Street Theatre, Princess Margaret and The Ball Debacle, Keele, 10 December 1980

In our first term at Keele, Simon Jacobs and I signed up for a drama workshop thing, run by Brian Rawlins. Brian helped make drama great fun and gave us a great deal of freedom to do what we wanted to do in this extra-curricular group.

I’m not entirely sure who else was part of the group, other than Jonathan (Jon) Rees whose name helpfully appears in my diary and on the single relic I have from the experience.

That first term of ours also coincided with a big debacle over Princess Margaret’s invitation (or lack of invitation) to the students’ union ball. We decided to parody that debacle with a piece of street theatre as our contribution to the debate and as the culmination of our term’s drama work-shopping spree.

My memory of the whole thing is fairly hazy, but the diary and relic provide some help. Here are the relevant extracts from the diary:

11 November – decided to write play

13 November – met Simon and Jonathan in evening to write play

18 November – drama rehearsal good fun

25 November – rehearsed skit in evening – good fun

2 December – easyish evening – drama rehearsal

…and there the references cease. I know the intention was to perform the skit in front of the union on the day of the ball, but my diary is entirely silent on the matter so I wonder whether our skit was scuppered at the last minute. Simon might remember and I am due to see him very soon indeed at the time of writing (April 2016) and so shall update if his memory adds anything to the pile.

Meanwhile it seems from the relic that it was Jon who preserved a copy of (most of) the script and ensured that I had a copy in my memory box. The hand-written skit itself looks like Simon’s writing if my memory serves.

It reads as juvenilia, which is what it is – heck we were all just 18 at the time – but looking back I think we were quite plucky in our first term tackling this particular political debacle head on in this way.

Intriguing also, for me, how it foreshadows some of my subsequent students’ union activity, including my press battle with Nigel Dempster over Princess Margaret.

Anyway, here’s the script. You can drill into the pages to make them bigger/legible size. Unlike my handwriting, this stuff is actually legible. I should add that the character Katy is Katy Turner, the President of the student’s union that year, Mike is Mike Stephens, the Union Secretary that year.

Street Theatre Script Page OneStreet Theatre Script Page Two

Street Theatre Script Page Three Street Theatre Script Page Four Street Theatre Script Envelope Front Street Theatre Script Envelope Back

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