More than 100 members of West Chiltington Theatre Arts Club met on Tuesday, July 8, at the West Chiltington Village Hall to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Club.
Its founder, Chairman, Estelle Warriner, told the audience how it started with a handfull of her friends going in a minibus once a month to a theatre play.
Events secretary Rose Gray said: “Word spread locally and it quickly became an established club, meeting once a month at the West Chiltington Village Hall for a lecture, and going by coach monthly to see a play.
“Theatres regularly visited include the Festival Theatre, Chichester, Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford, Theatre Royal, Brighton and the Mayflower, Southampton.”
With a membership now of approximately 170 and after 20 years at the helm, Estelle felt the time had come for her to stand down as chairman.
The committee and members unanimously agreed that she become president of the club.
Mrs Gray continued: “Estelle was warmly thanked for her years of service by Wendy Davies, and was presented with an attractive floral tribute and a pink rose, named ‘Celebration’ to plant in her garden.
“Estelle is succeeded by Wendy Davies, who has acted in numerous West End productions, notably playing Eliza Doolittle opposite Tony Britton in ‘My Fair Lady’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’, also in the West End.”
Since moving locally, Wendy has acted in and directed plays for the West Chiltington Dramatic Society.
In fact, Wendy organised the entertainment at Tuesday’s celebrations, narrating the story of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Songs and lyrics from six of this outstanding duo’s songs were sung by Lisa Westcott, who played Charity Barnum in the musical ‘Barnum’ with Michael Crawford, and Rosemary Lyford who, with Wendy, performed in ‘The Boys from Syracuse’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury lane.
Both ladies have performed in numerous other West End productions.
Playing the keyboard was Barry Westcott, another theatrical friend of Wendy from London.
Barry has been musical director of many West End shows, including ‘Evita’.
Club members applauded enthusiastically, and Estelle, Wendy, Lisa and Rosemary were presented with beautiful floral baskets arranged ny Committee member, Hermin Daley.
“All present agreed that it had been an outstanding afternoon’s entertainment,” added Mrs Gray.