An Ayrshire Arts Archive ~ Arts Groups and Venues

Craigie College of Education : A Dramatic History ~ Play List 1964 - 1980

Craigie College of Education : A Dramatic History ~ 1964 - 1980

Over a period of 24 years the staff and students at Craigie College of Education presented quality music and drama in Ayr. This section of the website explores the work of the Ciollege Drama Groups.

Women of Troy

'The War Game'
Ancient Style

Craigie Theatre Group, Ayr, presented 'The Women of Troy', by Euripides to enthusiastic audiences in the hall of the College on Wednesday and Thursday and will stage a final performance tonight (Friday).

The play, a score of Fifth Century Athenian equivalent of 'The War Game', depicts the situation of the women of Troy waiting in the ruins of their burning city to be led off into slavery by the victorious Greeks and clustering in their sorrow, bitterness, agony and fear, round the central figure, their widowed queen Hecabe.

This is a very demanding role most expertly and convincingly maintained throughout by Marlene Rae. That the excellence of her performance did not unbalance the piece is a tribute to the sensitivity and skill of the supporting players, Karmanie McCartney as Cassandra; Fiona Laidlaw, a beautifully spoken Andromache; Margaret Hart as Menelaus; Patricia Smith, a stalwart Greek herald and Margaret Andrew as Helen of Troy and to the perceptive interpretation and direction of Mr David Crouch, the producer.

Good work by the chorus, by Morag Barr and Jacqueline Fraser-Campbell as Poseidon and Athene, meticulously appropriate costumes and set and splendid lighting and sound effects were also woven into a tightly unified and most moving production.

The Ayrshire Post, February 25, 1966

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Women of Troy
The 1966 College production of The Women of Troy preformed in the Assembly Hall.   magnify      Images from David J F Crouch (personal collection)

'The Way of the World'

Students to Produce 'The Way of the World'.

The Theatre group at Craigie College of Education is busy rehearsing for its production of 'The Way of the World' by William Congreve, which opens in the college theatre on February 22.

This is a period comedy and most of the elaborate 18th century costumes are being designed and made in the college. As well as needing good costumes, music and its interpretation also play a large part in the success of this production.

Mis Margaret Anderson of the Physical Education department is coaching the students in the steps of the minuet, while Mr James Clark rehearses with other students a song that he has composed in the 18th century manner, to a lyric from the script of the play.

The producer of the play, which will run for three performances, is Mr David Crouch, lecturer in Speech and Drama at the College.


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Way of the World
A scene from The Way of the World presented at Craigie College of Education.  magnify      Images from David J F Crouch (personal collection)

A delightful introduction to Britten's Noye's Fludde.

An opera with an Old Testament setting and mid-twentieth century music, designed for performance in church, clearly makes big demands on the production resources of any local organisation.

Local audiences could have wished for no better introduction to Benjamin Britten's Noyes Fludde than that given them on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week in Castlehill Church, Ayr, by Craigie College of Education, Ayr.

The College's speech and drama lecturer Mr. David Crouch tackled the mammoth task of production with great zest. In addition to handling the huge cast of 20 principal and 150 children from from Alloway and Holmston Primary Schools and Mainholm High School - the children played the roles of the animals in the ark - Crouch himself took part in the production as the voice of God.

Geoffrey Dixon handled capably the role of the paternal figure Noye with Audrey McBeath as his shrewish wife; Anne Reyner, Lesley Paterson and Helen Sloan as their sons, with Sheila McNab, Margaret Simpson and Linda Smith as the sons' wives.

The gossipy acquaintances of Mrs. Noye were played by Elizabeth Davidson, Aileen Laidlaw, Alison Roger, Margaret Gimson, Wilma Taylor, Anne Wyllie, Joyce Nicolson and Linda Sanderson.

Two further principals deserving special mention were Joanne Rodger in the role of The Raven and Sandra Blair taking the part of the Dove which returns to the ark as the storm subsides.

Noye and his ark have triumphed over the storm and the animals make a joyous exit to land to the accompaniment of Britten's exultant score.

A substantial part of the success of the production was freely attributed to the orchestra under, the baton of Mr. John Wilson the college's music lecturer, which has student and staff members and other local musicians in its membership and must surely rate as the leading amateur orchestra of the county.

Ayr Advertiser, June 1967

Novel production of Noye's Fludde.

Over the past three years the drama and music sections of Craigie College of Education have become well known for their out-of-the-ordinary productions and recitals and their combined version of Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde, which opened in Castlehill Church, on Wednesday, is no exception.

It is certainly one of the most novel productions to be staged in Ayr both from the stage setting point of view - made more difficult with a cast of 170 - and the wealth of contemporary religious music in Britten's score.

Producer David Crouch, speech and drama lecturer at Craigie College, is certainly to be complimented on his excellent handling of such a huge cast - 150 of them local school children. What could have been organised chaos in a very small area, is in fact a very slick operation.

Standards of staging and acting are high and the principals deserve special mention for their singing of some of Britten's tricky passages. A good pace was maintained throughout.

Most impressive is the creation of the Ark on stage, without a break in the continuity of the action and most lifelike is the rising water impression gained at the height of the storm. This is achieved by four stage assistants 'waving' long strips of satin.

Principals in the production are David Crouch (the Voice of God); Geoffrey Dixon (Noye); Audrey McBeath (Mrs Noye); Anne Reyner, Lesley Paterson and Helen Sloan (Noye's sons); Sheila McNab, Margaret Simpson and Linda Smith (their wives); Mrs Noye's gossips are Elizabeth Davidson, Aileen Laidlaw, Alison Roger, Margaret Gimson, Wilma Taylor, Anne Wyllie, Joyce Nicolson and Linda Sanderson. The Raven is Joanne Rodger and the Dove, Sandra Blair.

The animals are played by children from Mainholm High School, Alloway Primary School and Holmston Primary School.

Contributing greatly to the success of the production, however, is the excellent orchestra, conducted by college music lecturer Mr John Wilson, which is made up of local musicians, students and staff of the college.

Ayrshire Post, June 1967

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The 1967 production of Benjamin Britten's Noyes Fludde at Castlehill Church, Ayr

Fludde 1
The 1967 production of Benjamin Britten's Noyes Fludde at Castlehill Church, Ayr

The 1967 production of Benjamin Britten's Noyes Fludde at Castlehill Church, Ayr

Blood Wedding

Excellent Drama choice by Craigie College.

The passions and violence of Spain during the time of the Spanish Civil War are reflected in the dramatic and tragic play 'Blood Wedding’ presented this week by the Craigie College of Education Theatre Group.

The play by the famous Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca is an excellent choice by the group and contrasts greatly with their previous productions. The scope of choice, however, is widened by the introduction of men into the group.

The story tells of the tragic events following the abduction of a bride on her wedding day by her former fiancé and in this production the bride is played with sympathy by Aileen Laidlaw. The tragic figure of the bridegroom is well captured by William Milligan and the abductor by Kenneth Brice.

Others making up this talented cast are Jackie Fraser-Campbell (the mother); Margaret Gray (the mother-in-law); Sherrilyn Clark (Leonardo's wife); Ingrid Kawerau (the servant woman); Jack Tosh (the bride's father); Louella Kirkland (the Moon) and Karmanie McCartney, the Beggar Woman who is death.

Young girls are played by Anne Lunam, Joyce Logan, Rosalie Dymock and Eilidh Nicolson; the wedding guests are Fred Bull, David McCulloch, Kate Marshall and Alan Nicolson and the Woodcutters David Carter, Edwin Henderson and David Rowe.

The play is produced by David J. F. Crouch and the impressive set was designed by Frederick Bull and Bill Graham and built in the college.

Ayrshire Post, 23rd February 1968

Blood Wedding
A scene from the 1968 production of Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding.  Players from left to right William Milligan (Leonardo), AIleen Laidlaw (Bride) and Ingrid Kawerau (Serving Girl.  (Photographer unknown.)  This play was presented within the Assembly Hall.     Images from David J F Crouch (personal collection)

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Creative Ayrshire acknowledges the assistance of David J F Crouch (BA, MA, DPhil, Diploma in Drama in Education), Carolyn O'Hara, Ken Walker, Mike Bailey,  Barbara Crouch and the Librarian UWS for the provision of material for this section of the website. 

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