The Wizard Of Oz
1st - 8th November 1969
Production Officials
Director Derek Taylor
Musical Director J. Arnold Thornton
Choreographer Lois Booth
Dorothy Ann Haslam
Aunt Em Audrey Raistrick
Witch of the West Rene Barlow
Sorceress of the North Valerie Walmsley
Gloria Christine Roberts
A Lady of Oz Joyce Knowles
First Visiting Witch Joyce Richardson
Second Visiting Witch Brenda Dixon
Uncle Henry Harry Lee
Tibia Geoff Sutcliffe
Mayor Glyn Neary
Farmer Geoff Sutcliffe
Barrister John Jowett
Coroner Denis Hamer
Scarecrow Nora Holder
Tinman Arnold Knowles
Lion Alan Lee
A Private Jeff Taylor
Lord Growlie Harry Lee
The Wizard of Oz Ernest Pollitt
Yvonne Birchall, Valerie Blundell, Christine Bradburn, Denise Bustard, Janet Ennion, Dorothy Holt, Linda Marsh, Jane Schofield, Jill P. Smith, Linda B. Wilde
Munchkins and Townspeople
Julie Aldred, Barbara Anderson, Sheila Bassett, Susan Briggs, Brenda Dixon, Diane Gee, Millie Hackett, Edith Horrocks, Joyce Knowles, Brenda Orrell, Glenys Poole, Audrey Raistrick, Joyce Richardson, Christine Roberts, Jean Shutt, Irene Taylor, Linda Vernon, Elizabeth Williams, Henry Anderson, Gordon Bustard, Robin Foster, Denis Hamer, Roy Haslam, John Jowett, Harry Lee, Glyn Neary, Geoff Sutcliffe, Jeff Taylor
  • Bolton Evening News Review
  • Manchester Evening News Review
Off to a hearty and flying start is Walmsley Church’s Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society with their production of “The Wizard of Oz”. The heroine is hurtled, house and all, by a cyclone from Kansas “Over the Rainbow” to Munchkinland and takes off by balloon on her eventual return trip. In the meanwhile there have been other spectacular levitations. One of a whole coven of witches has flown off at a tangent on a vacuum cleaner instead of a broomstick. Stage effects and scenery are, in fact, well up to the society’s high and enterprising standard. This time there is no orchestra but one scarcely realises it. Harold Arlen’s music is of a kind which gets all the volume it needs from an ensemble of organ, double bass, piano, drums. J. Arnold Thornton is musical director. As Dorothy, the heroine, Ann Haslam is cheerful, undismayed and tireless in adventure that never lets up. She has most of the singing to do, and does it well. Her three fellow pilgrims to the wish-granting Wizard of Oz are played well by Nora Holder, as Scarecrow, in search of a brain (and marvellously loose-limbed when she dances), Arnold Knowles , metallic and gigantic as Tinman, hoping for a heart, and Alan Lee as Lion, wanting hard to be brave. Rene Barlow is the Wicked Witch of the West and in edifying and elegant contrast is the white-clad Sorceress (white for white magic) of Valerie Walmsley, another good singer. Christine Roberts takes both the eye and the ear in the small part of Gloria. Lois Booth’s choreography is lively and enjoyable. Production is by Derek Taylor. J.W.
Pantomime for adults. That was how Walmsley Church Operatic Society saw this engaging piece of fantasy, and when a party of children turned up for the opening night, emergency seating had to be arranged. As a production, this show in the church schoolroom at Egerton, Bolton, puts Walmsley back in their “Oliver!” cup-winning vein. The call was stage illusions let loose from that wonderful backstage team and we saw a house whirled into the air by a hurricane, two witches vanish before our eyes and a third melted down in a cauldron. The quaint characters, too, brought out notable performances. Nora Holder, the Nancy of “Oliver!” was a puckish Scarecrow here bringing the show to life with the first flicker of her hands. Ann Haslam, in the Judy Garland role of Dorothy, played with an appropriate air of wonderment. Alan Lee, as the Lion, roared and ranted with relish and Arnold Knowles was a genial Tinman. Lois Booth had a delightful dancing team, musical director J. Arnold Thornton gave me a new liking for electronic organs, and Derek Taylor produced. Tom Wildern

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