Ebor Players Present Dick Whittington… The Review

“You feel part of it, as though you could get up and join in.”

“Each performance is individual; it keeps to the plot and keeps on getting better.”

“This is a local institution, just like the Theatre Royal.”

“There is no star turn, all the actors are equal and nobody steals the show”

“Cool, funny, clever”

These are just somepantp_2010_1 of the comments made by the audience.

I arrived on a cold winter’s night to watch the annual pantomime by the Ebor Players, this year Dick Whittington. On arrival the atmosphere in the hall was electric even before the performance had started. The professional looking electronic kit was plentiful… sound machines, lights to laptops along with people who cleverly knew how to operate them.

The performance started with rats running around the audience, clearly a very clever way to warm up the gathered crowd. They were soon followed by King Rat, (Tom Davis) & Razor, (Lisa Thornton) who only could be described as excellent.

I was asking myself at this point if this was a professional production as it could hardly be described as ‘amateur dramatics’ I also had in my mind that the standard was so high from the beginning, would this continue throughout the performance or would there be the inevitable ‘lull’ as the story gets lost and the magic starts to fade.

As the performance continued my fears for the rest of the show were soon quashed. The story, sounds, lights, music & songs were all excellent and ran smoothly. All the characters from small to tall were comfortable in their parts making this a whole magical village event. No one actor or actress stole the show as everybody excelled in their own way.

The audience’s hearts were captured many times and the songs were sung with so much feeling they brought many a tear to my eye.

pantp_2010_2Ethel Burger played by David Rose was a sure match for Berwick Kaler. Ethel was surrounded by all the humour, wit and slapstick you would expect from a professional pantomime. Audience participation was plentiful and there were even sweets for the children!

Each scene just got better and better. I could only describe the neon light octopus’ garden scene as fabulous. I could hear gasps from the audience at just how brilliant this was.

All rounded off with a community song for dessert – what better way to spend an evening out.  In fact why go all that way to the Theatre Royal when in my opinion you have better on the doorstep?

pantp_2010_3The pantomime has run from Monday to Saturday this year due to popular demand. Should we expect a run from December to February next year to rival other productions? I would be careful though, you may find Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass in the audience looking to capture some new ideas!

Well done Ebor Players, from acting to behind the scenes, whatever your role in this production- you are amazing!

In Celebration of Local Guiding

This year, Girl Guides and Brownies throughout the world celebrated the centenary of the Girl Guide movement.  Here in Bishopthorpe, we discovered that the Guides can trace their roots back to 1926 when the 20th York (Bishopthorpe) Company registered with the Girl Guide Association.  (They later became the 1st Bishopthorpe Company.)

This prompted a search through the Bishopthorpe Archive for photographs, some of which we share with you below.

If you have memories of time spent with the Bishopthorpe Brownies and Guides, we’d be very pleased to hear from you.  Just add a comment below or email us on historygroup@bishopthorpe.net

1) November 1944: Armistice Day Parade


In 1944 the Girl Guides and Brownies, pictured above, were invited to join the Bishopthorpe Armistice Day Parade.  This included the local members of the Home Guard, the National Fire Service, Civil Defence and the be-medalled ex-servicemen from the First World War.  Following a service in St. Andrew’s Church, they marched through the village to the Palace where photographs were taken of all the units.

We know the names of most of the girls in the photograph, including the two adults who are Myrtle Simpson (left) and Jean Hudson (right).

During the Second World War Guide uniforms were almost unobtainable.  One former guide told us that Clothing Coupons were needed for warm winter clothes so uniforms had to be passed down by girls who had left the guides or outgrown their uniforms.  The girls took badges for First Aid, Knots, Morse Code, Field Survival, International Flag Recognition and mending and patching. (All very important in war time.)

2) June 1963: Queen’s Guide Award


Bishopthorpe Guides Pauline Horton, Margaret Colton and Isobel Wilmot congratulate Jane Standing on gaining her Queen’s Guide Award.  Introduced in 1946, this award is the highest that can be earned in the Guide movement.  It involves completing a series of tough challenges within a three-year period.

3) April 1967: St. George’s Day Parade


Bishopthorpe Guides march down Davygate to the Minster where Scouts and Guides from the York area gather for the St. George’s Day service.

4) 1991-1992: Adding colour to the neighbourhood


In 1991, a large number of daffodil bulbs were given to the Brownies and Guides of this district.  Mrs. Overfield, who helped with the Bishopthorpe Brownies, suggested that the bulbs should be planted around the base of trees in Maple Avenue and Vernon Close.  This would add some spring-time colour to an area where so many elderly people lived.

The planting ceremony was attended by important guests including the chairman of Selby District Council and the Guide’s Division Commissioner.  For one scary moment at the ceremony, the Brownies and Guides thought they wouldn’t be able to dig the holes because the ground was too hard!  However, Mr. Melemendjian came to the rescue and the bulbs were eventually planted.  The girls are seen above admiring the daffodills the following spring.

5) 22 February 1997: World Thinking Day


This photograph shows the 2nd Bishopthorpe Brownies lighting candles on Thinking Day.  In this way, they remember the family of guiding throughout the world.  Guides and Brownies concentrate on specific themes for each World Thinking Day – for instance this year – 2010 – it was ‘Poverty and Hunger’.

The 22nd February was chosen for this special day because it was the birthday of both Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, and his wife, Olave Baden-Powell, the first Chief Guide.

6) 20 May 2000: Fun at the Victorian Street Fair


The Victorian Street Fair was part of the Bishopthorpe Millennium celebrations.  The Brownies set up their stall in Main Street and sold crafts they had made in aid of the N.S.P.C.C.


With thanks to Janet Melemendjian, June Whittaker, Sylvia Overfield, Norman Antlett and The Yorkshire Evening Press for their help.


Jean Maybury on December 21, 2010 9:12 PM

Great to see the older photos. I believe that the un-named guide on the right of picture #2 is Naomi Standing, Jane’s sister.

In picture #3 taken in 1967 I think that the girls in the front tow might be left to right Linda Hutchinson??. Elizabeth Oxtoby, Eve Hudson and in the second row could it be Margaret Antlett, Diane Scott and Elisabeth Pogmore and behind Elisabeth is it Carolyn Roberts? Can anyone else comment?


Ruth M on March 4, 2011 8:21 PM

What a blast from the past seeing the 1944 Brownies & Girl Guides on the Palace steps. I was a member of both when I lived in Bishopthorpe and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Don’t see myself in the photo though. Definitely remember Myrtle Simpson as our leader (“too-whit-too-whoo, clap”).

I love your website and it is wonderful to see the village residents continue these traditions, and still putting on plays.

Ruth Spindler (Proctor)