Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington Programme Cover

a pantomime by John Morley

Director - Mike Sparks
Musical Director - Carole Catley

December 2005

Wednesday 7th at 7.45pm
Thursday 8th at 7.45pm
Friday 9th at 7.45pm
Saturday 10th at 3.00pm and 7.45pm

The full programme [135K pdf] for this production is available from the archive

There are some pictures on Dick Whittington gallery page

Alderman Fitzwarren's store, along with the whole of London, is plagued by rats despite the combined efforts of Alice, Idle Jack and Sarah the Cook.
Dick Whittington has walked all the way from Gloucestershire to seek his fortune in London. On the way he meets a new friend, Tommy the Cat.
Fitzwarren has won the contract to supply rat poison to the Sultan of Morocco. Along with the Captain & Mate they are all due to set sail on the 'Saucy Sal' for an exotic overseas adventure.

A traditional panto tale of good over evil, with all the regular elements of songs, corny jokes and audience participation.

Act 1

1. Outside Fitzwarren's Stores in London
2. Petticoat Lane
3. Inside Fitzwarren's Stores
4. Near the Mansion House
5. The Milestone on Highgate Hill

Act 2

1. The 'Saucy Sal' at the Port of London
2. Below Decks
3. The 'Saucy Sal' at Sea
4. The Shores of Morocco
5. The Harem of the Court of Morocco
6. Back home in London
7. The Whittington Wedding

Queen RatJudith Shrank
The Fairy of the BellsSally Martin
Alderman Fitzwarren, owner of Fitzwarren's StoresPaul Sparks
Alice Fitzwarren, his daughterKirsty Lincoln
Idle Jack, his apprenticeDavid Constable
Sarah Suet, his cookPaul Manel
Captain Cockle, of the 'Saucy Sal'Paola Burgess
Mr Mussel, the mateJadwiga Laskowska
Dick Whittington, a country ladMary-Ann Ochota
Tommy, the magic catCatherine Walker
Sam Seaweed, a sailorCiaran Ward
The London Town CrierStephen Sewell
Sheik Dabottal, the Sultan of MoroccoLaurie Heatherington
Tuffazell, the harem keeperNeil Grace
Werafez, a Moroccan guardStephen Sewell
El Macho, another Moroccan guardKaren Abbott
Avocado, a seductive slave girlDavina Page
Chorus of Londoners, sailors & slavesKaren Abbott
Emily Bridges
Neil Grace
Paul Hartley
Penelope Nachir
Davina Page
Stephen Sewell
Ciaran Ward
PianoCarole Catley
CelloJill Clarke
FluteKirsty Tavendale
GuitarHarry Mackie
Drums & PercussionCharles Harvey
Production Team
DirectorMike Sparks
Musical DirectorCarole Catley
ChoreographerKelly Rubin
Stage ManagerHelen Costin
Set Design, Construction & PaintingDavid Constable
Mike Sparks
& members of the company
CostumeJenny Sparks
DressersIrene Sparks
Barbara Heatherington
Kim Goldsmith
MakeupKristel Burgess
LightingChris Newton
Martin Higgins
Andy Higgins
Jon Sparks
Ari Gnanamuttu
Stewart Shrank
PromptBetty Robertson
Front of House Manager Ruth Crawford
Box OfficeBetty Burgess
Programme & PublictyDavid Constable

Programme Notes

Will The Real Dick Whittington Stand Up?

We are all familiar with the homely tale of poor country boy Dick Whittington finding fame and fortune in London through the rat catching activities of his cat in far away lands.

The truth is just a little different. Richard Whittington was born in 1350, the son of a Gloucestershire Knight. When his father died and his older brother inherited the estate, Richard (Dick) travelled to London to be apprenticed.

He became a merchant dealing in valuable cloth from abroad - silks, velvets and cloth of gold. The main market for such goods was the Royal Court. Dick Whittington supplied goods to King Richard II as well as King Henry IV and Henry V. He lent large sums of money to the Crown. In return he was allowed to export wool without paying customs tax. He became rich and was made Mayor of London (there was not a Lord Mayor at the time) on four occasions (1397, 1398, 1406 and 1419).

Dick died in 1423. His wife Alice predeceased him and they had no children. He left his great wealth to be used for the benefit of the City. The money was used to set up almshouses for poor people, a college, a library and to carry out public works. The Whittington Charity still benefits disadvantaged Londoners.

There is no evidence that Dick Whittington ever kept a cat, and as a son of a wealthy nobleman he was never really poor. But the legend flourished and as early as 1606 a play was produced which has developed over the centuries into one of the best loved Pantomimes - The Story of Dick Whittington and His Cat.

Playing The Part

Playing Pantomime is not a soft option for an actor. It is a bit like walking a tightrope without a safety net!

In a straightforward play the actor has the security of the 'fourth wall' - an invisible wall dividing the actor from the audience who are merely looking in on what is happening on stage. In Pantomime there is no 'fourth wall'. It is the job of the actor to directly engage with the audience and to make them part of the action.

Good Panto actors can make this look simple - but it is not. For any amateur players to put on a Pantomime requires not only interest and a variety of skills but a determination to work through a punishing rehearsal schedule which, for us, began back at the beginning of September.

All the Guild Players team (both on stage and backstage) will be putting their feet up for a well deserved rest over Christmas. However the production process starts all over again in January for our Spring performances. . .


The Archer, East Finchley's community newspaper, printed a review on page 10 of the January 2006 issue.

Turn again, theatre-goers!

by Daphne Chamberlain

"Did you take the family to a pantomime this Christmas? If so, how was your journey? Next year, why not just look behind you: at the Guild Players in Ballards Lane Methodist Church?
When I went to their matinee of Dick Whittington, the hall was packed with enthusiastic children and appreciative adults. "It's real traditional theatre, better than the Cambridge Footlights show", I heard a young man tell his girlfriend. Well, of course it would be. After all, the character called Sam Seaweed said he used to go to Holy Trinity School.
All the panto must-haves were there, from thigh-slapping Principal Boy to inoffensively naughty Dame. There was an interesting programme, too, giving facts about the real Dick Whittington, and explaining the vital factor needed for this kind of show: communication with the audience. The excellent cast certainly had that. They were supported by a lively mini-orchestra, who romped through the Lambeth Walk and several other songs and dances before finding their way to Amarillo.
The Guild Players have been around for 60 years, but the members are all ages. Most are from Finchley, but others are from Archway, Enfield, Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Tottenham, and they don't necessarily have any connection with the Methodist Church. They've had a healthy influx of new members recently, but more are always welcome.
Pantos are for Christmas, but there are other plays throughout the year. Watch out for details of their next production, planned for May."

Our next production is
Next Production
Mary Shelley
Thur 31 March to Sat 2nd April 2022 at 7.30pm
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