Beryl Orders

Beryl Orders

Member from 1948 to present


Sixty years ago when Players was formed, I was asked to prompt the first production – A School for Scandal. At first Hylda Darby produced nearly all the plays and for some 35 years I acted in most productions – about 100 plays. How did I manage to learn all those lines! I particularly enjoyed Waters of the Moon but probably my favourite part was as Emma Hornett in Watch it Sailor. I have enjoyed all my years with Players, from the acting days, prompting, as Secretary of the Theatre Club and occasional assistance front of house. Sixty years ago Players was formed when Lily Angell gathered together a group to produce 'A School for Scandal'. At that time we were known as St. Lawrence Senior Players as there was already a group of young people called St Lawrence Players. Among the first cast were Harold Smith, Gerald Collins (later a popular Dame in the annual pantomime), Hylda Darby and Joan Elding, who all stayed with us for many years. Soon Hylda took over as producer, continuing for the next twenty-five years, ably assisted by husband Bill and Charles Sanders backstage. At first we just used curtains on the stage, but gradually began to build scenery and improve the sets. New Players joined the ranks – Leigh Smith, Audrey Coates, Jean Jungreuthmeyer and Wally Durston were among the stalwarts. The hall at that time was not licensed for public performances so we could not advertise and seats were available by invitation only, being booked by prior purchase of a programme. Our audiences have been very loyal and supportive. Fr. Rupert Godwin, the Vicar during our early years, was so disappointed at having to miss one of our productions due to illness that he invited the cast to visit him in his bedroom so that he could see us in our costumes and made-up ready to go on stage. From the beginning we had three productions a year. At first the Christmas show was always a pantomime or, later, a children's play, performed first at the annual Sunday School party and the following weekend for our invited audience, with disabled children from the local St Michael's Home invited to the matinee. The cast of these shows also included some of the Junior Players and children from the local Dancing School as fairies, etc. We also often provided entertainment at the Church Summer Fetes, such as revues or a pierrot show. We have had some difficult moments, but it has usually been 'alright on the night’. However there was the occasion when I was playing Alice in 'Alice in Wonderland' and was being lowered down the rabbit hole from the flies when the lights went up too soon and I was seen dangling mid-way! A more painful accident once happened when the leading man (Leigh Smith), making a hasty exit, cracked his head on the wall backstage. Bleeding profusely, he had to be mopped up in time for his next entrance: the show must go on. Happy days!

Appearances as cast

Beryl has appeared in these productions.

Year Show Role
1993 Sixty Glorious Years Programme Cover
1993 Sixty Glorious Years Cast Member
1986 Clara's on the Curtains Mrs Iris Nicholson
1986 Scrooge Party Guest
1985 A Murder Is Announced Mrs. Swettenham
1985 Half A Sixpence Gwendolin
1983 Dear Octopus Nanny Patching
1982 A Talk in the Park Doreen
1982 Pygmalion Mrs Eynsford Hill
1981 Toad Of Toad Hall Nurse
1980 The Shop At Sly Corner Mrs Catt
1979 When We Are Married Mrs Northrop
1978 A Voyage Round My Father Mrs. Reigate
1978 A Voyage Round My Father Miss Baker
1978 A Letter From The General Reverend Mother
1978 The Heartless Princess Lady Amy, a faded lady, companion to the Duchess
1977 Man Alive Miss Yates
1977 The Wizard of Oz Aunt Em
1976 Weatherwise Lady Warple
1976 Off The Hook Edna (her sister)
1975 Temptation Sordid (Music Hall) Performed by
1975 The Orchard Walls Beatrice Maynard BA, Deputy Principal
1974 Midsummer Mink Alice, Lady Miller
1973 Quiet Wedding Florece Bute (Miranda's mother)
1973 Ladies in Retirement Ellen Creed
1973 Oliver! Old Sally
1972 Happiest Days Of Your Life Miss Evelyn Whitchurch, Principal of St. Swithin's School for Girls
1971 Bonaventure Sister Mary Bonaventure
1970 Mystery At Blackwater Mrs. Catherick, Anne's mother
1969 Haul For The Shore Sarah Trowt
1969 Blithe Spirit Madame Arcati
1969 A Lady Mislaid Mrs. Small (daily woman)
1968 Rock-A-Bye, Sailor Emma Hornett
1968 A Letter From The General Reverend Mother
1968 Running Riot Agnes Podmore
1967 Post Horn Gallop Miss Partridge
1966 Watch It, Sailor Emma Hornett
1965 Waters Of The Moon Mrs. Whyte
1965 Man Alive Miss Yates
1965 Cinderella A Lady of the Court
1964 When We Are Married Mrs. Northrop
1964 Mansfield Park Lady Bertram
1964 The Geese Are Getting Fat Joyce Wyndham, his wife
1963 Emma Mrs. Weston
1962 Distinguished Gathering Caroline Beckwith
1962 To Kill A Cat Margaret Fenwick
1961 Haul For The Shore Sarah Trowt
1961 Dry Rot Mrs. Wagstaff
1961 Jack and the Beanstalk An Old Woman
1960 Puss In Boots Old Woman
1960 Hawk Island Louise Hollister
1960 Ten Little Niggers Emily Brent
1959 The Middle Watch Lady Hewitt
1959 Murder On The Nile Miss ffoliot-ffoulkes
1959 Sinbad The Sailor Other parts played by
1958 Baa Baa Black Sheep Mrs. Pottle
1958 The Hollow Gerda Christow
1957 Sit Down A Minute Adrian Dorothy (his wife)
1957 Queen Elizabeth Slept Here Mrs. Douglas
1957 Aladdin The Slave of the Lamp
1956 A Lady Mislaid Esther (Elder sister)
1956 Dick Whittington Harem-Scarem (the Emporer's wife)
1956 Waters Of The Moon Mrs. Whyte
1955 Charley's Aunt (Act II) Kitty Verdun
1955 Gypsy Encampment performed by
1954 The White Sheep Of The Family Janet, the maid
1953 The Shop At Sly Corner Margaret Heiss
1953 Hay Fever Myra Arundel
1953 Aladdin The Princess's Maid
1952 Nothing But The Truth Ethel Clark
1952 Jack & The Beanstalk An old woman (a fairy)
1952 The Poltergeist Joyce Prescott
1951 Cinderella Fairy Godmother
1951 This Happy Breed Vi (Frank's daughter)
1951 Baa Baa Black Sheep Oenone
1951 Cinderella Fairy Godmother
1950 Distinguished Gathering Lady Thalia Wilmer
1950 Candied Peel Lucie French
1950 Dick Whittington Queen Sunshine
1949 I Have Five Daughters Jane Bennet
1949 A Flat and A Sharp Stella Tilney
1949 Murder By Request Her Daughter
1948 The Man Who Stayed At Home Fraulein Schroeder