The Young Vectis Players
The Players formed in 1962 from members of the youth club and ended up performing sketches, singing and producing an annual pantomime for charity. The pantos toured the Island playing venues including East Cowes, Freshwater and Ventnor. From acting and singing to making scenery the players, who totalled 150 during the 21 years the group was in existence, did everything. They finally split in 1983. However, many of the players were still involved in theatrical ventures. One member even gave up a teaching job to become a clown in a circus. You would probably have found in every theatre group on the Island there was someone who was once a “Vectis Player.”
A few of the shows mentioned in the local press:
February 1964 Mr. W. REED, director of the Young Vectis Players, Ryde, took his company to entertain at St. John’s, Newport. Several of the cast were pupils, or former pupils, of Bishop Lovett Secondary School, Ryde. The young players sang in fine style a selection of songs from their current pantomime “Aladdin,” and excerpts from “The Pirates of Penzance.”
In September 1964 Mr. W. REED began a year’s training in London so his brother Dennis REED took charge of the Young Vectis Players while he was away. Mr. Roger MATTOCKS was acting director in his absence. Mr. W. REED returned for three weeks in December to take the final rehearsals and also to conduct two performances of “Mother Goose” in January 1965.
In between their Christmas shows the company travelled all over the Island putting on variety entertainment for institutions, old folks’ homes and the like. The players had no home. Rehearsals were held in a Ryde School, costumes were made by members, with help from wardrobe mistress Joan HAYWARD, props were stored in members’ homes and scenery was painted in the open air behind a cafe.
In January 1966 the Players presented “Red Riding Hood.” By then the membership had doubled to 40 and four pantomimes, one musical and half a dozen charity concerts had been staged.
In January 1967 “Jack and the Beanstalk” was the panto performed at the Pavilion, with “Puss in Boots” the following year 1968, which was a resounding success. In January 1969 they presented “Aladdin,” the performances to packed houses was their most successful production.
August 1970 the title of their first summer variety show at Ryde Youth Centre was “Chaos.” It was enjoyable, funny and chaotic. During previous summers the Players had performed at holiday camps but this year they decided on a public performance, but the Pavilion was being used for Old Time Music Hall, hence their use of the Ryde Youth Centre. The company presented songs from the shows, including “Paint your Wagon,” “South Pacific” and “Oliver.”
Some names mentioned in connection with the 1970 performance: Anthony MOORE, Janet WOOD, Peter RANN, Cherry SCOVELL, John COOPER, Christopher MOORE, Helen ARMSTRONG, Paula ATTRILL, Vivien BATTERSBY, Rachel DAVIES, Nick FRAMPTON, Carole HAYWARD, Lynne HOLLIS, Hilary KETTELL, Jayne LEWIS, Kay LONG, Deborah OLIVER, Roger PADDEY, Hilary SAUNDERS, Helen TOWNSEND, Peter WALL, Elizabeth WINDELER Simon WRIGGLESWORTH, Reg HAYWARD, Patricia MOORE, Marion MOORE, Arthur AYLES and Trevor BUSHELL.
In 1992 former members of the old Ryde theatrical group had a get together to celebrate their formation 30 years previously. Nick FRAMPTON of Sandown, started tracking down members of the Young Vectis Players for a party at the Anglesea Tavern, Ryde. He was joined by 44 people who came from all parts of the mainland to talk about old times.
Note: We have many old photos of the Young Vectis Players and we would like to identify the people in them. If you can help us, please message us via our “Contact” facility on this website, or if you live local, pop into the Resource Centre in Ryde Cemetery where you can view the photos, thank you.
Sources: IW County Press and RSHG Archive
Images: With thanks to Stephen Belcher
Article: Ann Barrett