'The Only Prison' at Canvey

A Dolphin Theatre Group production September 1958

The Dolphin Theatre Group produced ‘The Only Prison’ by Patricia Brooks at the War Memorial Hall in September 1958. Thanks to Dudley George we not only have the program and pictures we also have a newspaper cutting from a local paper giving us all the details. You will find the program and clipping in the gallery below. The clipping has been transcribed and added here with the pictures.

Scene from ‘The Only Prison’

‘The Only Prison’ at Canvey

A Steaming hot Japanese prison camp for women on,a Pacific island was the setting of Canvey Dolphin Theatre Group’s September choice — ” The Only Prison.” The play was staged at the War Memorial Hall on Thursday and was repeated on Friday and Saturday. It is in aid of the local British Red Cross Society.

The set designers worked hard to produce an impressive prison hut, with grass walls.

The first act tells of the boredom and anxiety felt by the women prisoners for lost relatives, the Japanese brutality, and the scanty food. The audience sees how conflicting temperament, normally kept under control, flare into bitter argument as the prisoners are forced to live together.

Nora Shipley, an English woman, is played by Etta Tillett who also produced the play. Her acting is typical of the whole cast’s—natural and convincing.

Hilda Holloway plays Sheila, Fanstone, a quiet girl who becomes friendly with a Japanese soldier.

Scene from ‘The Only Prison’

The first scene ends with her being flung on the stage by the soldier. This starts a whole train of troubles for the prisoners, reaching a climax when Phillipa Wharton is beaten up by the guards.

Phillipa Wharton’s part is taken by Sylvia Fullick, who is, incidentally, Canvey’s Carnival Queen.

A character to charm the audience’s heart is Gerda Larsen — played by Peggy Stevens. Fanny Mason, the spinster who disapproves of almost everything, is played by Maye George.

Other parts were played by Ivy Baldwin, Ruby Benson and Constance Osborne.

‘The Only Prison’

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