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Martins Bank Society of the Arts – Drama Section in: The Sixth Hour by Wilfred Grantham

Staged: 12 December 1946 in the Little Theatre at Head Office Water Street Liverpool

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The Sixth Hour is one of the first plays staged by the Society of the Arts Drama Section for which we have a review and a photograph. In fact they put on a total of FOUR plays in 1946, two of which are covered by Martins Bank Magazine, and we are not sure why the other two are not mentioned. The Sixth Hour and Drama at Childwell Bottom are both performed to an audience of fellow society members and other Bank Staff at Head Office on the evening of 12 December 1946. 

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Martins Bank Magazine questions whether or not a religious play is the right thing for an amateur group to perform, but goes on to generally praise the production, which sees an audience of one hundred and twenty crammed into the small basement theatre. Among them is Mr Verity – Deputy Chief General Manager of the Bank – his wife and family, so there must have been an extra air of nervousness amongst the players as they tried to put across the sorrow of Judas shortly after the death of Jesus.  They had also already presented the play to the Irby Drama Festival, and earned excellent reviews. It seems the Drama Section are definitely going places!

A religious play is a difficult proposition for an amateur company to present successfully. It has to be done well, and in tackling “ The Sixth Hour,” by Wilfrid Grantham, the Drama Section produced the most ambitious play it has so far attempted. The players succeeded magnificently and the performances, first at the Irby Drama Festival where it earned high praise, and then in the little theatre at Head Office, were most impressive. The play depicts the remorse of Judas a few hours after the Crucifixion, and this character was played by Sydney Rimmer (manager, Charing Cress branch, Bitkenhead), who was also the producer. Sydney Rimmcr’s reputation on Merseyside as an amateur actor is only second to his reputation as a producer, and in this difficult role he laid a spell on his audience.

Desmond West, Bill Brookes, Sydney Rimmer, Maureen Dempster and Audrey Wall Jones.

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Desmond West (Claughton Village branch) played convincingly as Caiaphas and Maureen Dempster (Heywoods) as Leah, the shrewish wife of Judas, gave a most talented performance. Audrey Wall Jones (Birkenhead) as Sarah, priestess of the Temple, played her seductive role with warmth, though passion rather than restraint might have made her portrayal even better. Bill Brookes (Central) as the street seller gave us a delightful thumbnail sketch illustrating his versatility in yet another field. The audience, over 120, was the largest we have yet had and conditions in the Music Room were uncomfortably hot and overcrowded. Still, out of evil comes good, and it seems likely that we may be lucky enough, through the kindness of supporters, to acquire the use of a more commodious place for our next production. We were glad to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Verity and their family on this occasion.

 

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