Behind the Scenes at the Theatre
Ealing's own amateur theatre club, the Questors, is now the largest of its kind in Europe. Itwas formed in 1929 and performed in venues in Hanwell and Acton.
It was in 1933 that the club found permanent premises, an old iron church in Mattock Lane. This was demolished in 1963 to make way for a brand new purpose built theatre, which has since been extended so that there are now two stages, the Playhouse and the Studio.
To celebrate their seventy-fifth year, Questors has put on an exhibition at Gunnersbury Park Museum. Here you will find photographs and programmes from some of the earliest productions, letters from such theatre greats as J.B. Priestley, Sybil Thorndike, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. You can also find out how the plays are staged: there are original designs and set models from productions such as The Snow Queen, costumes from The Snow Queen and Hedda Gabler, and a piece of theatre set that you can walk through and see how it is constructed.
Over the years, many high profile theatre professionals have been associated with Questors. Home-grown talents include Oliver Ford-Davies (who recently appeared with Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room), pioneer lighting designer Frederick Bentham and writer Peter Whelan. Dame Judi Dench is the current patron and other associates have included Amanda Redman and the late Sir Michael Redgrave.
Questors has always been a breeding ground for new talent, in acting, designing and writing. The famous Tom Stoppard play, Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead began life as a one-act play at a Questors New Plays reading.
April 16, 2004