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Beorhtel's Hill - Thirty-Five Year's Ago!

Updated: May 25

Robert Marlow

Here I am, standing with the legendary Robert Marlow in 1989. He was the narrator in 'Beorhtel's Hill' and we all grew very fond of him as he had a larger than life, fun personality and was a complete professional.

One of the outstanding memories of being in the highly successful community play for Basildon to celebrate the New Town's 40th anniversary, was working with Rob. He had grown up with some of Basildon's greats in music history, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher. He was in Alison Moyet's punk band 'The Vandals' before she paired with Vince Clarke and formed Yazoo. Around the time that Yazoo was finishing he also got together with his best friend, Vince Clarke and recorded the studio album, 'The Peter Pan Effect'. He later recorded 'The Face of Dorian Gray' with Vince Clarke and Eric Radcliffe. He didn't actually go around talking about these achievements but I got to learn about them later.

I had a great time being in the community play, I only decided to get involved as my husband, who was working for the Prudential, was working a lot of extra hours as they were installing a new system. We had only been recently married, since September 1988, and I was disappointed that he was working so much but I didn't want to remain gloomy and got myself involved in something. My last effort in amateur dramatics didn't go too well if I remember rightly, I was at SEEVIC and for some strange reason I was cast as King Duncan in the play that shouldn't be mentioned in the theatre - Macbeth. It didn't go well, my nerves really took over me. So it was rather strange that I thought getting involved in drama would be a good idea. But I did, and as it happened, it worked out rather well!

As a cast of many we were all in awe of the writer, Arnold Wesker, a famous dramatist who had done varied and numerous works. His plays have been translated into twenty languages and performed world-wide.

Arnold Wesker

After 35 years my main memories are warming up with drama games. Moving on to rehearsing the play. Making some of the props, I spent a cosy afternoon making hats for Plotlanders. I played a daughter in a Plotland family, and in the play my 'sister' and I drew lines on the back of each others legs with eye pencils to imitate seamed tights. They actually did this, and tied old rags in their hair to create curls.

When I played an angel in the chorus, singing was taken very seriously. I remember being very impressed with our finished and polished songs we had rehearsed, we had really progressed. I also played part of the crowd in the 1980s as time moved on in the play.

Research for the play had been going on for at least two years. The Colway Theatre Trust were behind the play with the directors Jon Oram and Steve Woodwood. I particularly liked cuddly Jon Oram, he had great vibes.

Jon Oram and me (with dreadful Deirdre Barlow style glasses).

It was overall a tremendous experience, and I vowed to do amdram again afterwards. We put on a fabulous play which had a great reception and I particularly remember my Auntie Teresa and my cousin, Sara running up to me screaming after they saw the play and giving me a hug. It was lovely of them as I only had small parts, I have always remembered that.

Some more photos from that wonderful time below.

Steve Woodwood

Plotlanders standing in front of the Haven Plotlands Museum (picture featured in my book 'Basildon Through Time').

Plotlander Ladies

Me and my Plotland sister

Some of us cast with Jon Oram

A couple of Thalian folk and other cast.

One of the after party photos

Another after party photo.

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