Coventry's young people disappointed at London theatre

Noise of Tube Trains Resented

Two coach-loads of boys and girls went up to London on a theatre outing from Coventry on Saturday. After having looked over the "Royal Court Theatre" in Sloane Square - and seeing an evening performance of Arnold Wesker's "Roots" - they were unanimous on two points. One, that they had enjoyed their day out. Two, that they had not realised before just how lucky they were in having two such fine theatres in Coventry.

The "Royal Court" dimmed the stars in many young eyes. For those used to the slick, contemporary compactness of the Belgrade, and the spacious comfort of the Coventry Theatre, the creaking seats of the "Court" and the noise of the underground trains that roared below the theatre, shattered many a daydream of a London theatre.

One youngster unhappily confided that she felt she had been sitting in an ancient cinema. Another, that she had only seen about half the performance.

'Rudest People'

And if the theatre was criticised, then London's "Royal Court" audience was hammered with typical Midland candour.

"The rudest people I have ever met," was how one 17 years old Barr's Hill schoolgirl put it.

"The home of the great unwashed," was the most popular phrase, as long-haired, jean-clad men and women noisily trailed to their seats to the annoyance of all.


But the day had its compensations for these 59 members of the Belgrade's Young-Stagers Club. For one thing they were allowed to meet members of the "Roots" cast - and that meant talking again to Cherry Morris and Alan Howard, one-time popular members of the Belgrade Company in Coventry. The question, "Do you miss anything about Coventry now that you are acting in London?" received an answer delightfully vague enough to leave everybody happy. "We miss Coventry a great deal, but acting in London has its compensations."

Lost for a While

The trip went without a hitch - well, nearly. It's true there was a ten-minute hold-up before setting off for home while a search went on for four youngsters who had hidden themselves in the interesting confusion of a nearby underground station.

Everybody, though, was happily delivered to waiting parents at 11.30 p.m. in Corporation Street.

The pupils from Stoke Park, Lyng Hall, King Henry VIII and Barr's Hill - to name but four of the schools represented - certainly enjoyed their day. All they want to know now is when the next outing is going to be - and what the theatre will be like this time.

Coventry Standard, 26.7.1960.

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