50 YEARS OF SEASIDE ENTERTAINMENT
Was any holiday complete without a visit to the summer show or concert party? The very names conjure up the period -
Sandy Powell’s Startime; Cyril Fletcher’s Summer Masquerade; Hedley Claxton’s Gaytime; The Fol-de-Rols.
And Clarkson Rose’s Twinkle.
Clarkie and his partner Olive Fox presented their first Twinkle on Ryde Pier in 1921.
Over the following 47 years Twinkle had resident summer seasons, with tours in the spring and autumn.
In the winter months Clarkie was one of our busiest and best-loved pantomime dames.
THE STORY OF TWINKLE IS VERY MUCH THE STORY OF BRITISH SEASIDE ENTERTAINMENT DURING THAT PERIOD
In 1935 Twinkle’s summer seasons moved to Eastbourne’s Pier Pavilion: Clarkie and Olive set up home in the town
and were based there for the rest of their lives. Clarkie’s doctor was the infamous John Bodkin Adams, alleged to have
‘eased the passing’ of perhaps 140 of his elderly female patients. Olive never liked him: I wonder why?
The original Eastbourne version of this talk is probably of more interest to those in the south-east.
In 2016 I was asked by Barnstaple U3A for a ‘study day version’ of this talk more relevant to audiences in the south-west.
No problems. When German bombers forced the closure of Eastbourne Pier Clarkie moved Twinkle down to Torquay, where they did three summer seasons and three pantomimes. Twinkle toured once to Barnstaple, often to Exeter - and presented
the last summer season in Exeter’s Theatre Royal. Twinkle’s own final summer season, in 1968, was in Teignmouth.
The south-west had its own thriving seaside entertainment scene - all covered in the Barnstaple version of this talk.
Both versions are presented as a ‘solo performance’ with costumes and props, some songs and a dance.
There is some audience involvement. Oh, yes there is.
It therefore needs a ‘performance space’ - not necessarily a stage - and cannot be done from behind a lectern or dining table.
And a hands-free microphone, please.
King Henri IV described the River Charente as “the most beautiful river in my kingdom” but it is much more than that. A border between warring forces; the invasion route for the Vikings; a main transportation route until the arrival of the railways, carrying cannon, paper, brandy, salt and building materials. It now plays an increasingly important role in the tourist industry of two French departements, Charente and Charente Maritime. Discover all this, and more, when you book
A TRIP DOWN THE RIVER CHARENTE
RICHELIEU: THE CARDINAL AND HIS ‘CITY’
In 1585, when Armand-Jean du Plessis (later Cardinal de Richelieu) was born, France existed only as a geographical area: neither language nor law provided any unity. Loyalties were feudal, religious and/or regional. Richelieu dictated both the military strategies which provided France with new defensible borders, and inaugurated the unifying reforms which moulded the state’s own national cultural identity.In the process Richelieu discovered the power of cultural propaganda, and sought control of the country’s literary and artistic activities and institutions.Working closely with the royal architect Lemercier, the Cardinal planned buildings of enormous extravagance, including the church at the Sorbonne, where he was proviseur, and the magnificent Chateau and ‘walled town’ on the family estate at Richelieu.The Palais-Cardinal in Paris (later the Palais Royale) included a theatre, and he collected paintings and sculptures by many of the outstanding artists of the time, now on view in Paris, Orleans and Tours. He also founded the Academie Francaise.
left: the Sorbonne church in Paris.
right: entry to the walled town of Richelieu,
‘cite du Cardinal’
built alongside the huge Chateau (since demolished) on the du Plessis estate in Touraine. Just inside the
arch was my shop, and my home
for five fascinating years.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW: PLAYING THE CLOWN
A semi-staged canter through the life, loves and writings of “the greatest playwright since Shakespeare” told, as he himself always told it, with a whimsical sense of humour.
Details and Reviews of this ‘semi-staged’ Presentation can be found on the G B SHAW page.
TWO POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS which ‘really do need pictures’.
Kingsbridge U3A: Another blistering success - gave a terrific depth to the subject.