Happy Birthday Theatre West Four
Celebrating fifty years of amateur drama
In late 1964 a small group of teenagers decided to form an amateur dramatic society. They had just experienced a previous group, “Group 7 Productions”, collapse after a show had to be cancelled at the last minute. These youthful idealists decided that Chiswick needed a young, dynamic drama group: thus Theatre West Four was born!
A constitution was drawn up. The maximum age of members was set at 30 and a democratic structure was put into place to ensure that no one director or clique could dominate the group.TW4’s first production was Jean Anouilh’s Dinner with the Family. The group adopted Chiswick Town Hall as its main performance venue and set about producing an eclectic mix of shows ranging from Shakespeare to Albee to Orton and including several successful musicals. The renowned playwright Jimmie Chinn wrote two plays especially for Theatre West Four, one of which, Straight and Narrow, became a huge West End hit starring Nicholas Lyndhurst.
There are a few original members still involved with the group including Tony Nicholls (a member of the original Group 7 Productions), Frances Smith and Freddie Mauwer, the company’s current and long-standing chairman. Having recently arrived from Holland in 1963, Freddie auditioned for Group 7 and their doomed production of The Physicist, and so was there at the birth, if not conception of the TW4. Freddie no longer treads the boards, preferring to produce or direct productions. His last directing role was for 2012’s re-staging of Straight and Narrow, commemorating the death of the playwright, Jimmie Chinn.
Much Ado About Nothing- 2008
Membership grew and Theatre West Four thrived, at its peak staging two or three main shows a year, as well as smaller studio productions. Through talent, hard work and boundless energy, TW4 became a successful and well-respected group, winning numerous local awards and competitions. We are lucky enough to have the Duke of Northumberland as our patron. His brother, the former Duke of Northumberland and also HRH Edward, Earl of Wessex and the Duke of Gloucester have all been in the audience of past TW4 productions.
As the company has matured, so has the membership, now encompassing a broad age range from 17 to..well...let’s say golden oldie. The experience of members is also varied, from eager first timers to seasoned amateurs to ex-professionals.
The company currently performs its main shows in the studio theatre at the Questors theatre complex in Ealing. In the last two years the company has been invited to perform as part of the Bedford Park Festival, Jimmie Chinn’s Straight and Narrow at The Tabard in 2012 and the Cole Porter review, COLE at St Michael and All Angel’s Church in 2013, and have been delighted at having a Chiswick presence once more. Theatre West Four in West 4!
To celebrate this golden anniversary, the company will be staging Noel Gay’s Radio Times at Questors in May and an, as yet, unconfirmed play in November. The successes of these shows will, the company hopes, ensure the continued growth of this talented, home grown theatre group for another fifty years to come.
For more information on Theatre West Four please go to http://www.theatrewestfour.co.uk
January 24, 2014