The Grey Players

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The boys of the Grey High School, Port Elizabeth, with help from various members of staff, formed the Dramatic Society which performed under the name of The Grey Players. Most of their early productions were performed in the school's De Waal Hall.

The Grey Dramatic Society, alternatively, The Grey Players presented

1940: The Conjurer. Produced by Miss N Body. Starring H Walton (The Trickster), A C Mackintosh (Rustic Simpleton), G Murrell (The Innkeeper), G Rex, B Field, H Colyvas, Godrey Monaghan (as Country Yokels).

1941: Three play-reading presentation were done during the year;

The Monkey's Paw by W W Jacobs. Cast: G Stock (Mrs. White), G Woodman (Mr White), C Philip (Mr Sampson), D Crocker (Sergeant-Major Morris), W Wilson (Herbert).

The Dear Departed by S Haughton. Starring J Boalch, (Mrs Slater), C Lang (Mrs Jordan), Godfrey Monaghan (Henry Slater), M Dovey (Ben Jordan), L Whyle (Victoria Slater), and C. Johnstone (Abel Merryweather).

A Night at an Inn by Lord Dunsany. Starring W Wilson (The Toff ), R Bailey (Bill), N Rudd (Albert), G Woodman (Sniggers), C Philip (Klesh, the Idol), G Stock (First Priest of Klesh), R Atherstone (Second Priest of Klesh), and J Joffe (Third Priest of Klesh).

1950: In Port by Harold Simpson. The performance was of only 16 minutes duration and represented a small beginning to what was hoped to be a thriving Dramatic Society. Produced by Mr R Gough. Starring John Hadlow (The Judge), Robert Clark (Robert Adderley, an ex-convict), and Jack Clarke (Manservant).

1951: I Killed the Count a three-act play. Produced by Mr R Gough. Starring Victor Nell (Inspector Davidson), E Jordan (Polly), W Randall (Louise), and D Ryder (Renee) (charming, alluring young ladies), D Holliday (Muller the Cockney), R Mercer (Viscount Sorrington), J D C Anderson (Landlord), G Christie (Italian Count Mattoni), J Sheppard (Bernard K Froy), R Taylor (Detective Raines), R Whitehead (Johnson), J Day (P C Clifton), and D Scarr (Samuel Diamond).

1957: [[The Bishops' Candlesticks]] a play by Norman McKinnell, based on an incident in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, was entered in the Round Table High Schools' One-act Play Festival. Starring D Jowell (Bishop), W Snowball (Convict ), D Laurie (Persome), N Alexander (Marie), and C Drysdale (Gendarme).

1958: Legend by Philip Johnson. Produced by Mr Thiel. Starring G Snowball, W Snowball, M Chapman and D Kirby and Thread o' Scarlet by J J Bell. Starring C Higgo, P Anderson, N Alexander, J Opland and R Batho. Both plays were entered in the Round Table Festival.

1959: White Sheep of the Family. A three-act, felonious comedy, by L du Garde Peach and Ian Hay. Produced by Mr Dugmore. August 6. Starring Bernard Simpson (Mr Winter, the father), Forbes Smith (Mrs Winter, his wife), Kemsley Allison (Pat, their daughter), Michael Hoard (Peter, their "profligate" son), Paul Ellis (The Vicar), Jeffrey Opland (Sam Jackson the "fence"), John Connell (Janet, the maid), Geoffrey Hobson (Assistant-Commissioner John Preston), and with Ross Kobus (his daughter, Angela). The night before the dress rehearsal Connell was injured in rugby and Kobus was in bed with a high temperature. Last-minute arrangements were carried out frantically and on Thursday night the dress rehearsal was staged before a disappointingly small audience. Prompt Derek Kohler and stand-in Chronnie Costas struggled admirably in their new-found roles. On Friday night the play was encouragingly applauded by a moderate audience, with Kobus once again recovered and Costas giving a polished performance. The audience was not much larger on Saturday night yet all who saw the play were enthusiastic with their praise. Special mention must be made of the "back-room boys" who constructed an admirable set and of actors Forbes Smith who gave a convincingly feminine performance, and Paul Ellis, who held a charmed audience in the palm of his hand. August 6 - 8.

On September 4th and 5th, the Inter-Schools Play Festival was held in the Little Theatre. Grey Players entered two plays:

The Boy Comes Home by A A Milne, produced by Jacques van Onselen and starring , R Sutherland (Philip), L Pringle (Uncle James - Best Actor), F Smith (Aunt Emily), C Costas (Mary) and P Green (Mrs Higgins).

The Dear Departed by Stanley Houghton. It was produced by Mr B C Thiel. Starring E Scarr (Mrs Slater), G Woodin (Victoria), L Mackintosh (Henry Slater), D Boyd (Mrs Jordan), L Davies (Ben Jordan) and C Moller (Abel Merryweather). Mr van Onselen produced the winning play in the festival, The Boy Comes Home.

1960: Sailor Beware a three-act comedy by Philip King and Faulkland Cary. Starring Forbes Smith (Emma), Chronnie Costas (Edie), Norman Kennelley (Mrs Lack), John Connell (Daphne), Theo Stead (Shirley), Michael Arnott (Henry), Jeffrey Ilsley (Albert), Felix Hart (Carnoustie), Joseph Hallis (Mr Purefoy, the Vicar). 19 - 21 May.

1961: Arsenic and Old Lace is a three-act comedy-drama and was produced by Jacques van Onselen. Starring Chronnie Costas (Abby), Ivan Zartz (Martha, the mad aunt), Glynn Woodin (Elaine Harper), Geoffrey Allen (the mad nephew), Peter Kingston (Rev Dr Harper), Kemsley Allison (Mortimer Brewster), Jeffrey Ilsley (Jonathan), Michael Arnott (Dr Einstein), Anthony Farr (Officer Brophy), Walter Pfister (Officer Klein), Roy Osborne (Mr Gibbs), Roger Johnson (Lt Rooney) and Beresford Jobling, (Officer O'Hara and Mr Witherspoon). On the final night, cups for a high standard of acting were awarded to Costas, Arnott and Allison.

The set was designed by Mr M Schonegevel and built by Mr B Clement and his boys. Electrical equipment costing R200 was most effectively used, thanks to Mr Dave Tanton and his electricians. We were indebted to Messrs A Pilling (Pty) Ltd for the loan of furniture which was both tasteful and effective; the imposing chandelier was returned to the firm intact, to the great relief of all concerned! April 27 - 29.


Devotees of drama at the Grey were determined to go one better than last year and produced two evenings of one-act plays. Three of the plays were performed by the Grey Dramatic Society and three other schools were invited to participate. These schools were the Collegiate High School, Victoria Park High and Alexander Road. Those who produced plays for the Grey were Mr Dave Tanton, Mr Trevor Teeton and C Costas. The Hall was packed on both nights and at the end of each evening, an experienced adjudicator discussed the evening's efforts. These criticisms were o£ a high standard and everyone present went home much the wiser for them.

1962: Caught Napping Produced by Jacques van Onselen. Starring Brian Hahn (Talky), Glynn Woodin (Jill Potts), Eldon Swallow (Jill's mother), Peter Kingston (School matron), Geoffrey Comley (Lady Cartmichael), Colin Kruger (A maid), Beresford Jobling (Housemaster Wellington Potts), Allan Duff (Dr Rodd, the headmaster), Anthony Farr (Absent-minded butler), John Gardner (Archie d' Arcy), Jeffery Ilsley (Assistant master Wilding), Geoffrey Allen (Maj. Gen. Cartmichael) and Trevor Kennelly (Schoolboy Laker Hopp). May 2 - 5.

Four one-act plays, one written by a schoolboy, Chronnie Costas, were presented on September 22.

1963: One Act Festival.

1964: Spider’s WebThis 1954 three-act comedy-thriller by Agatha Christie was produced by Jacques van Onselen. Geoffrey Comley (The aged Sir Roland), Bob Byde (Hugo Birch), Graham Barfoot (The murderer), David Hidden (Clarissa),Henry Simons (Lady-gardener), Brian Hahn (The Butler), Andrew Sherriffs, Oliver Costello, and Michael Watson (alternated as the murderer), Llewellyn Botha (British foreign-office official), and Clive Selley (Constable Jones). Mr Earle and David Yates were responsible for building the set.

1965: The Wall

The General Survey of the Troops

The Stunt

1966: One For the Pot by English playwrights Ray Cooney and Tony Hilton at the De Waal Hall at the Grey High School in Port Elizabeth in aid of Cripple Care. This play is a popular revival of the Whitehall farces. A wealthy Northern mill owner offers £10,000 to the son of a former business associate provided he is the only living relative. Produced by Jacques van Onselen. Cast: Victor Gardiner (Amy Hardcastle), Rodney Edgecombe (Cynthia Hardcastle), Everard van Rooyen (Jugg), Peter Glover (Jonathan Hardcastle), Arnold Hall (Clifton Weaver), Roderick Birnie (Arnold Piper), Nigel Bakker (Charlie Barnett), David Hidden (Hickory Wood), Stuart Gatley (Winnie) and Graham Lang (Mrs Bowater-Smith). June 22 – 25.

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