An Ayrshire Arts Archive ~ Arts Groups and Venues

Craigie College of Education : A Dramatic History ~ Performers and Reviews

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.

Reports and Reviews

Producers and Performers

David Crouch (1934 - 2012)

David Crouch was known as an actor, director, fight arranger, academic and friend of the Arts in Ayrshire.  He was a member of the Compass Club, active as an actor and producer with the group after his retirement in 1988.  Prior to his retirement, David was Senior Lecturer in Speech and Drama at Craigie College of Education in Ayr, accepting early retirement in August 1988. 

As Head of Drama at Craigie College, David was responsible for many of the theatrical productions between 1964 and 1981.  In that period the College presented nearly forty dramatic performances for the general public of Ayrshire and beyond.  They included a variety of plays, operas and musicals.  Apart from an early production of Noyes Fludde, which was given in a local church, performances were in three venues, all on the College campus.

David's interest in the drama of the Restoration period encouraged him to produce Congreve's Way of the World and Goldoni's The Fan in his early years at Craigie.  The Fan was the college's first full-length play. One feature of this production was a translation that had never before been played in a public performance in a British theatre, consequently the Lord Chamberlain had to be license the text.

With his drama students, David ran the Craigie College Children’s Theatre, which operated on Saturday mornings in term time.  The genesis of this activity lay in a course run by Brian Way at his Theatre Centre.  Over many years, a dedicated group of students and teachers worked with a wide range of primary children, often coming to the studio in their classes.  The weekly events in the studio would take the form of an improvised narrative, based in an exotic or historical situation. In this setting, David created an ensemble that reflected movements in the professional theatre, such as Brecht's Berliner Ensemble and Littlewood's Theatre Workshop.

After the opening of the lecture theatre in 1971 David was responsible for many of the successful productions mounted on that stage.  Notable among his contribution to college theatre life were presentations of Miller's The Crucible, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author and Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

David was to play roles in some of his later productions, appearing as one of the knights and tempters in Murder in the Cathedral.  For Noyes Fludde he provided an impressive 'Voice of God.'

David Crouch in the role of A Tempter, with Robert Stefani as Becket in T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.  The final production in the College Theatre in 1981.  (Photograph from the personal collection David J. F. Crouch).  A Craigie College of Education Production.

Subsequently, as a member of the Compass Club, David appeared in numerous plays including Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, Anouilh's Ring Round the Moon and Aykbourn's Joking Apart.

David was also active in the cultural community outwith the college.  He was Chairman of the Ayr Arts Guild for many years and served briefly as the Chairman of the Ayrshire Arts Festival, prior to the launch in 1983.   He was also a founding member of the Anthologists and directed the first Christmas at Culzean for the National Trust for Scotland.

In 1998, David settled in York, in company with his wife Barbara.  Here he pursued a programme of research, gaining his Doctor of Philosophy degree with his dissertation Piety, Fraternity and Power: Religious Gilds in Late Medieval Yorkshire, 1389-1547: Religious Guilds in Late Medieval Yorkshire, 1389-1547 (2000).  He undertook further theatrical productions in York, including a presentation of the York Mystery Plays

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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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