Summer Shakespeare Festival

The Stage, 17 July 1952

London Theatres: At Cheltenham “Will Shakespeare”

While the Ginner-Mawer School was based in Cheltenham, Irene mawer took the opportunity of producing items in the Contemporary Music Festival programme.  In 1952, this was a contribution by the local amateur societies, who presented Clemence Dane’s ‘Will Shakespeare’.

I don’t know who chose the play, but the decision was slated by the newspaper reviewer, who wrote “…it seems a pity that such an enthusiastic company could not have chosen a play more modern in thought and idiom”.  Hmmm, do we see the hand of Irene here?  Certainly in her later years, this would have sounded like her, with the Ginner-Mawer School running out of steam and falling behind modern times.

However, it has to be said, that as a vehicle for Miss Mawer, it did work well, in that in addition to directing the show, Miss Mawer also played the role of Queen Elizabeth I herself!

Mawer is credited with acting the part ‘nobly’, but the production was at times overmannered and self-conscious – though it did move swiftly and purposefully.  In this context, I wonder if direction and production were one and the same thing, and all down to Miss Mawer.  I could believe the comments to have been true of Miss Mawer’s style.  It doesn’t mention if she was involved in costume – I know she was extremely good in the costume department, and this production has “costume and settings (which) are authentic in detail” – which, I think, would be absolutely true of Irene Mawer.

The play was performed at the Civic Playhouse, which was totally familiar to Miss Mawer, as this is where she taught mime, voice, movement and all of the stage skills to her Ginner-Mawer students.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *