Geoffrey Whitworth. 1935

Birmingham Mail

20 March 1935

WOMEN’S INSTITUTES: Spring Programme for Warwickshire

Hidden among news of a forthcoming cookery class, we learn that ‘chief instructress’ Miss Irene Mawer was due to offer an ‘interesting occasion’, ie, a one-day school of mime.

The location was to be at the Priory Room in Birmingham and Miss Mawer was attending in her capacity as president of the Institute of Mime, while the day itself was being organised by the National Federation of the Women’s Institutes.

The intention was for at least six other counties around Birmingham to join in for the day.

“All the (Women’s) institute’s are now taking a great interest in mime” – I wonder what happened?  Why didn’t mime continue in the WI?  But then again, when I was a member of the WI (early 2000s) there was no mention of drama at all in the area of southern England where I lived.

Well!  I was going to ask you all ‘who is the Geoffrey Whitworth who is mentioned as being the adjudicator?’, but then I looked him up on the web.  He was very famous and now has a theatre named after him.  It is amazing how much I am learning through researching Irene Mawer.  On the website for the theatre, George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying “…(Whitworth) is one of the most important people in the theatre today.”

And herein lies the link with Irene Mawer – Geoffrey Whitworth (among his many other achievements) was instrumental in forming the British Drama League, of which Miss Mawer was a member.  According to the theatre website ‘the British Drama League made (among)  its chief aims the proper recognition of drama in education.’  It would seem from the newspaper clipping that this was not the first time that Mr Whitworth had acted as adjudicator for the WI annual drama competition, and there was a shield to be awarded.  I wonder what happened to that shield?

Forgive the Wikipedia info – I couldn’t find a website for Geoffrey Whitworth (please let me know if there is one):  his dates were 1883-1952.  And it would be remiss of me not to point out that Geoffrey Whitworth, as well as knowing Irene Mawer, was crucial in the founding of the National Theatre.


Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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