Tudor Queen Productions

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

An active amateur dramatic group

View the latest addition to this Tudor Queen Productions article

In March, 2012, Pam Gooch commented on an article in this Archive by Andrew Kyd about his childhood at Gusted Hall, Hawkwell (view the Gusted Hall article). This led to further comments from Mary Holding, sister-in-law of Andrew, which have led to some interesting information about a very popular amateur dramatic society which was active in this area in the 1960s and '70s.

Mary Holding (23 March 2013):

“Tudor Queen Productions was an amateur dramatic group active in Rochford in the 1960s and onwards. Leader of the pack was Eric Gooch and we used to meet for rehearsal at the old site of Rochford Secondary School under his direction. All the plays etc were performed in the hall at the school.

“I remember Eric's wife Pam and also Mary Kyd. We covered some of the classics and also had fun with a panto "Dick Whittington". Each year we would enter a float in the annual parade with donated trailer and tractor. I wish I could remember the names of the rest of the actors. Help me out if you can! I am sure that I have photos stored away somewhere - will have a look and add them later if found.”

Pam Gooch (24 May 2013):

Photo:A scene from 'Strike Happy' in February 1970.

A scene from 'Strike Happy' in February 1970.

(Pam Gooch)

“Tudor Queen Productions was started in the early 1960s by Eric Gooch. It was based at the Rocheway Youth Centre and the kind of plays put on by the group were not the usual comedies, but more serious and sometimes controversial as in "The Death Of Joe Egg". Eric had worked professionally in theatre and brought a high standard to 'Am Drams'.

“As well as producing a lot of the plays, he designed and built the sets and wrote two plays:"A Yellow Bridge" and "Bullen" which was about a local lady, Anne Boleyn (or Bullen), whose family lived at Rochford Hall. Other producers were Jeff Jeffries, Gordon Green and Margaret Olley who speciality was comedies. Margaret also used to produce the annual pantomime.

“The group closed in early 1970's when it was in the strange position of having more members who wanted to work backstage than act.”

Pam Gooch (28 May 2013):

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

"Every amateur drama group had their lovable eccentrics and ours were Jack and Maisie Lavender. They attended every rehearsal, sold tickets and offered help. This photo was taken when they were in their late eighties. Jack was sometimes given a small part in a play which he always did with great enthusiasm."

Mary Holding (10 July 2013):

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

Click image to enlarge

Mary Holding (nee Hackshaw) sent us this photo all the way from Canada - as a 35mm slide.

It shows Mary Mews (nee Kyd) preparing to go on stage for the pantomime Dick Whittington. 

Mary H reminiscences on the name confusion that used to occur during rehearsals with Eric Gooch:

"I can remember that when Eric Gooch was directing a play that Mary Kyd and I were acting in it created its problems. With two Marys on the casting, if he directed "stage left" we both shot over there!" 

The possibility of name confusion continues to this day as Mary Mews now lives in Canada too!

Mary Mews adds (12 July 2013):

"I cannot remember that dress and I found it hard to recognize myself.  This has all brought back some happy memories, although my memory is not as good as Mary's.  It was a fun time.  I will keep watching and hope that some other people send in some pictures. Regards and many thanks Mary (the other one!)"

David Vance sent us this (28/04/2017):

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

Click image to enlarge

Hi, here is a pix from one of the group's productions called the Lion in Love

Most of the cast featured:

Geraldine and David Vance. Jim and Verna. Pat Camp. Rosemary Kelly. Alfred Greenhill Jefferies. Bob Newton. Jack and Maise.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

Click image to enlarge

David Vance sent us this (09/06/2017):

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

Hi there, pix from one of Tudor Queen Productions. Cast includes David Vance..Pat Camp..Jim Mcintyre..Susan Bradshaw..Gordon Greene..Mary Kidd..Maureen Bennett and Eric Gooch.

Mary Holding sent us this (28/06/2017):

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Tudor Queen Productions' page

Click image to enlarge

I submitted entries in 2013.  Have now found the photo of Dick Whittington Panto.

I cannot remember the entire cast - there is myself standing second from the left as Dick Whittington (Mary Hackshaw), John Simmonds standing right?, Jeff Jeffries sitting, and of course Jack Lavender who never missed a production.

Hope I can hunt out more photos.

Mary Holding

We invite other readers who were involved with Tudor Queen Productions to add their insights to this fascinating correspondence.

Photos or scans of other memorabilia such as programmes or posters would also be very welcome. Just leave your comments below or email us at mail@rdca.org.uk with anything else you would like us to add to the article.

This page was added by Sue Horncastle on 16/07/2017.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

Hi all hope everyone is keeping well..Be nice if we could get more comments on here.Its been a while since we had some new posts..There must be a lot of ex Tudor Queen actors out there.

All the best to everyone.

By David Vance
On 17/08/2022

How wonderful to find this page! Tudor Queen Players were a big part of my teenage years. My maiden name was Susan Bradbrook and I was Alice Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington.  I remember the excitement on the first night of the production of Moon on a Rainbow Shawl. We wondered whether the author, Sheelagh Delaney would attend - she didnt! 

By Sue Earnshaw
On 27/05/2022

Would be wonderful to hear more from any members of Tudor queen drama group.

Happy new year to one and all.

By David Vance
On 14/01/2022

Hi Chris, 

My Dad sadly passed away a couple of years ago, but my Mum, Pam is still here. 

By Janice Gooch
On 06/04/2021

Look forward to it John. 

By David Vance
On 29/03/2020

I was a member of the Tudor Queen group & am in the process of digitizing many images from the 60's & early 70's. I also have scripts & memorabilia from productions. When they are ready I will contact you again.

By John Simmons
On 21/08/2019

I remember the first production of Tudor Queen which was Shelagh Delaney's "A Taste of Honey" at Rochford Secondary School.  Quite a few nurses from Rochford Hospital were involved in the productions. Is Eric still with us please?

By Chris Blackler
On 25/09/2017
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