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 Recalling dramas at the Quay
Author Sara Knight and her new book
The theatre group must have had some characters over the years – can you pick out one or two and recall any tales about them? There were! Here are three . . .
Percy Leggett, teacher at North Street School, comic actor in the pre-SDS days, and he became the chief make-up artist until after the last war. He was the cartoonist ‘Val’ for the Suffolk Free Press, and wrote the words for comic songs written with E. E. Vinnicombe, the organist at St Peter’s Church.
Gus the Theatre Cat. He arrived and took up residence shortly after the Quay opened. He particularly favoured plays where there was a sofa on the stage, which he would stroll across to, to his own round of applause. As the theatre was not open on Christmas Day, the catering manager brought him his Christmas dinner especially. His photograph is still in the bar, and SDS have named their version of the Oscars as the ‘Gus Awards’.
Mildred Head, daughter of founder member
P. Head, proprietor of the furniture store that supplied most of the stage sets and sister to Evelyn who performed with SDS. Mildred advised the Heath government, was instrumental in keeping the railway line between Sudbury and Marks Tey open, was Mayor of Sudbury and was awarded an OBE. As one of the directors of the Quay she helped sort out the finances in the 1980s.
Out of all the many productions at the Quay which sticks in your mind the most and why? The Tempest in 2016. As well as performing this at the Quay, we took it to Laroles in the
Sudbury Dramatic Society: The First Hundred Years by Sara Knight.
Details on page 46
Alpujarras in Spain, to participate in the annual ‘Un Teatro Entre Todos’ festival. To make the production more relateable to a non-English speaking audience, we focused on making the visual and soundscape as accessible as possible. We worked with professional musicians Martin and Janine Plackett to combine Spanish and English music from the 16th century to link the two cultures. It was an amazing experience.
  Show with a twist:
The Shakespeare Undressed team at Sudbury’s Quay Theatre and below, the cast of Frieda, dating back to 1947

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