|content while Ivy's contribution was to see that the drama content was not overlooked. Details of this era are rather limited and sketchy, as no records of formal meetings survive, if in fact such meetings were held. Ted Parker probably held the position of President and it seems he continued in this role until 1960. He was also an accomplished singer and actor and at the annual musical festivals participated in quartette and mixed choir ensembles, as well as playing Captain Corcoran in the 1934 'HMS Pinafore' excerpts.|
As an inaugural member he had a good memory of those early days when he drove his sulky up from Kelmscott to attend practice at the hall. Roland competed in both the 1933 and 1934 festivals, before leaving the district, winning the tenor solo section in both years. In 1934 he also played the role of Ralph Rackstraw in an excerpt from "HMS Pinafore" presented at the festival that year. He performed opposite Marjorie Lowe, who sang the part of Josephine. Marjorie, who lived in Kelmscott too, accompanied Roland on "those sulky rides up the hill to rehearsals", from Buckingham Road. In those days they often sang duets together, and on occasions were asked to sing at engagement parties, and other social evenings.
THE SOUTH SUBURBAN MUSICAL AND ELOCUTIONARY SOCIETY
Roleystone competed every year in the competitions up to 1939 when the war forced the festivals to be discontinued. in 1946, the year after the war's end, the Society was re-established when a letter, circulated to all participating groups in the pre war era met with a positive response. Roleystone recommenced participation and continued to enter the festivals up until 1960. Mr Ted Parker, president of the Roleystone group during this period, became the President of the S.S.E. & E. immediately after its activities were recommenced in 1946.
During this period no full scale/full length musicals were attempted, not because of lack of talent, but rather the limited facilities that the hall possessed. The stage for instance was an improvised affair, which consisted of 4 sections 6' x 9' made of solid 4" x 2" jarrah which had to be put up and removed with every performance, needing up to 6 men to handle each section. Another factor was the high cost of producing a play or musical. Copyright fees cut far too deeply into the limited funds and beside, there was quite a hefty entertainment tax that had to be paid based on the admission prices and number of patrons attending. The staging of such large scale productions had to be left to a much later era as Lilian Munday, Mary Knuckey's sister pointed out in 1979 in her reminiscences of those earlier times.
'The Gilbert & Sullivan operas were unfortunately under copyright and could only be staged by the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Society. As soon as copyright was lifted scenes from G & S were included in concerts. The present Choral and Dramatic Society of Roleystone has been under no ban and has most successfully produced whole operas, the latest 'Ruddigore' in 1977 with its skilful and effective use of scenery and lighting, an excellent pianist, achieved the real professional touch'.
Although the musical element was significant in the clubs earliest repertoire, drama was not neglected. In the first year Roleystone entered the festival competitions (Oct 1933) both the Under 16 and Over 16 'dramatic section' was won by Roleystone
the under 16 group being referred to as the 'Roleystone juniors'. The winning play in the over 16 section was 'Aunt Pricilla' and this was represented as part of the programme of the 'Grand Concert' held at Gosnells on the 17th November, 1933.
The following year Roleystone presented two plays in the adult section 'Among the Tea Leaves' and 'A Midsummer jest'. These entries were awarded 2nd and 3rd respectively. The section was won by the Kelmscott Dramatic Society. In the same year the Roleystone junior Dramatic Club performed 'The Matchmakers' and was awarded 1st place. The varied talents of Mary Knuckey became very evident at these festivals, not only was she the conductor of the mixed and ladies choir, she was an accomplished accompaniste for solo and small ensemble singers and participated as a soloist in the soprano and mezzo sections, in duets, trios and quartettes and prose readings, recitation, impromptu and stump speeches as well.
In these early years the society had the good fortune to possess a talented and strongly developing younger generation within its ranks. The existence of a Roleystone junior Drama group is evident of this. The eisteddfods were an ideal outlet for these young members to demonstrate their abilities, often with great success. The 3 boys of Mary and Richard Knuckey, Curnow, Lloyd and Ken competed continuously throughout this period in various capacities. In the 1933 festival, Lloyd played the violin while he and his older brother, Curnow teamed with their parents in a quartette for 4 wind instruments. In 1934 Curnow competed in at least 6 sections including recitation, solo singing, the instrumental ensemble and piano solo and duet. Lloyd wasn't too far behind performing 5 times over the six nights of the competitions. In the instrumental ensemble, for under sixteens, Cumow and Lloyd were joined by youngest brother, Ken and cousin Neil Parker, to play 'Good Morrow' - all the boys were under 12 years old. An indication of the enthusiasm and dedication shown in those times was the formation of a performing party of young people 'The Orange Pierrots; made up