Alan Bennett classic Forty Years On at Sheringham theatre

Forty Years On - the Alan Bennett play being staged by Sheringham Players. John Standish as the head

Forty Years On - the Alan Bennett play being staged by Sheringham Players. John Standish as the head, and Tim Travers as Mr Franklin. - Credit: Archant

It was after meeting playwright Alan Bennett in 2012 at Gresham's School, Holt, that Bernice Escott and Moya Leighton decided that they would like to see a production of Bennett's first play Forty Years On.

And now, with a Good Luck message from Alan Bennett himself, the Sheringham Players are embarking on their second half-century with a production of the play at Sheringham Little Theatre.

It will run from November 13 to 15 and is produced and directed by Bernice and Moya.

In his book Writing Home Alan Bennett describes the play as:

'Set in a public school in the 1960s … part play and part review … an elegy for the passing of a traditional England … the play is constructed round a series of literary parodies.'

In writing to Sheringham Players, he called it a good apprenticeship for the stage.

Forty Years On was first produced in 1969, starring John Gielgud and Paul Eddington.

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Subsequent productions have featured Alan Bennett himself in the roles of young schoolmaster, Mr Tempest, and as the retiring headmaster, who began his life at Albion House as a schoolboy.

The headmaster (John Standish) is retiring after a production of the school play Speak for England, Arthur, which has been written by Mr Franklin (Tim Travers) and the schoolboys.

Parts have been written for matron (Laura Williamson), the bursar's secretary, Miss Nisbett (Thelma Torr) and schoolmaster Mr Tempest (Guy Bartle).

Simplicity is described by the set, costumes and props – supposedly put together by the boys.

Sarah Mapes provides the music and stage manager is Matt Warrington.

The play runs from Thursday November 13 to Saturday November 15, with performance at 7.30pm. Tickets £10 through the Little Theatre box office on 01263 822347 or

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