes instinctive.

Hotspur, excellent in the second part, was ineffectual in the opening scenes through failure to express the restless, impetuous nature which gave him his nickname. Prince Hal too, looking and, I think, feeling the generous warm-hearted character he is, was often ill-at-ease. Both the King and Falstaff, on the other hand, in completely different styles, showed how to convey the dramatic energy their words contained. Boys of today, brought up on the laconic flat diction of the screen and T.V., find it increasingly hard to use the full voice and varied speed taken for granted by the Elizabethans yet it was noticeable that the audience responded to such taste of it as they had, especially from the King, Hotspur, Glendower, Worcester and Falstaff.

Certain delightful touches remain in the memory Bailey's rich and malty portrait of Bardolph, Kenning's keen and natural Lord John, the two carriers at Gadshill, the rebel's council round the camp fire, and the medieval map which illustrated the iniquitous course of the "smug and silver Trent."

The programme emphasises the debt owed to a very great number of helpers, off and back stage, and in particular to Mrs. Miller for designing the costumes. It is at once the joy and despair of producing Shakespeare on this stage, to employ all this goodwill to full effect. No doubt Mr. Chalmers would be the first to deny that he realised his ideals; but his foresight, tact and vision went a long way towards that realisation.


[KES Mag Summer 58:]

Scenes behind the Scenes

Our Critic's comments on the last School Play, King Henry IV, Part 1, were, as one would expect, entirely honest, fair, and helpful. But his view was essentially that of a member of the audience. Some impressions of the production from the other side, the players' viewpoint, may perhaps be acceptable ...

Of the preliminaries to performance, there are miscellaneous memories—the rather nondescript jam, for instance, which was the only substance the Free Tea possessed " in anything like abundance "—and Mr. Watling's Spirit Gum, remarkably redolent of rotting fish, which was liberally applied, regardless of the victim's comfort, to stick down false whiskers—and, most vivid memory of all, the iron fire-escape which had to be negotiated in the cold, and usually wet, in order to reach the stage.

The play began uneventfully, except on the occasion when a member of the Royal House set out to prove that he too could be an "Angry Young Prince " if he wished, by wearing footwear more suited to a different kind of court. His show of independence had given out by the time he made his next appearance on-stage, however.

In Scene 3, which marks the first appearance of Hotspur, people shouted ; people shrieked ; people schemed. But all the while they tended to move across the stage somewhat devoid of purpose, with noses in air, like those horrid children in the "Ah, Bisto ! " advertisements ... perhaps this was due to the faint aroma of garlic which always cane upon one's senses exactly at this time each evening. The scent was noticeably stronger where the Rebels gathered.

The remaining scenes up to the interval are largely concerned with the Gadshill Diversion good. if not always strictly clean, fun. In the dressing-rooms meanwhile (that is, form-rooms adapted for the purpose) those with nothing to do and a long time to do it in contrived to while away the hours. Seniors conversed in earnest cabals, righting the wrongs of a troubled world —or sat quietly alone—or, more frequently, played cards, " Cheat," a fine breeding-ground for Poker, being most popular. The Juniors, as far as choice of games went, displayed more lively imagination, soon reaching up to the heights of Monopoly and other exotic amusements.

Apart from games and discussion, the main occupation back-stage was Refreshment. A few plutocrats brought their own ; and drinks provided by the house were quickly snapped up—much to the disgust of those left toiling on the stage in the big Boar's Head Tavern scene. Supplies were augmented from additional sources the arrival back-stage of participants in Scene 3 was the signal to send out emissaries with the Fish and Chip order. Their return with the soggy spoils was always heralded with great glee, and by a general down-tools among the card players. The chips were made to last almost until the interval, when ice-cream arrived from the kitchens. This was immediately seized upon and devoured, regardless of barely digested chips, (and to eat melting ice-cream, with one's mouth wreathed in whiskers, drooping moustache and beard, is no easy operation, if half the hairy adornment is not to be swallowed, nor coated with Wall's Threepenny Vanilla for the rest of the performance). As for having a greasy bag of chips thrust under one's nose behind the stage when attempting to intone snatches of 15th century plainsong—the only answer to that was to close one's eyes and hope for the best ...

Now came the time for donning stiff, paint-sprayed armour ; for making peculiar-shaped helmets fit on to peculiar-shaped heads ; for straightening bent scabbards, already generously mended with Sellotape ; for making sure one's sword moved easily in and out of its sheath (a particular nightmare, this) ; for finding the right shield—" Mine's the one with the three black-beetle things crawling up it" ...       

The Battle arrived, and commenced. No one knew, least of all the participants, what the precise outcome each evening would be. Only those with swords and shields felt any degree of security. It was a commonplace to arrive on the stage to find broken weapons littering the place from a previous armed conflict ; or to erupt on to the field at high speed, to find that one's visor had slipped squarely down over one's eyes. Shield in one hand, sword in the other, remedy was impossible. Duels then had to be fought more by divination than by certainty, plotting the position of an assailant by his barely discernible feet. There were also ugly rumours that on the last night the Rebels would refuse to admit defeat. Fortunately, history was allowed to take its course ...

At length The End hove in sight, and Falstaff finished off the dregs of the Sack (actually an extraordinarily insipid beverage whose commercial name we would rather not mention). Then the nightly Chaos, as people hurried to get changed and to remove make-up with the unromantic Trex cooking-fat. Taut nerves were relaxed, excited voices were raised in three rousing choruses of a slightly scandalous ditty with strong local historical associations. And all dispersed, with thoughts for the most part echoing Samuel Pepys' " And so to bed."

Only when all the hullabaloo and responsibility of performance is over can one begin to reflect on how much one enjoyed taking part. There were many happy moments in Henry IV, not least being the producer's friendly exhortations and his ever-present smile, which seemed to dissolve all nerves and tremors. What above all has seemed to characterise recent productions at K.E.S. is the sturdy comradeship which has quickly sprung up between all members of the cast, old and young, important or unimportant. This comradeship, one firmly believes, is the key to any success which may have been achieved by the School Dramatic Society, particularly over the last two years.