Difference between revisions of "Shirley Firth"
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FIRTH, Shirley. (19**-) Actor and producer. **** As an actress she appeared in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle at the YMCA (Firth-Toerien Company,1955), Kushlick-Gluckman’s revival of Clare Boothe’s The Women (Kushlick-Gluckman, 1961), Pyjama Tops (Brooke Company ,1963).
As a producer she initially worked with Pieter Toerien (1955 onwards) staging I Capture the Castle (1955), André Roussin’s comedy The Little Hut (195?*), Terrence Rattigan’s In Praise of Love.,In 1966 she worked for PACT, then joined forces with actor-director Angus Neill and ventured back into management. They called themselves The Stage Company, and took a two year lease at the Intimate Theatre where their first production was a revival of The Little Hut (circa 1966) and The Creeper with Michael McCabe and John Hayter (1967). *** Later owned The Intimate Theatre, a 235 seater, in partnership with Pieter Toerien.
FIRTH, Shirley. Actor and producer. She starred in Dodie Smith’s romantic comedy I Capture the Castle at the ‘Y’ in 1955. Jimmy Mentis produced and Anthony Farmer did sets. She was involved with this theatre as her own management and in partnership with Pieter Toerien. She staged the comedy The Little Hut at the Intimate Theatre. She staged Rattigan’s In Praise of Love starring Robert Flemyng, together with Pieter Toerien. She played the lead in Kushlick-Gluckman’s revival of Clare Boothe’s The Women at the IntimateTheatre in 1961. Anthony Farmer designed and Jenny Gratus, Valerie Miller and Diane Wilson also played leads. She starred in Brian Brooke’s Pyjama Tops, which was staged at the Playhouse in 1963. It also starred John Hayter. She was kept in steady employment by PACT in 1966 (See PACT). She joined forces with actor-director Angus Neill and ventured into management. They called themselves The Stage Company, and took a two year lease at the Intimate Theatre where their first production was a revival of André Roussin’s comedy The Little Hut circa 1966. Together with Angus McNeill they staged a second production, The Creeper, with Michael McCabe and John Hayter at the Intimate Theatre in 1967. Together with Angus Neill she staged Caste, starring Neill, Adrian Egan, Elaine Lee and Arthur Hall at the Intimate Theatre in 1967. Neill renamed the show True Hearts Are More Than Coronets.Together with Toerien and Rubin she stepped forward as new management of the Intimate in 1969. Their first co-production was The Secretary Bird which was directed by Kerry Jordan and starred Jeremy Hawk, Shelagh Holliday, Ivan Berold and Firth herself. Together with Toerien and Rubin she staged Anthony Shaffer’s thriller Sleuth, starring Ralph Michael and Nicholas Amer, and directed by Warren Jenkins at the Intimate circa 1970. Toerien-Firth presented Who Killed Santa Claus? starring John Justin and Naomi Chance, with direction by Anthony Sharp in 1971. They also staged Don’t Start Without Me, directed by Roger Redfarn and starring Jeremy Hawk; and No sex Please, We’re British, directed by Allen Davis and starring Billy Boyle in 1971. Toerien-Firth presented Wait Until Dark starring Shirley Anne Field at the Intimate in 1972. Toerien-Firth presented the Francis Durbridge thriller Suddenly at Home and Royce Ryton’s Crown Matrimonial at the Intimate in 1973. The latter starred Owen Holder and Peggy Thorpe-Bates. They also brought Libby Morris to star in Just Libby in December 1973. Toerien-Firth brought Muriel Pavlow, Robert Flemyng, Robert Beatty and Ron Smerczak to star at the Intimate in Terence Rattigan’s In Praise of Love in 1974. They also got John Fernald to direct Hildegard Neil in a revival of Private Lives, and Heather Lloyd-Jones to star in Jerome Chodorov’s A Community of Two, directed by Chodorov at the Intimate in 1974. Toerien-Firth brought Maxine Audley and Richard Huggett with director Laurier Lister from England for Not Bloody Likely at the Intimate and Jeremy Hawk and Elspeth March from England for The Payoff at the Intimate in 1975. Toerien-Firth revived Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire with Michael McGovern and Anne Rogers in 1975. In 1976 Toerien-Firth brought back Owen Holder to star in Royce Ryton’s For the Woman I love; Hywel Bennett starred in Simon Gray’s Otherwise Engaged together with Sandra Duncan; West End director Frith Banbury staged a revival of Frederick Lonsdale’s 1920s comedy On Approval, starring Richard Todd and Moyra Fraser. They took a lease on the Little Theatre and renamed it the Barnato Theatre, after mining magnate Barney Barnato. Their opening production Caught in the Act, devised and directed by England’s Charles Ross with Anna Quayle and Graham Armitage was staged in 1976. Royce Ryton’s The Other Side of the Swamp starring Ryton himself, together with Eckard Rabe under direction by Graham Armitage was staged at the Barnato in 1976. It ran for a year. Toerien-Firth staged William Douglas Home’s The Kingfisher at the Intimate in 1977 and The Monkey Walk starring Barbara Kinghorn and British actor Richard Warwick, later replaced by Paul Jericco at the Barnato in 1977. Toerien-Firth presented Anthony Marriott and John Chapmans’s Shut Your Eyes and Think of England, directed by Roger Redfarn and starring Peter Blythe (later replaced by Simon Merrick). It ran at the Intimate from 1978 to January 1979. Together with Pieter Toerien she presented Terence Rattigan’s Cause Célèbre, directed by Joan Kemp-Welch and starring Mary Millar and William Lucas in 1978. It ran at the Andre Huguenet for nine months. Toerien-Firth staged Royce Ryton’s The Unvarnished Truth with Michael Richard, Anthony Fridjohn, Nicholas Ellenbogen and Lynne White and directed by Joan Kemp-Welch at the Intimate in 1979. Toerien-Firth presented Sextet by Michael Pertwee at the Andre Huguenet in 1979. Toerien-Firth produced Mothers and Fathers with Clive Parnell, Lesley Nott, Elizabeth Rae and Ian Winter which was staged at the Barnato Theatre in 1980. Together with Toerien she staged Hugh Leonard’s A Life directed by Godfrey Quigley and starring Quigley and Margaret Inglis at the Brooke , Mark Camelotti’s Happy Birthday starring Clive Scott at the Intimate, and Simon Gray’s Stage Struck directed by Stephen Hollis and starring Michael McGovern and Kenneth Baker in 1980. Toerien-Firth staged Andrew Davies’ Rose starring Sandra Duncan at the Intimate in 1980/1981. Toerien-Firth staged their last joint production at the Intimate in 1982 namely the Baxter Theatre production of Robert Kirby’s It’s a Boy starring Dale Cutts, Bo Petersen and James Irwin and directed by Keith Grenville. She produced Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs directed by Louis Burke at the Andre Huguenet in 1986. She presented Barry Creyton’s Double Act at the Windybrow in 1988. (Tucker, 1997)
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