On the 2nd October 2018, Shanklin Theatre celebrated its 10th Anniversary of saving the theatre from closure and possible demolition. This milestone celebration marked a decade since a small band of dedicated volunteers saved Shanklin Theatre from closure. In the last ten years the theatre has grown exponentially, and is now fully recognised as a major venue on the UK touring circuit. The theatre also supports many local dance, drama and music groups from across the Isle of Wight. This includes the Island Savoyards, First Act, the Pepperpot Players, Spotlight IOW and the Footsteps Dance Studio; all were proudly invited to perform at this special and unique non-profit show.
The performances on the evening ranged from, ‘A Ruff Guide to Macbeth’ humorously performed by First Act, ‘Putting on the Glitz’ from the superb Footsteps Dance Studio, and the Island Savoyards treating us to some great ‘Favourite Musical Moments’. The Pepperpot Players delighted the audience with a hilarious rendition during their performance entitled ‘If I was not Upon the Stage’ (balls to you Sir!).
The penultimate performance of the evening came from Spotlight IOW, entitled ‘Songs from the Shows’, this included a spine chilling and exceptional vocal performance adaptation of the song ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ from the musical originally written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe. All groups performed magnificently and with eloquence to a full and sold out house.
The evening’s entertainment also included a marvellous interspersed audio / visual presentation exploring the theatre’s history from its construction in 1878. This included key dates, such as the change from Institute to Town Hall in 1913, the Second World War 1945, the boom years from 1950, the threat of closure and revival leading up to the present day.
Sadly, due to illness, the theatre’s director and chairman, Mr Vic Farrow was unable to attend on the night. Shanklin Theatre MD, Mr David Kast kindly addressed the audience in Vic’s absence, and was presented with a personally inscribed crystal glass memento from Major General Sir Martin White on Vic’s behalf as outgoing managing director. The inscribed memento was a token gesture of appreciation recognising Vic’s incredible work with Shanklin Theatre over the last ten years. The inscription reads: ‘Presented to Vic Farrow on 2nd October 2018 in recognition of his unstinting contribution to Shanklin Theatre’. We wish Vic all the very best for a speedy recovery.
The audience was also gifted with various messages of support and congratulations from past performing artists that have donned the theatre’s stage, these included; Jimmy Osmond, Danny Baker, Jimmy Jemain, Joe Pasquale and John Suchet. Theatre Patron Raymond Allen delighted us with hilarious outtakes of his attempt to give a sincere message of appreciation, only to be distracted by a boxing puppet under the control of a certain Mr Pasquale!
Following on from that, the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight; Gioia Minghella-Giddens graced our stage and gave a delightful and inspirational speech of her life and for the future of Shanklin Theatre. The Grand Finale culminated in a superb Light & Sound presentation showcasing the theatre’s premium sound PA system and Hi-Tech lighting rigs, these are now recognised as one of the best systems installed to a theatre of this size around the UK. The ‘Tinsel Bomb’ at the very end of the show also surprised and delighted us all! As a small token gesture of appreciation to all that attended on the night, a 10th Anniversary Celebration ‘Goody Bag’ was issued to our audience. This comprised of personalised items such as; leather coaster, key fob and bookmark, an engraved pen, postcard, stick of Shanklin Theatre rock and celebration programme.
Thank you to everyone who attended the special 10th Anniversary Celebration Show. This memorable event marks a very significant milestone for Shanklin Theatre. Our grateful thanks also go to these groups of people, individuals and companies for making the evening a success:
First Act 2011 – Footsteps Dance Studio – The Island Savoyards – The Pepperpot Players – Spotlight IOW Ltd
Louise Bond – Gwyn Dawson – Vic Farrow – Rebecca & Chris ‘Gaffer’ Gardner – Sharon Merrick – Jacqui Robertson – Janet Wardle
The 10th Anniversary Show Steering Group: Michael Beston – Roger Coleman – David Kast – Rob Robertson – Steve Watts
Beardsalls Shanklin & Newport – Glory Art Glass Sandown – Isle of Wight County Press – W J Nigh & Sons Ltd
And last, but by no means least; The FOST Volunteers!
First Act Theatre Group
Island Web Services
Jane Oliver Educational Consultant
Ron Bird & Son
TL Design Works
Images courtesy of Rob Robertson, text written by Michael Beston. October 2018.