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The School Play 1966

Saint Joan

A Chronicle Play by Bernard Shaw

From Brian Wilson

IN March 1966 a quite elaborate production of Shaw's "Saint Joan" was staged in conjunction with girls from the Girls Grammar School and from Southover Manor School. (The latter was a rather up-market private girls' school which occupied the large property known as Southover Manor almost opposite Anne of Cleves' House in Southover High St.) For reasons that are not clear the play was never reported in the Barbican magazine for that year. The programs (see below) were specially printed for each of the performances which took place over a period of several days.

School play 1966 - 'St Joan'



Saint Joan
By Bernard Shaw

Robert de Baudricourt
Bertrand de Poulengey
Archbishop of Rheims
Monseigneur de la Tremouille
Gilles de Rais
The Dauphin (later Charles VII)
Captain la Hire
Duchess de la Trémouille
Court Page
His Page
Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick
Chaplain de Stogumber
Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais
Warwick's Page
Brother John Lemaitre, The Inquisitor
Canon John D'Estivet
Canon de Courcelles
Brother Martin Ladvenu
English Soldier
Court Ladies

Philip Courage
William Stovell
Deborah Sharp
David Holcombe
Robin Noel
Richard Job
Simon Pettitt
Vivian Newman
Chris Frost
Susan Kingsley
Peter Mobbs
Brian Wilson
Nicholas Beal
Roland Boorman
Martyn Relf
Michael Woollard
David Carter
Peter Bryant
Roderick Hall
Philip Courage
Martin Harvey
William Bartholomew
Martin Crees
Simon Pettitt
Penny Adams, Sarah Schofield
Bob Timlin, Oliver Scott,
Clive Phillips, Tim Mitchell
Richard Teller, Graham Frost

We would like to thank the Headmistresses of Lewes County Grammar School for Girls and Southover Manor School for allowing their girls to join the cast, also the many boys and friends of the school who have contributed to this production.

SCENE 1 - Castle of Vaucouleurs

SCENE 2 - Chinon, in Touraine

SCENE 3 - Orleans

SCENE 4 - English Camp

SCENE 5 - Cathedral of Rheims

1429 February

1429 March

1429 April

1429 May

1429 July

Interval of twenty minutes during which coffee will be served in the dining hall

SCENE 6 - Rouen

EPILOGUE - Royal Chateau in France

1431 May 30th

1456 June



Stage Manager:



The Set:



Neil Pitcairn assisted by Albert Knight, Peter Best, George Wilton, Pat Fleming, Andrew Borley, Stephen Coote, Trevor Cook and Barry Prior.

Peter and Jean Toy, Doris Linfield, Mary Worsell, parents and friends.

Keith and Diana Herbert.

David Batehup assisted by John Franklin and Peter Clarke.

John Davey assisted by Roger Matthews, David Tandy, David Jeans, Trevor Jarvis, Chris Miles.

Richard Hames.


??? and Dunois? This is the story of Joan of Arc the saintly heroine of France who rescued her nation from the hands of the English towards the end of the Hundred Years' War

After Agincourt in 1415 the English King Henry V conquered northern France while the French King Charles VI raved in his lunacy, his nobles quarrelled and the common people suffered and despaired. By the Treaty of Troyes in 1420 Charles VI's queen had agreed in his name that their daughter Catherine should marry Henry V and that when Charles died Henry and his heirs should be kings of France as well as England. Her own son, the Dauphin, was to be set aside.

An Autographed Program But Henry V died in 1422 leaving a son of only 9 months of age : 2 months later the mad Charles VI died also and the infant Henry VI was proclaimed King of France as well as England. But many of the French would not willingly accept him, preferring the rule of the Dauphin, a weak and feeble creature incapable of leadership. His cause seemed hopeless, particularly as the great Duke of Burgundy was an ally of the English.

Then Joan the Maid came upon the scene to rally the French in the name of something quite new : patriotism. The war was transformed from a personal, quarrel between two kings to a war between two nations, and the English were doomed to failure.

Please do not smoke in the Hall

More on St Joan

Simon Pettitt

From the Sussex Express and County Herald - Friday, March 25 1966

B ERNARD SHAW'S 'Saint Joan' presents a challenge to any group of actors. To a comparatively inexperienced school society it holds any number of pitfalls. All credit then to the Lewes County Grammar School for Boys for deciding in the first place that they could attempt it, and secondly for staging a commendable production.

The first performance was given on Wednesday and the last is tomorrow (Saturday), The fact that the majority of Shaw's plays are too long and he takes too much time in making his point will not worry the majority.

The action must be sustained; at a high level of interest throughout, however, otherwise it becomes a test of endurance, both for the cast and for the audience who have to sit patiently for over three hours on hard wooden seats. I feel one should pay the school the compliment of assuming they would like to be assessed on a high standard. In which case, 'Saint Joan' does not, perhaps, quite measure up to the merits of some previous productions.


This may not be altogether the fault of the producer and the cast, but to the difficulties in variably encountered in tackling Shaw. There are, however, a few criticisms I feel I should make.

In the first two scenes I began to wonder if elocution lessons are still part of a school's curriculum, as the diction in some cases was poor. There were exceptions, am glad to say, and some of the later work was outstandingly good.

Several of those taking part have yet to learn that it is not necessary to shout to gain emphasis. Much more effect is achieved by variations in tone and delivering the lines deliberately.

It might also be mentioned that on a number of occasions the characters had their backs to the audience when a simple movement so that they turned naturally would have enabled their words to be heard more clearly.

Finally, much of the dialogue is too fast and becomes garbled, I though bearing in mind the length of the play it may have been necessary in order to finish in; reasonable time.

In spite of this, it is a satisfying effort which holds the interest, and I doubt whether many of those present even notice these points.

Key Role

The school once again called on Lewes County Grammar School Girls and Southover Manor School for help with the few female parts and they are fortunate in their choice for the key role of Saint Joan.

Deborah Sharp gives a splendidly sustained performance throughout, and does well in a role that has tested many experienced actresses. The other girls - Susan Kingsley, Penny Adams and Sarah Schofleld - add colour to the scene in fleeting appearances.

Roland Boorman is outstanding with an easy and confident manner as the Earl of Warwick, and his scene with Martyn Relf as a chaplain and Michael Woollard as the Bishop of Beauvais is particularly convincing.

Vivian Newman makes a suitably weak and pathetic figure of the Dauphin, Roderick Hall is impressively calm and efficient as Canon John D'Estivet, and Robin Noel is well cast as the Archbishop of Rheims.


Others in the cast are Philip Courage (Robert de Baudricourt and Canon de Courcelles), William Stovell (steward), David Holcombe (Bertrand de Poulengey) , Richard Job (Monseigneur de la Tremouille), Simon Pettitt (Gilles de Rais), Chris Frost (Captain la Hire), Peter Mobbs (Court Page), Brian Wilson (Dunois) , Nicholas Beat (page), David Carter (Warwick's page), Peter Bryant (Inquisitor), Martin Harvey (Brother Martin Ladvenu), William Bartholomew (Executioner), Martin Crees (English soldier). Bob Timlin, Oliver Scott, Clive Phillips, Tim Mitchell (assessors), Richard Teller, Graham Frost (soldiers).

Simon Pettitt as Gilles de Rais

Producer Peter Taylor is responsible for a well balanced production and deals capably with the many problems which arise in staging a play of this type. There were some good lighting effects, but the limitations of the facilities were occasionally revealed. In all a very worthwhile effort which no doubt gives considerable satisfaction to those taking part and pleases the audience.

The Programme

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