All The World’s A Stage




A Foreword by the Author.

In compiling the history of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels the author was only too conscious that so much of the happenings of the organisation had become lost with the years.

With documents, programmes and other memorabilia destroyed in the Napier Earthquake of 1931 and the subsequent fire the only recourse lay in what early programmes were still available, the faulty memories of former Friv members, and the Company’s folklore covering the eighty five years since its inception.

The interest and support given by the present committee and the Friv members as been appreciated. It is hoped the documentation of this unique group will give to all of us renewed knowledge of what the Company has meant to so many people and so help future generations of Frivs’ to keep these ideas (ideals) alive.

The author would like to thank Patron, Wally Ireland and President, John Fergusson and the 1981 85th Jubilee Committee and present Executive for their help and assistance.

Thanks must also be expressed to Maurice Bartlett for the cover design, and to Glyn Lawrence for his valuable assistance with layout, editing and proofing.

J. Sid Henney, 1981.

Photo captions –


Cover Design – Maurice Bartlett

Editing, Presentation – Glyn Lawrence

Page One

Mayor’s Room,
City Council Chambers,
New Zealand.

The Napier Frivolity Minstrels (Inc.) in its eighty five years of entertaining and playing for various charities throughout Hawkes Bay and the lower half of the North Island, is commemorating this outstanding achievement with a weekend of celebrations in October, 1981.

During this span of time the ‘Frivs’ have passed from the 1897 Victorian Years to modern times of the second Elizabethan age. The original Company that gave their first performance at Eskdale in the year of 1898 has spread far and wide to benefit many organisations around the province and other venues outside of the Hawkes Bay area.

As far as Napier is concerned the ‘Frivs’ have grown with the City, sharing its trials and tribulations and generally being part of the community.

The City Council is most grateful to the ‘Frivs’ for their contribution and wish them well in the future.

On a personal note my wife and I value our association with the Company.

Clyde Jeffery, B.E.M.  J.P.


There is magic in the name
The Frivs are an institution
The Frivs are for the family
The Frivs are jolly – bright – clean – and fun
The Frivs are part of Napier.

85 years and many more to come
We older people recall the stars of bygone years
Months of rehearsals – every show different – so many schools and charities have beneffited by their generosity.

Congratulations to Sidney Henney who has written so many scripts and has now painstakenly [painstakingly] compiled this record.

It will be appreciated – read and treasured.

It has been an honour to have been a small part of “The Frivs”.

Peter Tait.

Photo captions –

Clyde Jeffery, B. E. M.  J. P.


Page Two

Foreword for ‘All The World’s A Stage’.

It is my pleasure to be able to write, as President, of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels (Inc.) these few words.

In this, our 85th year, another milestone has been achieved. The publication of the following account of the Society’s history is unique, and most interesting.

The Frivs in recent years have been progressing in a most exciting manner, in particular, with the ‘Theatre Restaurant’ complex at Ahuriri. I am confident the future of the ‘Frivs’ is sound and, indeed very bright.

In closing, I wish to convey my personal congratulations to Sidney Henney and others associated with the compilation of this fine booklet.

John S. Ferguson.

On looking back over the years since I joined the ‘Frivs’ in 1918, when I was twenty one years old, I often wonder if the first members in 1897, and those that have followed ever thought that the ‘Frivs’ would still be performing in 1981 and that they would never miss a year in doing so. That of course, is a record for Show business in New Zealand.

We took entertainment to the country people in the days when there was no television, or even radio, and furthermore they kept the money they took at the door to use for school or hall funds, the ‘Frivs’ kept none of it.

I have met many good friends since I joined and I am sure I will meet many more, and I trust the Company will continue the good work and will have the pleasure in celebrating their 100th Jubilee.

Wally Ireland, J. P.

Photo captions –


Wally Ireland, J.P.
Patron, Napier Frivolity Minstrels.

Page Three


Forewords   Pages   1 – 2
A Brief History of Minstrelry   5
List of Members 1897-1950   7
Early Days and Fifty Years On  16
Important Dates 1897-1947  18
50th Jubilee Report   23
Show Business on the Move   23
Some of the Memories   27
War Years to the 60th Jubilee   28
Report on 60th Anniversary Celebrations   30
Time Out for More Memories   32
List of Life Members 1951-1959   36
The Signpost Points to the 75th Jubilee   37
List of Members 1960-1971   39
More Time Out for Memories   42
75th Jubilee Celebrations   44
Down Memory Lane Once Again   46
Dawn of a New Decade   46
How the Productions Fared in the 1970’s   51
List of Members 1972-1980   52
Recent Memories   57
Radio Times   61
Let’s Talk about our 85th Anniversary Year   62
List of Members 1981  64
Index to Illustrations   66

Page Four

Percy Spiller, M. B. E.

Was one of the original members who formed the Napier Frivolity Minstrels and during the time acted in various capacities as performer, secretary and producer, until his death in January, 1950.

It was largely due to his efforts that the ‘Frivs’ are held in such high esteem and that the ‘Frivs’ continue to follow the ideal of helping worthwhile organisations; a foundation so firmly based in those early days.

Percy Spiller was also a widely known and respected personality in the Hawkes Bay province and beyond. For thirty years he was also secretary of the Napier Thirty Thousand Club and the Napier Competition Society and many kindred organisations. After the 1931 Earthquake he became secretary of the Napier Reconstruction Committee.


Left to Right: Charlie Wilson, Jack Fraser, J. H. Edmundson, Bill Robinson, Jim Gillespie, W. A. Wilkie, Percy Spiller.
Middle Row: Bert Wilkie, Wattie Allen, Ted Taylor, Peter Drummond, Harry Bull.
Front Row: Jim Holmes, Lou Freedman

Handwritten – Bert Wilkie brother of W. A. Wilkie

Page Five

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE and all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances…
W. Shakespeare. ‘As you like it’.

A Brief History of Minstrelry.

The name ‘Minstrel’ was originally applied to wandering singers, who were common in all civilised countries of Europe as early as the fourteenth century. The old time Minstrel composed his songs, which he sang with one eye on his lady fair and the other on her jealous knight. While plucking the strings of his lute, he never allowed his hand to stray too far from the hilt of his rapier, for minstrelry then, as in later years was a precarious profession.

Minstrelry, as known in America, with the burnt cork circle, the dignified interlocutor or middle man, and Mr Bones and Mr Tambo, originated in 1843. In that year, Dan Emmett, Frank Bower, Dick Pelham and Billy Whitlock combined their talents and gave a benefit performance, billing themselves as the Virginia Minstrels.

The performance was so successful that they followed it up with a series of performances in the Bowry Amphitheatre, New York.

Within the next few years, minstrel troupes were organised all over the United States, and in the 50’s Edwin P. Christy took a troupe of burnt cork entertainers to England where they made a highly successful tour.

From the original four man show, the new minstrel impressarios [impresarios] rapidly increased the size of their companies and the versatility of their performances. Colonel Jack Haverly’s slogan “Forty, Count ‘Em, Forty” was typical of the size of the new minstrel troupes.

At the time of writing, the travelling minstrel troupe is almost a thing of the past. “Lasses” White, Bert Swor, Al Bernard and other blackface entertainers are still occasionally heard on radio but minstrely, as a favoured form of amateur entertainment will undoubtedly be popular for many years to come.

‘Local Background of the ‘Frivs’ early days’

1897 found Napier people frustrated with the physical limitations to Napier’s expansion. Despite the achievements of past reclamation schemes, growth was restricted by the lagoons and the sea. Floods, particularly bad during the 1890’s damaged property and roads. The worst flood occurred in April, 1897 when water covered three fifths of the Heretaunga plains. Many farmers lost their stock, houses, fences and equipment. In Napier it was quite easy to row a boat along Carlyle Street to the commencement of Clive Square, while in Emerson Street and Dickens Street the flood waters reached to beyond Dalton Street. In Thackeray Street, Munroe Street, Owen Street, Craven Street and Millar Street, which at that time was the Recreation ground, water was about two feet deep. In many houses along Carlyle Street, Owen Street and in Faraday Street, the water was eighteen inches above the house floor

Residents went in fear of their lives, when the Tutaekuri, overflowing at Meeanee, poured into the Meeanee Lagoon, but the water subsided in time to avert a disaster.

Some World Events of 1897

Early 1897 days that saw the first tentative steps of the ‘Frivs’, have not been included in the history books of the times: but we do read of Cretan revolts leading to the war between Greece and Turkey: the United States annexation of the island of Hawaii, and the commencement of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations on the 22nd of June. [Handwritten – 1897]

During this time the British Houses of Parliament repealed the ‘Locomotion Act’ – the speed allowable in the future to be 14 miles per hour. The same year saw the commencement of the Spanish-American War initially caused by the blowing up of USS Maine in Havana Harbour, Cuba.

1898/6 [6 is handwritten] saw the first modern Olympic Games, the venue, Athens, Greece. It is interesting to observe that 85 years were to elapse before the suggestion to make a permanent home in that country was to receive popular support, this as the result of the crisis created by the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria’s reign continued to be observed throughout the British Isles. 1898/7 [7 is handwritten] also saw the discovery of the electron particle by Sir J. J. Thompson.

This momentous year witnessed the battle of Omdurman and the defeat of the Maadi and Dervishes by the British led by Lord Kitchener. A discovery of great significance was that of radium by Madame and Pierre Curie.

The world resounded to many events that heralded the approach of the twentieth century and in a very small way the Napier Frivolity Minstrels added its tiny share.

This, then, is the scenario for the ‘Frivs’ entry on the theatrical scene …… a painted backcloth for the future.

Handwritten –
1896   Gold nuggets found in Yukon – Klondike Creek
1897   Boston – underground railway system
1896   First moving picture shows – “flickers” N. Y.
1897   Marconi communication by wireless telegraphy.

Page Six

Wattie Allen.

Charlie Holmes and Percy Spiller.

Back Row: H. Hartley, J. J Tilley, J. Wells, J. Madigan, H. King, J. S. Brass (Hon .Sec.)
Middle Row: C. L. Margoliouth, A. V. Penn, J. A Stevens (Musical Director), Mrs Stevens (Pianist), R. Skipage (Leader), L. Hay, W. Carver.
Front Row: T. Leevers, S. Erskine, T. King.

Handwritten – Louis Hay (Architect)

Page Seven

LIST OF MEMBERS 1897 – 1950

This list has been taken from Programmes of the period that were available. Names of orchestra members were not always provided, but occasionally appear in later programmes.

Original Company 1897 – 1898
Wattie Allen, Harry Bull, J. H. Edmundson, Jack Frazer, Jim Gillespie, Peter Drummond, Lou Freedman, Jim Holmes, Billy Robinson, Percy Spiller, Ted Taylor, W. A. Wilkie, Bert Wilkie, Charles Wilson.

Business Manager: C. Wilson, Musical Director: C. C. Wilson, Stage Manager: Chas Eager
Bones: Wattie Allen, Percy Spiller, Interlocutor: W. A. Wilkie, Tambos: C. H. Wilkie [Handwritten – Bert], Jim Gillespie
Circle: H. Bear, Bull, Drummond, L. Freedman, J. Edmundson, Fraser, F. Mitchell, P. Spiller, W. Young

Business Manager: Chas Eager Hon. Secretary: J. A. Wilkie [Handwritten – Wilkes], Stage Manager: T. Nicholson, Musical Director: C. Wilson
Bones: Wattie Allen, Percy Spiller, Interlocutor: E.H. Taylor, Tambos: H. Bear, Jim Gillespie
Circle: W. Tonkin, J. J. P. Morgan, W. Forsythe, W. A. Wilkie, J. Holmes, Gibson, L. Freedman, D.J. Graham, L. Hay, the Bisley Bros, Morgan, Plowman, F.H. Hewitt, Andrews, Thompson, F. Collins,  Borrows, Renouf

Business Manager: C.H. Wilkie, Hon. Secretary: J.A. Wilkie [Handwritten – Wilkes]/A. White, Stage Manager: H. Andrews, Musical Director: C. Wilson
Bones: Wattie Allen, Harrie Hooper, P. Spiller, Interlocutor: G. Eager, Tambos: Harrie Andrews, Herb Bear, Bert Wilkie [Handwritten – CH]
Circle: W. Tonkin, H. Hooper, C. Prebble, H. Bull, L. Freedman, W. A. Wilkie, J. Gillespie, J. Benson, L. Krogh, J.S. Wilkie, Russell, G. Fletcher, H. Bell

Business Manager: Ed. H. Taylor Hon. Secretary: J.A. Wilkie [Handwritten – Wilkes], Stage Manager: C. H. Andrews, Musical Director: C. Wilson/S. Storkey
Bones: W. Allen, Jim Holmes, P. Spiller, Interlocutor: E.H. Taylor, Tambos: Harry Andrews, Herb Bear, Jim Gillespie
Circle: J J. Morgan, J. Benson, A. W. Thompson, H. Andrews, W. Forsythe, F. W. Collins, L. Freedman, D. J. Gibson, W. Stewart, F.W. Atkins

Programme for this year not available. The pattern of performers previously suggest the same personnel would make up the company.

Show at the Napier Working Men’s Club
Hon. Secretary: J. Wilkie, [Handwritten – Wilkes], Business Manager: Ed. H. Taylor, Musical Director: C. Wilson
Bones: Wattie Allen, P. Spiller, Jim Holmes, Interlocutor: Ted Taylor, Tambos: H. Andrews, H. Bear, Tom Thompson
Circle: J .J. Morgan, S. H. Gibson, Ed. H. Taylor
Show at Oddfellows Hall, Taradale
Hon. Secretary: Jas. Cherry, Musical Director: J.A. Stevens, Stage Manager: A.E. Renouf, ASM: A.H. Andrews, Mech. /Director: H. Andrew
Bones: Gilbert Price, Percy Amner, Interlocutor: J. Macassey, Tambos: Arthur Duff, George Tankard, Harry Andrews
Circle: Herb King, Harold Andrews, Frank O’Shannessay, M. Triston, A.H. Howard

Hon. Secretary: A.D. Muirhead, Musical Director: J.A. Stevens, Stage Managers: A.E. Renouf, C.H. Andrews, Mech. /Director: H. Andrews, Properties: T. Prebble, A. Duff
Bones: P. Amner, O. Cook, H. Tankard, Interlocutor: C. Prebble & H. Edwards, Tambos: H. Andrews, R. Donaldson, M. Peterson
Circle: H. Tankard, T. Prebble, James Macassey, Geo. Tudehope, Herb King, E. Luke, L. Hay, A. Brownette

Hon. Secretary: Joe S. Brass, Musical Director: J. A. Stevens, Stage Manager: A. H. Andrews, Assistant SM: Jas. E. Macassey, Properties: T. Prebble
Bones: P. Amner, B. Cook, H. Tankard, Interlocutor: C. H. Prebble, Tambos: Jas. J. Macassey, D. Davidson, M. Peterson
Orchestra: L. Hay, F. Grubb, J. Marbrook, Leevers, T. Walters, A. V. Penn, John A. Rosewarne
Circle: Geo. Tudehope, N. Stevens, H. Edwards, L. Hay, A. Williamson, C. Kirk, P. Puflett, H. Brownette, W. J. A. Swartze, R. Bartle

Red Cross Camp 1907
Hon. Secretary: R. C. Skippage, Musical Director: J. A. Stevens, Stage Manager: G. Tudehope, H. Tankard, Properties: H. Cooper, Lights: T. Nicholson, Bones: Geo. Tankard, P. Amner, Jack Biss, Interlocutor: Col. W. J. A. Schwartze DSO, Tambos: H. Tankard, C. Prebble, M. Evans
Circle: Rosewarne, Evans, King, E. Luke, C. Kirk, C. Cowlick
Orchestra: L. Hay, (Clarinet) A. V. Penn, (Clarinet) F. Grubb, (Saxaphone)[Saxophone] L. Marbrook, (Oboe) E. Leevers (French Horn) M. Evans, (Drums)

Grand Carnival Performance
Bones: G. Tankard, P. Spiller, M. Evans, Interlocutor: C. Prebble, Tambos: H. Tankard, H. Andrews, G. Mearns, Circle: A. Hunter, J. Biss, E. Luke, H. Knox, G. Larkin

Hon. Secretary: J. Biss, Musical Director: J. A. Stevens, Stage Manager: P. Spiller, Assistant SM: C. H. Wilkie, Pianist: Mrs J. A. Stevens, Ballet: F. Peat, Props: A. Leevers, Bones: G. Tankard, P. Spiller, J. Biss, Interlocutor: C. Prebble, Tambos: B. Knox, F. Peat, Arthur Edwards
Circle: Bebe, Mearns, Tudehope, Liddle, Granby, Page, King, Schwartz, Richards, Stevens, Mutimer, O’Shannessey, Bayliss, Willis.
Orchestra: Messrs. Lyttleton, Mitchell, Hutchinson, Hay, Carver, King, George, Grubb, Marbrook, Leevers, Wyatt, Tombs, Madigan and King

Missing Programmes
Programmes for the years 1910, 1911 and 1912 are missing, and must be presumed destroyed during the Earthquake. Once again it would appear that the same members names appear in other programmes after these dates so it can be safely assumed they would be available during the missing dates.

President: E. Beecham, Vice President: W. Reading Stage Manager: Percy Spiller, Musical Director: P. Briasco
Bones: Percy Spiller, E. Amner, G. Stevens, Interlocutor: C. Prebble, Tambos: Bert Knox, Frank Peat, Vic Gaffaney
Circle: A. Adair, Messrs Batchelor, Bebe, Bull, Craigie, Evetts, Forrest, Harvie, F. Holder, H. Holder, Kendall, Joll, Weston, (Briasco Bros, E. Stevens, J. Gimlet
[Handwritten – not in Photo   W Holder
See Photo framed]

Page Eight

1914 Belgium Relief Funds
Bones: P. Spiller, E. Amner, G. Stevens, Interlocutor: C. Prebble, Tambos: Bert Knox, Warrior, Holder, V. Gaffaney
Circle: Messrs Annan, Batchelor, Bebe, Bull, Evetts, Forrest, Harvie, H. Holder, Kendall, Bell, Weston, Limbrick
Orchestra: Messrs D. & C. Briasco, Bridges, Wingate, Brownette, Moore, White, Young, George, A H. P. Briasco, Earney. Arrangements: H. C. Spackman.

Patron: J.V. Brown esq. President: E. Beecham esq. Bones: P. Spiller, H. Batchelor, S. Weston, Interlocutor: A.E. Renouf, Tambos: Bert Knox, Frank Peat, V. Gaffaney
Circle: Messrs J. Biss, Evett, Forrest, C.H. Smith, Harvie, Hays, Jull, Murphy, McGhee, Riddleborough
Orchestra: J. Colbert, (Piano) J.D. & C. Briasco, C. Bridges, C. H. Smith, G. Earney, J. Johnson, C. White, F. Cooper, J. Madigan, H. King
On Active Service: Frank Holder, W. R. Holder, J. Skidmore, H.J. Holder, W. Annan, L. Kendall, C. Prebble, F. Limbrick, C. White
[Handwritten – Wally Ireland Joined in 1918]

Missing Programmes
With programmes missing of the 1st World War years, 1916 – 1923, there is no record of members names of those years. No doubt, lost in the Earthquake fire at Headquarters in Dalton Street. Other lists of names have been obtained from a private collection. Percy Spiller tells later in the history how ladies helped to keep the company alive in those days, taking their place in the Frivs circle.

Stage Manager: C. H. [Handwritten – Bert] Wilkie, Musical Arrangements: H. G. Spackman
Bones: P. Spiller, R. Girling, Interlocutor: H. Sutton, Tambos: Pat Murphy, Fred Shaw
Circle: E. Amner, W. Ireland, W. Keen, T. Skittrup, E. Armstrong, G. Bull, D. Lawford, L. Coutts, G. Wilson, P. Dunn, R. Harrison, W. Wilkie [Handwritten – Bill]
Orchestra: J. Colbert, (Piano) C. Briasco, C. Colyer, C. White, F. Lloyd, H. S. Cotterill, G. Stegall, J. Tunnicliffe, Drums: J. Stinnear

Bones: P. Spiller, R. Girling, Interlocutor: H. Sutton, Tambos: Pat Murphy, F. Shaw
Circle: E. Amner, W. Ireland, W. Keen, T. Skittrup, D. Lawford, W. Wilkie, G. Wilson, P. Gunn, R. McKechnie
Orchestra: J. Colbert, (Pianist) Violins – J. Richdale, E. Collier, Flute, Piccalo [Piccolo] & Saxaphone [Saxophone] – C. White, Cello – H.S. Cotterill, Bass – J. Tunnicliffe, Cornet – G. Stegall, Trombone – P. George, – Drums G. Hogan

Bones: R. Girling, T. Cross, Interlocutor, P [Handwritten – E] R. Murphy, Tambos: P. Spiller, W Wilkie
Circle: E. Amner, W. Ireland, W. Keen, A. McKechnie, H. Baillie, J. Jackson, G. Bull, A. Jarman
Orchestra: J. Colbert, (Pianist) C.P. Briasco, A. Young, C. White, P. Lloyd, C. Hill, T. Collins, H. S. Cotterill, P. S. George, Drums: D. Willis, H. Cottle

Time for a Laugh
Question, Mr Bones: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Answer, Mr Bones: For some Fowl reason.

Stage Manager: C. H. Wilkie
Bones: P. Spiller, T. Cross, Interlocutor: E. R. Murphy, Tambos: Jack O’Donoghue, [Handwritten – R. Girling?]
Circle: W. Ireland, R. Girling [Crossed-Out], T. Skittrup, H. Ballie, A. McKechnie, P. Jarman, G. Bull, J. Jackson, N. Gray, J. Hawkes, A. Johnson, J. Crosse.
Orchestra: J. Colbert, (Pianist) D. Plank, Messrs C. C. Briasco, A. Young, C. White, A. Clarke, A. Gannaway, H. S. Cotterill, H. Castell, J. Crowley, C. Hill, T. Collins, H. McDonald, W. Hulme.

Stage Manager: C. H. Wilkie
Bones: P. Spiller, T. Crosse, Interlocutor: E. R. Murphy Tambos: Jack O’ Donoghue, Bill Wilkie
Circle: W. Ireland, R. Girling, H. Bailie, W. Quarrie, T. Skittrup, A. Johnson, G. Bull, A. Mckechnie, J. Hawke, J. Jackson, J. Crosse, D. Hayes, C. Morrisey, E. H. Uren
Orchestra: Miss Winifred Payne, (Pianist) Messrs A. Young, Norm Etheridge, A. J. Thornton, A. Rowell, C. Hill, C. White, A. Clarke, J. Wingate, T. Collins, H. J. McKenzie, W. Hulme, A. Gannaway, H. McDonald.

First Tour Through the North Island
Stage Director: G. Plested, Mechanist: R. Abbott, Bones. P Spiller, T. Crosse, Interlocutor: E. R. Murphy, Tambos: Jack O’ Donoghue, Bill Wilkie,
Circle: W. Keen, W. Ireland, R. Girling, A.J. Ziegler, G. Bull, A. McKechnie, J. Hawke, L. Spiller, D. Hays, N. Gray, Miss C. MacDonald.
Orchestra: J. Colbert, (Pianist) A. Young, D. H. Wilkie, L. S. Willis, A. Clarke, G. Stegall, R. Mackenzie, T. Collins, P.S. George

Popular Friv Item
Verse: (Parody lines)
Chorus: Early in the Morning, Early in the Morning,
Early in the Morning. Before the break of day.

Stage Director: George Plested, Mechanist: E. Doig, Bones: P. Spiller, R. Girling, Interlocutor: Bert Ziegler, Tambos: Jack O’Donoghue, Bill Quarrie.
Circle: W. Ireland, G. Bull, A. McKechnie, J. Hamilton, J. Hawke, A. Johnson, L. Spiller, N. Gray, G. Bullivant, Miss Constance MacDonald, L. Peterkin, F. Emmett, Peggy Krogh, M. Crabbe, G. Bailey, L. Dadson, V. McCutcheon, D. MacNab
Orchestra: Miss Winifred Payne, (Pianist) Messrs A. Young, M. Daily, A. Clarke, G. Stegall, R F. MacKenzie, P. George, A. Gannaway, L.S. Wilkes, R. Harris, R. Scorgie, B. Craig.

Bones: P. Spiller, Jim Casson, Interlocutor: Bert Ziegler, Tambo: Bill Quarrie, Owen Jones.
Circle: R. Girling, W. Keen, W. Ireland, L. Spiller, J. Hamilton, G. Bailey, L. Dadson, V McCutcheon, H. Peterkin, G. Bullivant, G. Bull, J. Hawke, J. McCarthy, L. Hawke, C. Neal, F. Emmett, G. Walker, A. Johnson, R. Gibbons, M. Crabbe, A. McKechnie, D. MacNab.
Orchestra: Miss Winifred Payne (Pianist) N. Etheridge, L. Willis, A. Clarke, F. Lloyd, R. J. MacKenzie, R. L. Carruthers, L. Spiro, A. Boston, W. Hulme, C. White, D. Willis, B. Craig.

Bones: P. Spiller, Jim Hamilton, Interlocutor: W. Keen, Tambos: Bill Quarrie, Jack Hawke
Circle: R. Girling, W. Ireland, L. Spiller, G. Bailey, L. Dadson, V. McCutcheon, G. Bullivant, G. Bull, J. McCarthy, L. Hawke, C. Neal, G. Walker, A. Johnson, M. Crabbe, E. Poynter, A. McKechnie, N. Gray, J. Casson.
Orchestra: Mrs W. Quarrie, (Pianist) E. Etheridge. L. Willis, M. Daily, A. Clarke, F. Lloyd, R. P. MacKenzie, R. W. Knott, L. Spiro, A. Boston, D. Willis

Page Nine



Page Ten



Return of the Favourites

In aid of the School Cadet Corps.


Perce Spiller
Harry Hooper

C. Eagar

[Handwritten – CH] Bert Wilkie
Jim Gillespie

Opening Chorus – Rag Time Rhythms   Introducing – Brush by – Take me back – Dublin Fusileers [Fusiliers] and Isabelle   COMPANY
Coon Song   I’ve waited Honey   Mr. L. FREEDMAN
Comic Song   All over me   Mr. H. HOOPER
Ballad   She was bred in old Kentucky   Mr. C. PREBBLE
Military March Song   Soldiers in the Park   Mr. BERT. WILKIE
Latest Australian Success   Rosie O’Grady   Mr. W. A. WILKIE
Darkie Ditty   Hello ma Baby   Mr. H. BELL
London Rage   When the Guards go by   MR. C. EAGAR
Ethiopian Melody   Eli Green’s Cake Walk   Mr. PERCE SPILLER
Senegambian Love Song   Lily of Laguna   Mr. JIM GILLESPIE
Rag Time Oddity   My Ann Elizer   Mr. L. KROGH
Sketch   Singing Competition   COMPANY

Interval of 10 Minutes

Song   Asleep in the Deep   Mr. RUSSELL

(Perce) SPILLER and HOOPER (Harry). In their latest Gags and Songs.

Song   The Sergeant’s Wedding   Mr L. FREEDMAN
Character Song   The Diamond King   Mr BERT. WILKIE
Patriotic Song   Anglo Saxon Race   Mr. C. EAGAR

A few words on current topics by Mr Harry Hooper

Song-Selected   Mr G. FLETCHER

To Conclude with the up-to-date finale “MY FRIEND FROM BROOKLYN.”
Musical Director.

Hon. Secretary.

Programme 1901, Frivs at Havelock North

Page Eleven

Piano – C. Wilson, Violin – ‘Tip’ Haybittle, Cornet – Bert King, Trombone – S. Erskine, Drums – J. Campbell, Bass – Sam Storkey.

Left to Right: Percy Spiller, G. Tankard, J. Biss, Chas Prebble (Interlocutor).
Left to Right: Bert Knox, Arthur Edwards, F. Peat.

Page Twelve

Bones: P. Spiller, Jim Hamilton, Interlocutor: W. Keen, Tambos: Bill Quarrie, Jack Hawke
Circle: R. Girling, W. Ireland, L. Spiller, G. Bailey, L. Dadson, V. McCutcheon, G. Bullivant, G. Bull, L. Hawke, C. Neal, G. Walker, H. Yarwood, A. McKenzie, C. Poynter, N. Gray.

Bones: P. Spiller, V. McCutcheon, Interlocutor: W. Keen, Tambos: Bill Quarrie, J. Hawke
Circle: R. Girling, W. Ireland, G. Bailey, L. Dadson, G. Bullivant, L. Hawke, C. Neal, G. Walker, H. Yarwood, A. McKechnie, E. Poynter, N. Gray, J. Hamilton, H. Prentice, F. Watts, R. Baxter.
Orchestra: Mrs W. Quarrie, (Pianist) N. Etheridge, W. P. Mitchell, M. Daily, A. Clarke, R. P. McKenzie, R. W. Knott, J. McCarthy, A. Boston, N. Nicholison, Drums: W. Willis.

Bones: P. Spiller, V. McCutcheon, Interlocutor: Chas Tidy, Tambos: J. Hamilton, J. Hawke,
Circle: W. Ireland, R. Girling, G. Bailey, L. Dadson, G. Bullivant, L. Hawke, C. Neal, G. Walker, E. Poynter, F. Watts, A. Baxter, J. Crosse, D. Kavanah, A. Bell.
Orchestra: Mrs C. Bromley Hill (Pianist) N. Etheridge, W. P. Mitchell, M. Daily, A. Clarke, P. Lloyd, H.P. [Handwritten – R.P] McKenzie, C. White, R. W. Knott, J. McCarthy, A. Boston, N. Nicholison, Drums: D. Craig

Stage Manager: Jim Baker, Bones: P. Spiller, V. McCutcheon, Interlocutor: G. Bullivant, Tambos: J. Hamilton, J. Hawke.
Circle: W. Ireland, R. Girling, G. Bailey, L. Dadson, C. Neal, G. Walker, E. Poynter, J. Crosse, L. Harris, J. Truman, G. Amner, J. Atkinson
Orchestra: Mrs C. Bromley Hill, (Pianist) Miss Lillian Swann, N. Etheridge, W. P. Mitchell, M. Daily, A. Clarke, F. Lloyd, R.P. MacKenzie, J. McCarthy, M. Venables, A. Boston, N. Nicholison, Drums: Royce Nalder.

Bones: P. Spiller, J. Atkinson, Interlocutor: G. Bullivant, Tambos: V. McCutcheon, J. Hawke, Stage Manager: J. Baker.
Circle: W. Ireland, C. Neal, E. Poynter, G. Amner, J. Burgess, W. Clothier, H. Marshall, W. Keen, Russ Spiller.
Orchestra: Mrs C. Bromley Hill, (Pianist) N. Etheridge, W. P. Mitchell, A. Clarke, F. Lloyd, R. P. MacKenzie, J. McCarthy, A. Boston, P. S. George, Drums: Vic Viggers.

Opening of Municipal Theatre After Earthquake
President: C.W. [Handwritten – H.] Wilkie, Property Master: J. Baker
Bones: P. Spiller, L. Dadson, Interlocutor: G. Bullivant, Tambos: V. McCutcheon, J. Hawke
Circle: W. Keen, W. Ireland, E. Poynter, G. Amner, G. Walker, H. Marshall, Bill Clothier, M. Gray, S. Armstrong, J. Atkinson, J. Hayes, R. Wright, L. Harris, C. Neal, E. Medcalf, Royce Vercoe, J. Burgess
Orchestra: Mrs C. Bromley Hill, (Pianist & Musical Director) Miss Lillian Swann, N. Etheridge, M. Daily, A. Clarke, F. Lloyd, J. McCarthy, M. Venables, B. Boston, M. Buckley, R.P. MacKenzie, Drums: Royce Nalder.
Usher at Opening – Cecily Madore (Nee Ireland)
Programme Covers – E. W. Maylett

President: S. [Handwritten – C] H. Wilkie, Properties. J. Baker
Bones: P. Spiller, L. Dadson, Interlocutor: G. Bullivant, Tambos: V. McCutcheon, J. Hawke
Circle: W. Ireland, E. Poynter, G. Amner, G. Walker, Bill Clothier, S. Armstrong, J. Hayes, R. Wright, L. Harris, C. Neal, E. Medcalf, R. Vercoe, L. Beach, R. Longney, N. A. Alexander, R. Crabtree, M. Crabbe, W. Dallimore.
Orchestra: Mrs C. Bromley Hill, (Pianist & Musical Director) Miss Lillian Swann, N. Etheridge, W. P. Mitchell, M. Daily, A. Clarke, F. Lloyd, J. McCarthy, M. Venables, B. Boston, P. S. George, M. Buckley, R. P MacKenzie, Drums: Royce Nalder.

Minstrel Show Pantomime – Alladin [Handwritten – Aladdin]
Hon. Secretary: W.E. Gunn Stage Manager: C.H. Wilkie, Ballet: Constance MacDonald, House Manager: Hector Chapman.
Musical Director & Pianist. Mrs C. Bromley Hill
Bones: P. Spiller, Len Dadson, Interlocutor: G. Bullivant, Tambos: V. McCutcheon, S Armstrong
Circle: Eileen Quinn, Bernice Mooney, Joyce Player, Ivena Pothan, Wally Ireland, Eric Poynter, R. Wright, C. Neal, W. Alexander, K. Trevor, C. Pollock, C. Bingham, H. Archer, C. Williams.
Orchestra: Mrs C. Bromley Hill, Miss Lillian Swann, N Etheridge, W. P Mitchell, M. Daily E. Collier, G. Stuart, A Clarke, F. Lloyd, J. McCarthy, J. Madigan, M Venables, B. Boston, W. Rogers, P. S. George, M. Buckley, R. P. MacKenzie, R. Nalder.

Minstrel Show Pantomime – Bluebeard
House Manager: Hector Chapman, Properties: Chas Poynter.
Bones: P. Spiller, C. Ranald, Interlocutor: W. Quarrie, Tambos: V. McCutcheon, L. Dadson
Circle. Peggy Poynter Joyce Goodger, Meryl K. Daniels, Pat Reade, Stella Chambers, Frances Green, Cora Knight, Marie Beach, Iris Neal, Bernice Mooney Joyce Player, Ivena Pothan, W. Ireland, R Girling, C Neal, K. Trevor, B. Fuller.
Orchestra: Mrs C. Bromley Hill (Pianist & Musical Director), Miss Lillian Swann, N. Etheridge, W.P. Mitchell, M. Daily, E. Collier, G. Stuart, A. Clarke, J. McCarthy, H. Barlow, J. Madigan, M, Venables, S. Boston, K. Trevor, M. Buckley, R. P. MacKenzie, Royce Nalder.

A Laugh on Mr Interlocutor
Interlocutor: Mr Rastus, would you mind telling me your nationality?
Mr Rastus: Mr Interlocutor. I’m half Scotch!
Interlocutor: What’s the other half?
Mr Rastus: Oh! that’s Ginger Ale, Mr Interlocutor.

Minstrel Show: Pantomime: Cinderella
Stage Manager: Lou Hardgrave
Bones: P. Spiller, C. Ranald, Interlocutor: W. Quarrie, Tambos: R. Girling, Joyce Pollock
Circle: Peggy Poynter, Pat Reade, Stella Chambers, Marie Beach, Bernice Mooney, Ivena Pothan, June Berry, W. Ireland, Ken Trevor, Ben Fuller.
Dancers: Joan Blewett, Val Presyling [Presling], Joyce Hill, Margaret Tanner
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), Miss Lillian Swann, N. Etheridge, W.P. Mitchell, M. Daily, E. Collier, A. Clarke, F. Lloyd, J. McCarthy, J. Madigan, M. Venables, B. Boston, W. Rogers, P. S. George, M. Buckley, R. P. MacKenzie, R. Nalder.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Sindbad [Sinbad]
Stage Manager: C. H. Wilkie, Stage Mechanist: L. Hardgrave, Ballet. Constance MacDonald, Scenery: G. E. Gunn, Music Orchestrations: Mrs Bromley Hill, House Manager: H. Chapman.

Page Thirteen


Back row (Standing) – G. Pufflet, G. Shirley, G. Bond. Second Row – D. Lockhart, W. Hyslop, H. Edwards, E. Luke, Herb King, H. Brownette, G. Tudhope, Sitting – P. Amner, O. Cook, H. Tankard, C. Prebble, M. Peterson, R. C. Davidson, Jas. E. Macassey.

Page Fourteen

Above is shown a group of four Cornermen, an integral part of any Napier Frivolity Minstrels Show – an early historic photograph.

Top: P. Spiller, G. Hogan, E. Amner. Second Row: G. Wilson, G. Bull, R. Girling, E. Murphy, F. Shaw, T. Skittrup.
Third Row: W. Wilkie, P. Gunn, W. Ireland, R. Yates, W. Keen, H. Sutton, O. S. Tunnicliffe. Fourth Row: P. S. George, T. Braithwaite, L. Richdale, J. Colbert, E. Collier, C. White, H. Cotterill. Front Row: V. D. Lawford, G. Steggall.

Page Fifteen

Interlocutor: W. Quarrie, Bones: C. Ranald, P. Spiller, Tambos: Roy Girling, Ivena Pothan.
Circle: Pat Reade, Stella Chambers, Marie Beach, Bernice Mooney, June Berry, Val Presyling, Margaret Tanner, Edith Annan, Doreen Swailes, Heather Stuart, Mary Tringham, Agnes Upton, Joan Blewett, Marcia Nichol, Jean Watson, Joyce Pollock, Wally Ireland, Ken Trevor, Ben Fuller.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), Enid Dunn, W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, C. White, H. Barlow, J. Madigan, B. Boston, P. S. George.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Dick Whittington
Stage Manager: L. Hardgrave, Ballet: Constance MacDonald, Scenery: C. L. Waters, Musical Orchestrations: Mrs C. Bromley Hill, House Manager: H. Chapman.
Bones: P. Spiller, C. Ranald, Interlocutor: Bill Quarrie, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, Gwyn Ace.
Circle: Pat Reade, Pat Portas, Stella Chambers, Marie Beach, June Berry, Val Presyling, Margaret Tanner, Edith Annan, Doreen Swailes, Agnes Upton, Marcia Nichol, Jean Watson, Menai Owen, Doris McKenzie, Nola Skittrup, Wally Ireland, Ben Fuller, Jack McGhee, Syd Birks, Tom Skittrup, R. Girling.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, C. White, H. Barlow, J. Madigan, B. Boston, P. S. George, Drums: W. McDonald.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Bo Peep
Stage Manager: C.H. Wilkie, Stage Mechanist: L. Hardgrave, Ballet: Jean Watson, Pat Portas, V. Presyling, Musical Orchestrations: Mrs Bromley Hill, House Manager: Hector Chapman.
Bones: P. Spiller, Nola Skittrup, Interlocutor: W. Quarrie, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, Gwyn Ace.
Circle: Pat Portas, Stella Chambers, Joyce Player, June Berry, Val Presyling, Marcia Nichol, Jean Watson, Menai Owen, Doris McKenzie, Maureen Plowman, Ngaire Arthur, Wally Ireland, Ben Fuller, Jack McGhee, Syd Birks, Tom Skittrup, Roy Girling, R. Wright, C. Neal.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, G. Stuart, C. White, H. Barlow, J. Madigan, B. Boston, P. S. George, Drums: H. McDonald.

Minstrel Show: Pantomime: The Sleeping Beauty
Stage Manager: C. H. Wilkie, Stage Mechanist: L. Hardgrave, Ballet: Constance MacDonald, Scenery: H. L. Waters, Musical Orchestrations: Mrs Bromley Hill, House Manager: H. Chapman.
Bones: P. Spiller, C. Ranald, Interlocutor: Bill Quarrie, Tambos: V. McCutcheon, Ivena Pothan.
Circle: Pat Portas, Stella Chambers, J.[Handwritten – Joyce] Player, June Berry, Val Presyling, Marcia Nichol, Doris McKenzie, Evelyn McKenzie, Mary Harris, Ngaire Arthur, Merrie Bowland, Corienne Webster, Nola Skittrup, Margaret Tanner, Wally Ireland, Ben Fuller, Tom Skittrup, R. Girling, C. Neal, R. Wright, J. McGhee, Ron Sang, R. Spencer.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, C. White, H. Barlow, J. Madigan, B. Boston, P. S. George, R. Nalder.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Robinson Crusoe
President: C. H. Wilkie, House Manager: H. Chapman, Stage Manager: L. Hardgrave, Ballet: Constance MacDonald, Musical Orchestrations: Mrs Bromley Hill.
Bones: P. Spiller, C. Ranald, Interlocutor: Bill Quarrie, Tambos: Russell Spencer, Ivena Pothan.
Circle: Stella Chambers, Joyce Player, Val Presyling, Marcia Nichol, Doris McKenzie, Evelyn McKenzie, Mary Harris, Merrie Bowland, June Pothan, Nola Skittrup, Greta Start, Wally Ireland, Ben Fuller, R. Girling, C. Neal, R. Wright, J. McGhee, Ron Sang, Keith Graham, Ken Trevor.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, G. Stuart, A. Clarke, C. White, H. Barlow, J. Madigan, B. Boston, P. S. George, Drums: Vic Viggers.

Family Trees
Mr Interlocutor (indignantly) I’ll have you know Mr Rastus, my father was touched on the shoulder with a sword and made a Knight.
Mr Rastus – That’s nothing Mr Interlocutor, my father was hit on the head with a shovel and made an Angel.

Minstrel Show Pantomime Aladdin
President: C.H. Wilkie Stage Manager: L. Hardgrave House Manager: Hector Chapman, Ballet: Ivena Pothan, Musical Orchestrations: Mrs C. Bromley Hill
Bones: P. Spiller, R. Girling, Interlocutor: W. Quarrie, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, N. Etheridge.
Circle: Stella Chambers, Joyce Player, Marcia Nichol, Doris McKenzie, Mary Harris, Ngaire Arthur, Noeline Colbert, June Pothan, Nola Skittrup, Irene Duncan, Wally Ireland, Ben Fuller, C. Neal, R. Wright, J. McGhee, Keith Graham, Russell Spencer, Syd Birks, Bill Nichol.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, G. Stuart, Alan Clarke, R. Nalder, D. Smith, B. Boston, P. S. George, Bill Nichol, Vic Viggers.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Bluebeard
President: C. H. Wilkie, Stage Manager: L. Hardgrave House Manager: H. Chapman, Business Manager: V. J. Wallis, Ballet: Ivena Pothan, Musical Orchestrations: Mrs Bromley Hill.
Bones: Len Dadson, K. Graham, Interlocutor: Bert Earney, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, N. Etheridge;
Circle: Merrie Bowland, Joyce Player, Marcia Nichol, Doris McKenzie, Mary Harris, Ngaire Arthur, June Pothan, Colleen Wood, Nola Skittrup, Audrey Wilton, Wally Ireland, Ben Fuller, R. Wright, J. McGhee, K. Graham, Bill Nichol, Ron Sang.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, G. Stuart, A. Clarke, Dorothy Smith, B. Boston, P. S. George, Vic Viggers.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Cinderella
(Show for Christchurch Tour)
President: C. H. Wilkie, House Manager: H. Chapman Hon Sect. & Business Manager: V. J. Wallis, Ballet: Ivena Pothan, Musical Orchestrations: Mrs Bromley Hill
Bones: Len Dadson, K. Graham, Interlocutor: Bert Earney, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, Norm Etheridge.
Circle: Merrie Bowland, Joyce Player, June Pothan, Audrey Wilton, Colleen Woods, Stella Chambers, Vilma Jones, Marion McFarland, June Bainbridge, Maureen Gardiner, Mavis Boardman, Wally Ireland, C. Neal, Ron Sang, Bill Mayo, Jock Donaldson, G. Guildford, D. Lipp.
Orchestra: Mrs Bromley Hill (Musical Director & Pianist), W. P. Mitchell, E. Collier, G. Stuart, A. Clarke, Dorothy Smith, B. Boston, P.S. George, Vic Viggers.

Page Sixteen

One for Mr Interlocutor
Mr Bones: Why is it, Mr Interlocutor. Whenever I catch a cold I end up with a head cold.
Interlocutor: That’s easy, Mr Bones. It’s a well known fact that a cold is most likely to settle in the weakest part.

by Percy Spiller

When compiling this history it was decided to leave the following material un-edited. It was Percy Spiller’s account in the 1947 50th Jubilee programme and breathes the atmosphere of those days – and who better to tell the account than one who was one of the original Frivs.

1897, as far as the general public were concerned, was the time of concerts, parties and the latest innovation, surprise parties. Anyone who could sing, play or entertain was in great demand at these functions. Many young fellows, some from places outside of Hawkes Bay, who were in business in Napier, were either in lodgings, or rented a house and did for themselves. The need for a piano for practice was great.

How the Frivs Started.

Several fellows met and decided to rent the Oddfellows Hall in Milton Road and practice new songs etc, on one night each week. They contributed one shilling per night to pay for the rent of the hall. This was the way the Napier Frivolity Minstrels came into being.

Early Performances

After practising for some time it was suggested that a public appearance would be a good idea, and on the 27th September, 1898, in the Eskdale Hall, the ’Frivs’ made their debut. On August 23rd 1899, they gave their second performance at the same place, then a show at Havelock North.

With two shows performed it was decided to enlarge the Company and after many more rehearsals the first Napier performance was presented. So successful was this that the performance was repeated at Port Ahuriri, Havelock North, Wairoa etc.

It is interesting to note that the performance given in Stuarts Hall, Ahuriri on Wednesday, 24th October, 1900 has an added meaning to the ’Frivs’ present generation. Renovated considerably by members, it is now our own home, and a comfortable place for rehearsals and other social activities.

During the early stages of the Frivs existence the late Lou Freedman offered the loan of one of the back rooms of his business premises in Emerson Street. With the hiring of a piano this room became a scene of activities for some time.

It is safe to assume that not one of the members at this time ever thought that the Company would continue an unbroken list of performances for fifty years. Members of the ’Frivs’ fought in the Boer War, the 1914-1918 War and the Second World War, 1939-1945. Honours were earned in the field, and we mourn the loss of several gallant ’Frivs’.

Personnel Who Performed the Show.

The Company had always been an All Man show until the 1914-1918 War when the membership became so depleted that several young ladies were recruited to help keep the show going. After the War these ladies left, and the men only shows prevailed until World War II when all but three members of the company had joined up with the armed forces.

1939-1945 War Years & Lady Members

The ladies were again appealed to and kept the Show from going into recess. So popular has the mixed Show become that it seems likely that this form of entertainment will continue. The ladies possess charm, talent and artistry of no mean order and are considered to be a great acquisition to the ‘Frivs’.

Musical Directors & Pianists.

These have been many, from the late Charlie Wilson, the first one and a born musician who used to arrange and even compose numbers for the orchestra.

Then followed Sam Storkey, the late Charles Eager, and then the late John A. Stevens. During the years that John was director and Mrs Stevens was pianist the Orchestra reached a very high standard, being larger than ever before in its history. This was brought about largely through the Sunday nights spent at the Stevens’ home when the Orchestra would play 7.00pm ’til midnight.

Percy Briasco than [then] presided at the piano for some time and was followed by Jack Colbert, who played until he went off to the war. Bert Knox also played for a time.

After the return of Jack Colbert who was again pianist for many years until 1927. Miss Winifred Payne (Mrs W. Quarrie) acted from 1928 to 1934. Ted Palmer and the late Doug Plank took the piano for us on a few occasions. Our present Directress, Mrs Cecile Bromley Hill joined the Company in 1935 and is still with us, so that she has had the longest unbroken association with the ’Frivs’.

Service with the Orchestras

Many of the orchestra have had long service. Mr John Madigan has been a member since 1905, except when he had for a time been out of Napier. His name can be seen in a programme of the Napier Amateur Dramatic Society as long ago as 1883.

Performers – Interlocutors & Cornermen.

With the exception of one of the original members (Percy Spiller – J. S. H.) – Wally Ireland takes pride of place for the longest membership in the Show. He has played the Dame in every Pantomime the ‘Frivs’ have put on. Roy Girling too, has been many years in the Company.

The first Interlocutor was Ted Taylor, and an excellent centre man. There have been many since, including Charlie Eager, W.A. Wilkie, J. E. Macassey, Harold Edwards, Charlie Prebble (who reigned for many years), Harry Sutton, Kem Winks, Pat Murphy, Bert Ziegler, Will Keen, Charlie Tidy, George Bullivant, and our present Mr Interlocutor – Bill Quarrie – one of the best, and who travels many miles each week to rehearsals.

Many members have acted as cornermen, but good ones are rare. Looking back over the years it can be said that one of the best was an original member – Wattie Allen, who was also an excellent character comedian.

Other names that come to mind are Harry Andrews, Bert Wilkie, Percy Spiller, Herb Bear, Arthur Renouf, Percy Amner, George & Harry Tankard, Oscar Cook, Don Mearns, Jack Biss, Jack Hawke, Jack O’Donoghue, Jim Hamilton, Vernon McCutcheon, Len Dadson and others. During the War, some of the lady members blacked up and took their seats on the ‘Corner’.

The ladies who were mentioned above were Constance MacDonald, Ivena Pothan and Nola Skittrup – J. S. H.

Page Seventeen

Vocalist Performers.

Some fine singers have appeared in the ranks of the ‘Frivs’. Bill Mathison, Bill Robinson, Herb King, Harold Edwards, Frank Newcombe, Hall, Laurie Kendall, Bert Ziegler, Arthur Edwards, Herb Marshall, Bill Clothier, George Tudehope, Frank O’Shannassey, Eric Poynter, Robert Wright. Others, although not possessed of such good voices, have been able, through their artistry, to put over items with equal success. Among the lady singers must be mentioned Eileen Quinn, June Berry, Stella Chambers, Doris McKenzie, Bernice Mooney and others. As a character performer, of course, Ivena Pothan was in a class of her own.

Bill Clothier later went to sing at Covent Garden, London

Looking back over the years it can be said that the most outstanding turn ever presented in our programme was the “Three Apollos” – Geoff Walker, the late Gordon Bailey and Dermot Kavanagh. After Dermot’s death his place was ably filled by Lionel Harris.

The ‘Three Apollos’ were acrobats and balancers, and their turn used to ‘bring the house down’.

It was generally agreed that Monte Peterson’s female impersonation was a very fine act. Tom Skittrup, with his whistling, yodelling and falsetto singing, was another versatile artist. It really is not fair to discriminate because there have been many good performers, who have striven to do their bit. Of recent years the introduction of the Piano Accordian [Accordion] band, under the direction of Ces Neal, has been a great acquisition.

List of Tours.

The ‘Frivs’ have been very enterprising and have made many trips away from Napier. With the exception of a visit to Wairoa and Gisborne, the first tour was to Palmerston North and Masterton in 1906.

Later on, the Easter tours were made, including trips to Waipukurau and Dannevirke, Greytown and Martinborough, Taupo and others. Then, in 1915 the Show was away for a week to Rotorua, Hamilton, Cambridge, Taumaranui [Taumarunui] and Taihape. This was really the first of the yearly tours.

In 1929 the Tour was made in two big service cars and included Taupo, Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane, Opotiki and Gisborne. Coming through the Motu Gorge one of the cars left the road and plunged 140 feet over the bank and down a gully. All the passengers were thrown clear but five had to be taken to hospital, including Reg Abbott, very seriously injured. After about twelve months off work he made a good recovery. It is pleasing to report that the Company maintained the best traditions of the stage and presented the performance that same night in Gisborne with performers arms in slings and heads and faces bandaged.

The 1930 Tour embraced Eltham, New Plymouth, Stratford, Wanganui, Feilding and Dannevirke. Recent tours have included the same itinerary as the 1929 and 1930 tours.

An epoch in our history was the appearance of the ‘Frivs’ at the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition in Wellington in 1940. Here the Company was greeted with two audiences that packed the Exhibition Hall to overflowing.


It is impossible, of course, to single out everyone who has assisted because over the years they would run into very many. Since the Pantomimes were introduced into the second half, Miss May MacDonald has coached members in dialogue, which made a wonderful improvement. Miss Constance MacDonald has not only taught all the dancing but has designed the frocks, dyed costumes and done no end of work for us. Mrs Presyling and Mr D. McKenzie have also helped us in many ways with the dressing problems.

The late Neil Gray made us our marvellous cow ‘Raspberry’ which caused shrieks of laughter every time she appeared. Jim Baker was a wizard at making all kinds of animals, and Charlie Poynter constructed a magnificent archway and other valuable properties. Ron Doig created a wonderful thermometer for one of our shows, but the 1931 fire was too much for it.

One of our keenest members is Lou Hardgrave, who works unseen, being responsible for the stage settings, and is always busy backstage.

The Hawkes Bay Motor Company and their splendid drivers deserve our best thanks for services rendered.

The proprietors of the Hotels at Taupo – viz. The Bungalow, The Lake, The Spa and The Terraces, for their hospitality during the Labour Day weekends when the Show has been put on for Taupo School funds. Numerous supporters have made us presents of uniforms, costumes, hats, music, etc and we record our best thanks to them.

To our good friend, George Plested, custodian of the Napier Municipal Theatre, who has helped us on every occasion and seems to enjoy it.

The Theatre staff, (both front and back), for their assistance whenever we want it and we must place on record the service of the late Charles Dine and Arthur Hillson, who took their places on the doors for over twenty five years.

Messrs A. Simmonds & Co. Ltd. for bouquets provided each year for the Musical Directress

The Napier Fire Brigade who gave their duties to us free on every occasion.

Hector Chapman, our Front of House Manager, and Vic Wallis, who took over the duties on the last tour to everyones satisfaction.

Messrs C. E. Rogers & Co. Mr. Kendall, and the Old Curiosity Shop for loan of furniture at various times.

In short our thanks to all who have in any way helped us over the last half century.

Special Thanks

The Napier Borough Council for giving us the honour of the official opening of our Theatre on June 4th, 1938.

The Daily Telegraph Ltd. for the publicity freely given to reports of our many Shows

The Napier Thirty Thousand Club for a rehearsal room with lighting and piano for thirty years. To Mr. and Mrs McKechnie for the use of their home for rehearsals following the Earthquake and Fire of 1931.

We wish to place upon records our appreciation of the kindly interest taken in the ’Frivs’ by R. J. Kerridge Esq. Auckland, who made possible the several trips to Gisborne, and the last tour of the East Coast, Bay of Plenty and Rotorua. In all these places the Company played in the theatres under the direction of Mr Kerridge.

Finally, our best thanks to the Public of Napier and Hawkes Bay for their generous support. As a result of this the ’Frivs’ have been able to hand over thousands of pounds to the Hawkes Bay Children’s Home, and the various Schools and Hall funds. The combination of fun without vulgarity and entertainment without pause is evidently to the liking of the people.

A reference to the ’Frivs’ would be incomplete without mentioning ’Colonel’ John Benson, Mrs Benson and members of the family.

In the early days of the ‘Frivs’ they always gathered at the ‘Colonel’s’ residence on Barrack Hill and celebrated New Years Eve in traditional style. We started at midnight and continued with the

Page Eighteen

celebrations until the sun was high in the heavens.

Those of us who were privileged to be present on these occasions will never forget the kindness and hospitality showered on us. It is interesting to note that the ‘Colonel’, who had a very fine voice, was a performing member of the ‘Frivs’, as was his son-in- law, W. A. Wilkie, and his grandson Bill Wilkie.

And now for a final last word. The ’Frivs’ take pride in the fact that no member of the orchestra, performer or official of any description receives any fee or reward for his or her services to the show. Everything is done free of charge, and we doubt if there is another organisation in the Dominion with a similar record. Long may the members continue with the good work.

S. Percy Spiller.

Roll of Honour and Active Service.
1914   1918
W. Annan, F. Cooper, Frank Holder, W. R. Holder, H. J. Holder, F. Limbrick, L. Kendall, C. Prebble, J. Skidmore, C. White.
(1915 Programme)

Roll of Honour.
1939   1945
Gordon Bailey, Ron Crabtree, L. Beach

On Active Service.
G. Amner, S. Armstrong, W. Alexander, H. Archer, G. Bullivant, M. Buckley, T. Connolly, M. Crabbe, L. Dadson, W. Clothier, M. Daily, W. Dallimore, J. Dallimore, N. Etheridge, L. Hawke, J. Hamilton, R. Longney, E. Medcalf, D. McNab DCM, V. V. McCutcheon, E. Neal, E. Poynter, C. Pollock, N. N. Nalder, W. Rogers, L. Spiller, G. Stuart, K. Trevor, R. Vercoe, V. Viggers, M. Venables, W. Wilkie, C. Williams, G. Walker

Ladies on War Service.
Misses P. Armer, F. Green, B. Mooney, Iris Neels, M. MacRae, J. Player, J. Pollock.


1897   When the Napier Frivolity Minstrels were first formed.
1898   First Outside Performance – Eskdale Hall.
1899   Second Outside Performance – Eskdale Hall.
1900   Performance at Stuart’s Hall. The Spit, Ahuriri, (old Buffalo Hall, now Frivs Headquarters).
1900   First Performance at Hastings.
1905   Performance at Masterton.
1906   His Majesty’s Theatre, Gisborne.
1909   Town Hall, Waipawa.
1914   Benefit Belgium Relief Fund, Napier.
1929   First Tour – Taupo, Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisborne, (accident Motu Gorge).
1930   Second Tour – Eltham, New Plymouth, Stratford, Wanganui, Feilding, Dannevirke.
1931   Napier Earthquake -1931 Performance at Drill Hall, Napier.
1938   Official Opening of new Napier Municipal.
1939-1945   Ladies joined Frivs to assist Company.
1947   50th Jubilee Anniversary and Show.

Lady Members Help Out

Although indicated in the report presented by the late Percy Spiller that assistance was given to keep the ’Frivs’ afloat in the 1914-1918 war years by lady members, the compiler of this history was unable to verify this from old programmes. Further help would be appreciated to establish the correct position and names of the ladies concerned.

It is known that in the 1930’s great assistance was given by the late Mrs Thorney Dunn (nee May MacDonald) and Miss Constance MacDonald in the Production side of the Show. Their contributions were on stage in preparation of the Production and dance part of the Show. Under the name of Con Ranald – Miss Constance MacDonald appeared as cornerman for a number of years. See lists of members.

Others who took a prominent part were Miss Peggy Krogh and Peggy Black. Their ballet items and solo turns were always a feature of each Show and were well received. They also taught the male members the routines used in the Minstrel Show.

1939 – 1945 List of Lady Members

Edith Annan, Ngaire Arthur, Marie Beach, June Berry, Joan Blewett, Merrie Bowland, Stella Chambers, Mryl. K. Daniels, Joyce Goodger, Frances Green, Joyce Hill, Mary Harris, Cora Knight, Bernice Mooney, Constance MacDonald, Doris McKenzie, Evelyn McKenzie, Iris Neels, Marcia Nichols, Menai Owen, Val Presyling, Joyce Player, Ivena Pothan, Peggy Poynter, June Pothan, Eileen Quinn, Patricia Portas, Joyce Pollok, Maureen Plowman, Patricia Reade, Doreen Swailes, Heather Stuart, Greta Start, Nola Skittrup, Margaret Tanner, Mary Tringham, Jean Watson, Corienne Webster, Agnes Upton, May MacDonald.

Napier Working Men’s Club.

In the early days of the ‘Frivs’ the Napier Working Men‘s Club came to the assistance of the fledgling company and made available a rehearsal room in their premises. Several performances were given to the Club showing the ’Frivs’ appreciation of their gesture.

Programmes show that these performances took place during the 1900, 1904, 1908 and the 1913 period of the ’Frivs’ history.

The association continues to this day – now known as the Cosmopolitan Club. As recently as 1980 the ‘Frivs’ presented their Minstrel Show to a packed hall – the warm response is indicative of the association that began so many years ago and still continues.

Napier Male Variety Troupe.

At the conclusion of the 1939-1945 War, some returning members expressed the wish for the company to return to an all male troupe.

This move was rejected, and as a result a small splinter group called the Napier Variety troupe was formed.

A performance was given to raise money for the Te Awa Welcome Home Committee. This show was played in the Napier Municipal Theatre on the 13th March, 1946. One further performance was given at a country venue.

After this date no further performances were given by these members. The following year most returned and rejoined the ‘Frivs’, and the continuing pattern of a mixed company continues to this day.

Fun With Mr Interlocutor

Mr Rastus: What is it, Mr Interlocutor, that has 100 legs, green wings and red eyes?
Interlocutor: I don’t know. What is it, Mr Rastus?
Mr Rastus: You can soon find out. There’s one crawling up your arm.

Page Nineteen

[Handwritten – R. P. MacKenzie Silent Mac]

HAREM ‘LADIES’ of the Frivs.

Page Twenty

The above company had the honour to open the new Municipal Theatre, Napier, – 1938.

Back – left to right: J. McCarthy, Royce Nalder, Bill Rogers, A. Clarke, Percy George, M. Venables, Bert Boston.
Front Row: Mrs Bromley Hill, Norm Etheridge, Miss Lillian Swann

Page Twenty One


[Handwritten – Cec Neal]

Page Twenty Two

November, 1947.

[Handwritten – Lal Spiller]

Page Twenty Three

Jubilee Gathering
(Courtesy Daily Telegraph Ltd.
1st December, 1947.

Memorable occasions were lived again at a reunion of past and present members of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels on Saturday night, when, at the conclusion of the final performance of the show that ran last week at the Municipal Theatre, Napier, a supper party was held on stage.

Before the programme began each member of the company, past and present, came forward at the invitation of the President, Mr C. H. Wilkie, and announced his name through the microphone. Six of them belonged to a group which launched the company on its successful career half a century ago. All received an ovation from the audience. The curtain was lowered and the performance proceeded. After the show past members joined the performers at supper.

Toast List Honoured.

Following the toast of ‘The King’ Mr W. Ireland proposed the toast ‘The Old Frivs’ with particular mention of the original members and each old member was asked to join in replying to the toast. They came from Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, Palmerston North, Gisborne, Hastings.

The Toast ‘Present Frivs’ was proposed by Mr W. A. Allan of Wellington, one of the original members, and replied by Mr W. Quarrie and others.

Mr S. P. Spiller proposed the toast ‘Mrs Bromley Hill and the Frivs Orchestra’, and Mr E. Collier replied. ‘Absent Friends’ was honoured in a toast proposed by Mr Vic Wallis.

Mr J. Colbert presided at the piano and items were given by Miss Ngaire Arthur, Mr B. Knox of Wellington and Mr Eric Poynter.

Bouquets were presented to Mrs Bromley Hill, Misses Ivena Pothan and Constance MacDonald.

The original members were Mr W. Allan of Wellington, W. H. Robinson (Auckland), C. H. Wilkie, S. P. Spiller, J. Edmundsen and H. Bull (all of Napier).

Wally Ireland J.P.

Stalwart of the ‘Frivs’ since 1918 when he joined the company Wally Ireland has been associated with many aspects of the organisation. For thirty five years he was an active member on stage playing the roles of Mr Interlocutor and solo artist. Added to this has been the administrative position of President, and in later years that of Patron of the Society.

As a comedy artist he has taken part in the ‘Frivs’ circle, many solo turns, double acts with Eric Amner, Bill Quarrie and Percy Spiller. Since Pantomime became a feature of the second half of the Frivs Productions he will be well known for his many Dame characterisations.

The items that he recalls that gave him the greatest pleasure among a host of comedy roles are ‘Why Am I Always the Bridesmaid’, No One Loves a Fairy When She’s Old’, Toni the Swiss Mountaineer’ – this last role shared with a riot of mirth ‘Raspberry the Cow’.

In private life he has been a member of the Napier City Council, 1953-1962, Vice-President of the Napier 30,000 Club and on the Executive of the Hawkes Bay Justices of the Peace Association and other entertainment organisations such as the Napier Operatic Society, Napier Repertory Society, and an earlier group ‘The Bluebirds’.


Since the Napier Frivolity Minstrels began trekking around Hawkes Bay and beyond, a very happy association has been built up between the Hawkes Bay Motor Co., Ltd., (now Mount Cook Line Ltd.,) and the Company. This association has been valued highly by the ‘Frivs’.

Over the years many thousands of miles have been travelled, and each succeeding Friv complement have “adopted” the Management and drivers, regarding them as ’Frivs’ in every sense of the word.

Our travels with the Motor Company have been almost accident free, the only incident occurred on the 1929 tour. The details are recounted from the Napier Daily Telegraph’s January, 1929 pages.

Accident in the Motu Gorge.

Rumour was rife in Napier this morning when the news was phoned through from Opotiki that the Napier Frivolity Minstrels, at present engaged in a northern tour, had been involved in an accident between Opotiki and Gisborne on the main road, the bus going over a bank and falling 115 feet.

All sorts of stories were going the rounds varying from the optimistic to the highly sensational.

It appears, however, that travelling in two private cars and one big sixteen seater bus, the ’Frivs’ after playing in Opotiki last night, left on schedule early this morning, bound for Gisborne.

Bus Leaves the Road.

When descending the Meremere Hill, seventeen miles south of Opotiki, the bus left the road and went over a bank to drop 115 feet turning a somersault in its flight, but landing on its wheels at the bottom of the gorge

Two Seriously Injured.

Two members of the complement, the driver Mr Reg Hawkins and a member of the company, Mr Reginald Norman Abbott employed as a foreman mechanic at the Napier Post Office, are reported to be seriously injured in the Opotiki Hospital although the exact nature of their injuries is not known. [Handwritten – 12 months off work]

Four others suffering minor injuries were conveyed to the Opotiki Hospital and three more were slightly injured, but proceeded to Gisborne with the party, where tonight’s engagement will be fulfilled.

Further Messages from the ’Frivs’.

A message received by the Daily Telegraph Ltd. from Mr S. P. Spiller, organiser of the tour, and a passenger in one of the other cars, sent from Motu, stated in addition to the two seriously injured, Messrs G. Stegall, W. Wilkie and J. O’Donoghue, suffering minor injuries, and R. McKenzie suffering from shock were in the Opotiki Hospital, while Messrs T. Crosse, G. Bull and G. H. Plested were slightly injured but were proceeding with the party to Gisborne.

Advice from Opotiki states that the crash at Meremere Hill was caused by the steering wheel of the bus locking while rounding the bend.

No Business Like Show Business.

That night with some in bandages and showing the results of the accident … they gave a performance.

[Handwritten – Tour – Taupo, Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisborne.]

Page Twenty Four

One of the earlier buses in which the Frivs travelled.

Photographs of the accident in the Motu Gorge on way to Gisborne – 1929.

Page Twenty Five

FRIVS 50th ANNIVERSARY GROUP. [Handwritten – 1947]


Page Twenty Six

Wally Ireland and Ivena Pothan

Wally Ireland and Norm Etheridge

Wally Ireland (Anne), Joyce Player, Ivena Pothan (Toby), Doris McKenzie.

Page Twenty Seven

Recognition of the H. B. Motor Co. Staff.

The Frivs appreciate the close association with Management and all Drivers but would like to express special thanks to the following –

Early Years: – Arthur Giles, E. W. (Baldy) Myers, Bob McCutcheon, Percy Halstead, Reg Rich, Starr Webster, Frank Hubbard.

Recent Years: – Ian Reid, Laurie Head, the late Graham Mott, and for arranging transport and driving, Peter Elliott.


A very popular gag trick of the 1920’s was the Frivs Box Trick.

Requirements are as follows:-
Mr Interlocutor, two darky Cornermen dressed alike, one decorated square box with lid, large enough to hold one of the Cornermen.

Procedure: – Mr Interlocutor entices one of the Cornermen to take part, for payment, in the trick. Mr Interlocutor tells No. 1 Cornerman that on the count of ten he can make him disappear from the box to reappear at the front of the hall.

Uneasily No. 1 Cornerman enters the box but several times opens the box to get out. Mr Interlocutor reassures him that it is safe and to secure his support increases the reward as an enticement to assist with the Trick. Finally No. 1 Cornerman enters the box but on the final count of eight clambers from the box and rushes off stage and out of sight behind stage scenery. He is followed by Mr Interlocutor and stage assistants who try to catch him.

These backstage members return to the stage dragging the darky and place him in the box, close the lid and prevent the darky from escaping again.

In actual fact they have returned with No. 2 who had been waiting off stage out of sight and it appears to be the other Cornerman.

No. 1 has now left the stage in haste for the count of ten to be called, in time to be in position at the front of the hall. He then comes forward to claim his reward. When Mr Interlocutor hands him the money No. 2 Cornerman lifts the lid of the box and reappears to claim the reward as well.

When on tour playing at a Bay of Plenty hall a check was made in the afternoon for a quick exit to reach the foyer of the hall to complete the trick. A window at the back of the stage was found to be suitable. That night all went well until No. 1 Cornerman opened the window to escape. In the darkness what had seemed firm ground was covered with sea water that had returned with the tide – the hall backed on tidal flats – and the unfortunate dark fell into two feet of sea water. Worse was to come, after struggling to reach the front of the hall in the darkness, dripping wet, he was refused admission by the doorkeeper.

The same trick caused further trouble during another tour; this time on the west coast of the North Island. The theatre backed close to a Chinese fruiterers shop and when the Cornerman looked for a safe way to the front of the theatre he found the only way was over a wire netting covered fowl run. Again in the darkness there was trouble ahead. He fell through the netting to the violent reaction of the fowls and the chickens. The noise brought out an irate Chinese proprietor who chased the offending darky off his property.

Wally Ireland tells of a certain H. B. Motor Co. driver who puzzled a circle of Frivs waiting to board a bus en route to Taupo. The driver had just placed a hand saw inside the bus. When asked the reason he replied mysteriously, ‘You’ll find out soon enough’…
The mystery was cleared up when they reached the old wooden bridge over the Mohaka river. The roadway followed the bluff face down to the bridge crossing the river.

The approach to the bridge was sharp and the 1920 bus pulled up to a halt. The driver then climbed out and taking the handsaw proceeded to cut away part of the wooden beam that jutted out from the side of the road bridge. When sufficient had been cut away the driver resumed his seat and the bus was able to make the sharp turn on to the bridge in comfort.

The Frivs always appear to have some very versatile members in the back stage team. Raspberry the Cow will be remembered by many old time Friv members.

Then again the same can be said for Vic Viggers and his ’Rudolf the Red Nosed Raindeer’. Also in the Pantomime ‘The Shriek of Araby’, the eye rolling camel named Sabrina was always received with great delight by youngsters of all ages.

Mention has been made of the H. B. Motor Co. driver whose wit and antics were well received by all. Again in the 1920’s the same driver when visiting the Wanganui Art Gallery felt in the fun type mood and asked the elderly gentleman who was the doorkeeper if he knew where a bet could be placed upon a certain horse – this being in the days before the T.A.B.

The elderly gentleman was indignant, ’Young man’ was his reply, ‘I do not and I’m not a racing man, I’ll have you know.

Our driver friend was deflated slightly but more was to come. When the time came to leave, the elderly old gentleman beckoned him and whispered mysteriously. ‘Young man, there’s a lot of people in Wanganui this weekend.’

‘Why is that?’ asked the driver.

‘Because,’ said the elderly gentleman, ‘they live here’.

The Frivs were fortunate in having a scenery artist of the calibre of Ian Barber whose stage sets always received much comment and admiration. in the 1950’s they were a feature of every Pantomime.

The Napier cloth showing a birds eye view of the Marine Parade is still being used.

During this time Hawkes Bay Motor Co., personality, Fred Burton helped greatly with ideas and designs.

Places Visited During Period.

Bay View
Havelock North
New Plymouth
Onga Onga
Paki Paki
Palmerston North
Port Ahuriri
Puterino [Putorino]
Te Aute
Te Haroto
Te Pohue

Page Twenty Eight


During the 1939-1945 War years and commencing with 1940 year the format of the show began to change. The Minstrel Show, because of its popularity, was retained but in place of the Olio second half the Pantomime section was introduced.

Described in the dictionary as a mixture, or medlay [medley], the Olio used by the Frivs since its inception had been a mixture of single turns, double acts, quartettes, speciality turns and gag sketch material. Usually this half was performed by a small number of more experienced players.

With the introduction of the ‘potted’ pantomime it was possible to use the entire company to the full. With male personel away overseas at the War this change in format proved to be a most suitable vehicle to retain a typical Frivs presentation.

Material used during this time were the English pantos by the firm Samuel French Ltd. and proved most suitable. Pantomimes used were varied in plot and included Aladdin, Bluebeard, Cinderella, Sindbad, Dick Whittington, Bo Peep, The Sleeping Beauty.

1951 saw the first change from the English written Pantomime; due to newer material not being available. Here the author of this history wrote ’Red Riding Hood’, followed during the next six years by the locally written Shows – Old Mother Hubbard, Simple Simon, The Queen of Hearts, Jack and Jill, The Pipers Son and the 1957 musical comedy and sixtieth show – Captain Kidd.

For the greater part of the War years and up to the sixtieth Jubilee the Company retained many of the same artists – and in a later list is recorded a complete listing of those members.

Days in the Sun with the Frivs.

Regular visits to towns and small farming communities in the Hawkes Bay area appeared on the Frivs itinerary throughout the 1950’s – with the occasional foray further afield. Performances were given for Schools and Hall organisations, who retained the funds raised. A regular feature was the visit each year to the Pukeora Sanitarium [Sanatorium] for T.B. Patients – this hospital later became the Pukeora Home for the disabled.

New contacts were made in the Wairoa area when the Frivs gave several performances for the Hillneath School. This resulted in various organisations being given help by the Frivs in later years. Through this early contact, friendships were made with Wairoa people that were to last to this day. The Frivs were particularly grateful to Ken White from amongst these friends.

Memories of days in the sun at Riverina Station, the home of the Tong family, will be fresh in the minds of Frivs at that period in time. Their hospitality at Muramura on the Sunday mornings of the weekend visit was always enjoyed by the Company.

Vists [Visits] to Taupo each Labour Day Weekend began to be marked in red on each years itinerary. Memories will be stirred of the road to Taupo, (before it was tar-sealed), with the tortuous climb over the Turangakuma and Titiokura Hills, particularly if following a logging truck covering all with clouds of dust.

The race along the ‘Mad Mile’ reputed to be the only straight section along the Taupo Road, then the trek across the Rangitikei plains bouncing over the pumice water courses over the roadway. The welcome stay at the Rangitikei Hotel and the historical associations they conjure up of the Maori Wars and soldiers of the 65th Regiment, plus the friendly bushmen and timbermen who whiled away the time in their favourite hostelry.

Taupo, with half the company staying at the Terraces and the other half at the Spa Hotel. After the Saturday night’s performance given at Rickett’s Hall, (later the War Memorial Hall), in the main street. The Sunday evening was given over to the Minstrel Show performance – first at the Terraces and then to conclude the evening with a Show at the Spa Hotel – both a riot of fun.

After a few years the Company all stayed at the Spa Hotel and the Sunday evening performance became a must for all the local people. How one hundred and fifty to two hundred crammed into the lounge was a mystery but manage it they did. The Show was torn apart and the evening was loud with fun and music. To say that Vic Viggers, Joan Leonard, Jill Alsop, Cyril Eagle, Trevor Dockary, Jock Stevenson, Bob Ross, and many others that should have known better, were taking liberties with the script, would be an under-statement.

Frivs of that era will remember those times with affection and feel privileged to have been there.

Interlocutor and Cornermen.

Again the Frivs were fortunate in having Interlocutors of the calibre of Bert Earney, Bill Quarrie, Bob Ross, Tom Tait, Ted Herniman and Jock Stevenson as ‘centre man’. Cornermen who added lustre to the role were Len Dadson, Don Lipp, Trevor Dockary, Barrie Chittingdon, Cyril Eagle, Bob Ross jnr, Vic Viggers, Norman Etheridge, Dick Prebble, Russell Spencer.

Their quips and gags lifted the old style Minstrel Show along with a zip. The many Minstrel numbers sung by these members were a treat to listen to. It is pleasing to report that many of these numbers were loaned by Rose Mardon, Musical Director and Pianist in earlier times.

Besides the Minstrel Show all took leading parts in the Pantomimes acting perfect foils for Vic Viggers, who played the comedy role in fifteen shows. Many a tale could be told of unrehearsed incidents, and at times, unscripted additions that greatly helped the Show along.

Nor must the lady members of the Company be overlooked. Joan Leonard, who played opposite to Vic Viggers, was again a perfect foil for his comedy and more than held her own, as did Jill Alsop, Margaret Langstone, Dawn Mayo and Jillian Viggers. The Frivs also have to thank Joan Leonard for the dance and ballet routines used in the various shows.

Always a great favourite with audiences was Stella Astwood, whose beautiful voice complemented the Show and was a source of delight. Noeline Leonard and Barbara Welch and the dancers added a distinction to all they were associated in.

Musical Notes on the Orchestra.

The Frivs have always been greatly assisted over the years with orchestras of musical ability. All members contributed of their talents to the success of each production. Musical Directors during these years included Cecily Bromley Hill, Winifred Quarrie, Rose Mardon and Bill Mayo.

The various instruments were represented by the following musicians… Violins: Ted Collier, William Mitchell, George Stuart, Clarinet: Gladys Start, Flute: Alan Clarke, Cedric White, Trumpet: Bert Boston, Trombone: Percy George, Doug Robinson, Bass: Dorothy Smith, Drums and Effects: Jock Seton, Royce Nalder, Jim Hepiri.

Ballet and Dance Movements.

Ballet Mistress: Ivena Pothan, Joan Leonard. Ballet members were drawn from the Circle, this being the type of pattern used in the show during the years. Their names are included in the list of Chorus members.

Page Twenty Nine

1952 – Company in the Pantomime, ‘OLD MOTHER HUBBARD’.


Page Thirty

Members of the Circle to 1957.

Jill Alsop, June Bainbridge, Marie Bush, Doreen Brown, Stella Chambers, Vonda Daniels, Jillian Daniels, Isobel Echold, Dawn Duley, Lorraine Exeter, Maureen Gardiner, Margaret Langstone, Vilma Jones, Joan Leonard, Noeline Leonard, Doris Jensen, Marion McFarland, Janet McLeod, Mona Owen, June Pothan, Pamela Skittrup, Frances Tait, Maureen Thomson, Ngaire Viggers, Diane Yates, Barbara Welch, Merv Batt, Trevor Dockary, K. Donaldson, Bruce Campbell, Morris Campbell, Bill Mayo, Graham Guildford, Noel Owens, Dick Prebble, Keith Richardson, Bob Ross jnr, Ron Sang, Brian Simmonds, Allan Single, Colin Wells, John Williams, Vic Viggers.

Back Stage.

As with most organisations the backstage team is ‘worth their weight in gold’ and the Friv members who attend to this department are no exception. Always unsung, occasionally let it be said – heard. The Frivs are very conscious of the debt they owe to these dedicated members of this period:-
Stage Managers: Lou Hardgrave, the Hardgrave brothers, Russell Spenser, Corbett Whitton, Roy Girling, Brian Viggers, Trevor Atkins, Stage Hands, Electrics and Front of House: Ron Willis, Ian Barber, Stan Smith, Des La Prou, Bill Mardon, Jon Williams, Fred Burton, Scenery: Ian Barber was responsible for many years for the scenery used in the Pantomime. A feature greatly admired each year. He was assisted by designs produced by Fred Burton.

(Courtesy Daily Telegraph Ltd.)
11th November, 1957.

The key to success in any organisation lies in the enthusiasm of its members. It is the key, which, sixty years ago, opened the door on the Napier Frivolity Minstrels and ushered into Hawkes Bay a mode of entertainment the originality of which has not been dulled by the passing of the years. Sixty years, and the sweeping changes in entertainment presentation which they have brought, have in no way detracted from the appeal of the ‘Frivs’.

Over 150 former members of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels sat in the Municipal Theatre on Saturday night to relive for two happy hours their days in the ‘Frivs’ circle. As the 1957 Sixtieth Anniversary Show unfolded, the old troupers gained the assurance that the spirit of the ‘Frivs’ which they had helped to maintain over the years, lives on.

The celebration of their Sixtieth Anniversary on Saturday was for the Napier Frivolity Minstrels a particularly joyous occasion. It came as a toast to themselves by people whose selflessness through the years has been responsible for many thousands of pounds being given to various charity outlets. It was a time to reflect not so much on the happiness which they have brought to others but rather the happiness which, in so doing, they brought to themselves.

Saturday nights presentation of the Show, and a supper celebration afterwards, brought into bold relief the strong ‘family’ bond which may be deduced as perhaps, the secret formula for success which has carried the ‘Frivs’ through sixty years. It was apparent that among the members there was a stronger tie than mere association with a name – rather, a bond of understanding stemming from allegiance to the Company’s motto, ‘We’re all on earth to help others’.

Strong Appeal.

The capacity house which greeted the Napier Frivolity Minstrels on Saturday night demonstrated clearly the public appeal which the show asserts. The reaction of the audience, in fact, demonstrated more than audience appeal something more akin to affection. And it did more than that. The capacity house presented the former members of the company the assurance which they had come long distances to obtain; that the Napier Frivolity Minstrels are still carrying on the tradition of good, healthy entertainment for everyone.

That the people of Napier have not forgotten the ‘Frivs’ of past years was demonstrated when those attending the Jubilee celebrations came once more before the footlights for a brief fleeting moment before Saturday nights performance. As each ex Friv crossed the stage he was greeted enthusiastically by the audience.

Chain of Memories.

A supper on stage after the show linked again a chain of Frivs memories stretching back to before the turn of the century. It provided a time of reminiscence in word and song. Pleasure at seeing so many former members present was expressed by Mr Wally Ireland, President – himself a Friv for over forty years.

Mr Ireland proposed a toast to the former Frivs and in doing so, urged the present members never to lose the spirit of the show and to maintain the high standards of the show entertainment and service which has been set in the past.

Jointly replying to the toast were three ‘Frivs’ old timers – Messrs Herb King, Bert Knox and Charlie Palliser.

Turn of the Century.

Memories of the earliest days were brought back by Mr King when he concluded his reply with a song which brought tears to the eyes of audiences away back in 1898. It was a sentimental song and eighty year old Mr King astonished and delighted the gathering with a voice retaining the lilt and the expression which made him a popular favourite in the day when the Frivs were first finding themselves in public demand.

‘Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy’, was sung by Bert Knox in his reply. It was 1907 and comedian Bert Knox was back before the footlights in Napier’s old Theatre Royal in Tennyson Street. As he sang ‘Hold Your Hand Out’ the audience joined in.

Bert Knox conjured up memories of some other early Friv comedians – Vic Gaffeney, Wattie Allan, Jack Biss, Frank Peat and others. Each in his day was the idol of the audiences with his jokes about the old railway station, ‘them terrible automobiles’.

The enthusiasm of the former members for the present Company’s performance was expressed by Mr Bert Ziegler, that polished Mr Interlocutor of the years that followed the first World War, made one remember those who, over the years had filled the position in the centre of the ‘Frivs’ circle – Charlie Prebble, Pat Murphy, Bill Keen, Harry Sutton, George Bullivant, Bill Quarrie, May MacDonald, Bert Earney, Bob Ross and Ted Herniman.

Old Time Numbers.

Mr Ziegler, too, displayed the richness of his singing voice and his natural flair for comedy when he sang ‘Up From Somerset’ and ‘The Sergeant Major on Parade’ – two songs which set

Page Thirty One

1957 – Napier Frivolity Minstrels, 60th Anniversary, taken at the Sound Shell.

1957 – Napier Frivolity Minstrels, 60th Anniversary.

Page Thirty Two

the audience in Napier’s old Municipal Theatre laughing and stamping in the mid twenties and again at Saturday nights celebrations.

The spotlight was focused on the present company when Mr Sid Henney replied to the toast. Mr Henney, producer of the show and author of the Pantomime, paid tribute to the members of the company, who he said, had worked hard to present a first class show for the Jubilee year. He assured the former members that the 1957 Frivs retained in full the spirit of the Company and appreciated the warm reception which their performance had received.

The spotlight of the present fell, among others on Miss Joan Leonard, Ballet Mistress, who took over the task Miss Ivena Pothan left some three years ago. On Miss Leonard’s shoulders fell the responsibility of the dance and foot movements of the entire performance, and the tributes paid by past members to the smoothness and effectiveness of this phase was her reward.

Frivs for a considerable number of years and still with the Company are Len Dadson (Cornerman and Dame in the Pantomime), and Stella Astwood, whose delightful singing voice has thrilled audiences in Hawkes Bay on a great many occasions.

Memorable Note.

One of his memorable roles in comedy was re-lived when Mr Ireland sang, ‘Nobody Loves a Fairy When She’s Forty’. Mr Ireland’s song took those present back even further to the days of Eric Amner, Jack O’Donoghue, Bert Wilkie, Percy Spiller, Roy Girling, Jack Hawke, Vern McCutcheon and Jim Hamilton, to mention a few. His relationships with the Frivs over forty years was aptly summed up by a speaker at the function who said, ‘He represents enthusiam [enthusiasm] standing on two legs’.

Age had not caught up with the smooth voice of Jack McCarthy, whose singing on Saturday night showed just why he was a popular favourite over years gone by. The falsetto singing of Tom Skittrup and baritone numbers of Eric Poynter represented various periods of the Frivs career.

Playing as accompianist [accompanist] was Jack Colbert, again in a position he occupied for a great many years. Mr Colbert’s remarkable memory for music was displayed when, without hesitation, he accompanied singers for whom he had not played for years.

Record of Service.

In the sixty years, which have passed since the Frivs first took the boards at Eskdale they have played in just about every centre in Hawkes Bay and in many places outside the province. They have gone into work camps and to out of the way villages to give people songs, quips and laughs.

Tribute Paid.

A special tribute to the late Mr S. P. Spiller was paid by the President of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels, Mr W. Ireland, at the Jubilee function on Saturday night.

The late Percy Spiller was one of the original Frivs, and it is largely due to his enthusiasm and guidance up to the time of his death that the company has been so successful. ‘We will always remember him,’ said Mr Ireland.

Further Performances.

The Napier Frivolity Minstrels Show – the Jubilee Show – to be presented again tonight and next Saturday in the Napier Municipal Theatre, will give the people of Napier an opportunity of showing their appreciation of what the Frivs have done for the community. For the Frivs the Napier performances are ‘the big shows’ in their annual season, but they are incidental in the programme of more than twenty performances each year which bring laughter and gaiety to people over the length and breadth of Hawkes Bay


Taupo, as has been stated, was a happy hunting ground for the Frivs. With a fun-loving troupe of Frivs on the lookout for these moments it was only natural that they were found.

One such tale concerns four darky Cornermen who graced the end seats on the Circle. In the early 50’s it was the practice to perform the Minstrel Show to the patrons of the Terraces Hotel first on the Sunday evening, then to move onto the Spa Hotel lounge for another.

The men were “blacked up” and time was becoming a problem as they travelled in haste by small car, dressed in their distinctive Cornermen outfits.

This particular night the car came to halt at the Napier-Taupo turnoff waiting to join the main stream of traffic along the lakefront. Another car drew alongside the Cornermen, who waved to him and attracted his attention. His surprised open-mouthed reaction needed a camera to record the incident for a Frivs scrapbook.

‘Early in the Morning’ parodies over the years have had a chequered career but were always top favourites with the audiences.

On one occasion a certain landmark in the city, then under construction, was dominated by a high crane and the Frivs seized the opportunity with both hands for a natural parody item. A certain gentleman who used a certain hostelry in the city, used a back lane to visit the watering house. The crane, according to the parody, was there for the sole purpose of lifting the said city gentleman to his favourite spot. The audience loved it, and the gentleman, a keen follower of the Frivs, concurred with genuine good humour.

Always a source of wonder to the Frivs was the ability of Jock Stevenson in writing many of the parody verses for the Frivs, but the feat at the Spa Hotel must be his supreme effort. He wrote sixteen parodies for the Saturday night show, then spent half the Sunday afternoon in dreaming up another twenty to thirty verses for the performance on the Sunday night. Truly a meritorious effort.

Frivs luggage for Taupo was always left at the late Jim Etheridge’s cycle shop in Emerson Street, later to be collected by a great supporter of the Frivs – R. H. Pettigrew’s Transport. Len Dadson found on arrival at Taupo, when he came to claim his theatre gear, that he could not lift the case. Opening the bag he found half an axle inside the bag….. we have often wondered who was responsible for the deed….. but most Frivs of that time probably guessed correctly.

Page Thirty Three

A scene from the Pantomime, ‘Billy the Kid’ – 1958 Season
Scenery painted and designed by Ian Barber, built by the Frivs.

Ted Herniman
[Handwritten – Ann Lockwood’s Cornwell Dad ]

Stella Astwood.

Page Thirty Four

Left to Right – Dawn Mayo, Wally Ireland, Jill Alsop, Pam Skittrup, Barbara Welch

Vic Viggers and Ladies of the Chorus.

Page Thirty Five

Pantomime – ‘Magic in the Air’.
left to right – Adrianne Bangs, Vic Viggers, Joan Leonard, Trevor Dockary.

Scenery by Ian Barber.

Page Thirty Six

List of Members.
1951 – 1959
Minstrel Show 1951 Pantomime: Red Riding Hood
Patron: C. H. Wilkie, Playwright: Sid Henney, House Manager: Hector Chapman, Stage Manager: Lou Hardgrave, Secretary: L. V. Wallis, House Manager: Bill Quarrie, Musical Arrangements: E. Collier, Ballet: Ivena Pothan
Bones: Len Dadson, Norm Etheridge, Interlocutor: Bert Earney, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, Don Lipp
Circle: June Pothan, Vilma Jones, Marion MacFarland, June Bainbridge, Maureen Gardiner, Mona Owen, Vonda Daniels, Isobel Echold, Joan Leonard, Vic Viggers, Trevor Dockary, Ron Sang, Bill Mayo, Jock Donaldson, Graham Guildford.
Orchestra: Musical Director Winifred Quarrie, Edward Collier, George Stuart, Alan Clarke, Dorothy Smith, Bert Boston, Percy George, Royce Nalder.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Old Mother Hubbard
President: Wally Ireland, Playwright: Sid Henney Business Managers: W. Quarrie, Russell Spenser (Stage Manager), Corbett Whitton, House Manager: Norm Etheridge, Ballet: Ivena Pothan, Musical Orchestrations: Edward Collier.
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Bill Quarrie, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, Barrie Chittington. Circle: Marie Bush, June Pothan, Marion MacFarland, June Bainbridge, Mona Owen, Dawn Duley, Lorraine Exeter, Vonda Daniels, Isobel Echold, Joan Leonard, Stella Chambers, Vic Viggers, Dick Prebble, Noel Owers, Graham Guildford.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Winifred Quarrie, Edward Collier, George Stuart, Allan Clarke, Dorothy Smith, Bert Boston, Gladys Start, Percy George, Royce Nalder.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Simple Simon
President: Wally Ireland Secretary & Writer: Sid Henney, Producer: Bill Quarrie, Stage Manager: Lou Hardgrave, Stage Assistants: Roy Girling, Ron Willis, Corbett Whitton.
Ballet: Ivena Pothan, Music: Edward Collier, Scenery: Ian Barber and Con Pirie, House Manager: Norm Etheridge.
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Bill Quarrie, Tambos: Don Lipp, Dick Prebble.
Circle: June Pothan, Doreen Brown, Stella Chambers, Doris Jensen, Dawn Duley, Lorraine Exeter, Vonda Daniels, Isobel Echold, Joan Leonard, Mona Owen, Vic Viggers, Bill Mayo, Bruce Campbell, Merv Batt, Brian Simmonds.
Orchestra: Musical Director, Winifred Quarrie, Edward Collier, George Stuart, Cedric White, Alan Clarke, Dorothy Smith, Bert Boston, Gladys Start, Percy George, Jock Seton.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: The Queen of Hearts
President: Wally Ireland, Secretary & Writer: Sid Henney, Stage Manager: Lou Hardgrave, Stage Assistants: R. Girling, Corbett Whitton, Ron Willis, Ian Barber, Brian Viggers, S. Smith, Ballet: Ivena Pothan, Music: Edward Collier, Scenery: Ian Barber, House Manager: N. Etheridge.
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Bob Ross, Tambos: Ivena Pothan, Russell Spencer.
Circle: Vonda Daniels, Jillian Daniels, Dawn Duley, Isobel Echold, Joan Leonard, June Pothan, Ngaire Viggers, Diane Yates, Janet McLeod, Merv Batt, Bruce Campbell, Vic Viggers.
Orchestra: Musical Director, Rose Mardon, Edward Collier, George Stuart, Cedric White, Dorothy Smith, Bert Boston, Gladys Start, Percy George, Jock Seton.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Jack and Jill
President: Wally Ireland, Secretary Producer: Sid Henney, Stage Manager: Lou Hardgrave, Stage Assistants: Roy Girling, Stan Smith, Will Mardon, Ron Willis, Des La Prou, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Scenery: Ian Barber, Ballet: Joan Leonard, Music Arrangements: Edward Collier.
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Ted Herniman, Tambos: Bob Ross, Cyril Eagle.
Circle: Jill Alsop, Stella Chambers, Jillian. Daniela Dawn Duley, Isobel Echold, Joan Leonard, Margaret Langstone, Janet McLeod, Francis Tait, Maureen Thomson, Ngaire Viggers, Diane Yates, Bruce Campbell, Brian Simmonds, Vic Viggers, Colin Wells.
Orchestra: Musical Director, Rose Mardon, Edward Collier, George Stuart, Cedric White, Dorothy Smith, Bert Boston, Gladys Start, Percy George, Jock Seton, Jim Hepiri.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: The Piper’s Son
President: Wally Ireland, Secretary, Producer & Writer: Sid Henney, Stage Manager: Lou Hardgrave, Stage Assistants: Roy Girling, Stan Smith, Ron Willis, Brian Viggers, John Williams, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Music: Edward Collier, Ballet: Joan Leonard.
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Ted Herniman, Tambos: Bob Ross, Cyril Eagle.
Circle: Jill Alsop, Stella Astwood, Jillian Daniels, Lorraine Batt, Joan Leonard, Margaret Langstone, Janet McLeod, Frances Tait, Maureen Thomson, Diane Yates, Bruce Campbell, Morris Campbell, Keith Richardson, Brian Simmonds, Vic Viggers, Colin Wells.
Orchestra: Musical Director, Rose Mardon, Edward Collier, William Mayo, Dorothy Smith, Bert Boston, Percy George, Jock Seton.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Captain Kidd
President: Wally Ireland, Secretary/Producer: Sid Henney, Stage Manager: Lou Hardgrave, Stage Assistants: Roy Girling, S. Smith, Brian Viggers, Trevor Atkins, Sound System: Ron Willis, Des la Prou, Ballet: Joan Leonard, Music: Edward Collier, Scenery: Ian Barber,
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Cyril Eagle, Bob Ross.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Jill Alsop, Joan Leonard, Noeline Leonard, Dawn Mayo, Barbara Welch, Margaret Langstone, Pam Skittrup, Maureen Thomson, Jillian Viggers, Bob Ross jnr, Allan Single, Vic Viggers, Colin Wells, John Williams.
Orchestra: Music Director, Rose Mardon, Edward Collier, William Mitchell, William Mayo, Bert Boston, Alan Clarke, Percy George, Doug Robinson, Dorothy Smith, Jock Seton, Geoff Pell.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Billy the Kid
President: Wally Ireland, Secretary, Writer & Producer: Sid Henney, Stage Managers: Lou Hardgrave & Douglas Hardgrave, Stage Assistants: Stan Smith, Brian Viggers, Don O’Brien, Des McVicor, Bill Mardon, Ballet: Joan Leonard. Sound System: Ron Willis, Des la Prou, John Williams, Music Arrangements: William Mayo, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Scenery: Ian Barber,
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Bob Ross, Bob Ross jnr.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Jill Alsop, Fay Kayser, Lois Kersey, Joan Leonard, Noeline Leonard, Margaret Langstone, Dawn Mayo, Maureen Thomson, Jennifer Wells, Barbara Welch, Trevor Atkins, Graham Harris, Jack McCarthy, Vic Viggers.

Page Thirty Seven

Orchestra: Music Director, Rose Mardon, Violins: E. Collier, W. Mitchell, Cornet: Bert Boston, William Mayo, Trombone: Doug Robinson, Flute: Alan Clarke, Bass: Dorothy Smith, Drums: Jock Seton, Geoff Pell.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: The Shriek of Araby
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Secretary, Producer & Writer: Sid Henney, Producer (Minstrel Show): Jock Stevenson, Ballet: Joan Leonard, Stage Manager: Doug Hardgrave, Costumes: Joan Leonard & Jill Alsop, Stage Assistants: Brian. Viggers, Stan Smith, Don O’Brien, Des McVicor, Bill Mardon, the Hardgrave Brothers, Sound: Ron Willis and Max West, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Scenery: Ian Barber.
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Vic Viggers, Bob Ross.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Jill Alsop, Adrianne Bangs, Alison Gibson, Fay Kayser, Joy Kayser, Lois Kersey, Margaret Langstone, Margaret Kersey, Joan Leonard, Noeline Leonard, Dawn Mayo, Jennifer Wells, Barbara Welch, Trevor Atkins, Graham Harris, Alan Hall, Peter Kellond.
Orchestra: Music Director, Rose Mardon, Edward Collier, William Mitchell, S. Boston, William Mayo, Doug Robinson, Cedric White, Alan Clarke, Dorothy Smith, Drums: Jock Seton. Geoff Pell.


Background of the 1957 – 1971 Years

The years of this period of ‘Frivs’ history are ones of stable membership with a show personnel at a constant “high” talent wise. The advent of television cast gathering shadows on the horizon, but the intensity of this problem was yet to be realised. The pattern of Production continued in the now established form of Minstrel Show and Pantomime/Musical Comedy

Southern, Central and Northern Hawkes Bay remained the principle areas on the Frivs itinerary with outside performances given at Waiouru, Gisborne, Wairoa, Taupo, Rotorua and Masterton.

Provincial visits were made to towns and village areas long associated with the Company. Dannevirke, Waipukurau, Pukeora Sanatorium and Home for the Disabled, Tikokino, Onga Onga, Waipawa, Otane, Takapau, Elsthorpe, Hastings, Twyford, Havelock North, Haumoana, Fernhill, Raupunga Te Pohue, Tutira, Westshore, Eskdale, Taradale, Meeanee, to mention but a few.

Up to and including the early 60’s, two performances were played at the Napier Soundshell during the Christmas period and the New Year. The visits to outlying North Island towns were to assist schools and other charitable organisations. Taupo continued until 1966 to be the venue for the Labour Day weekend, with the Frivs all staying at the Spa Hotel, giving two performances – one at the War Memorial Hall in town, and the other at the Spa in the lounge on the Sunday evening. With the increasing costs, and tour promoters taking up the Labour Day weekend accommodation a change was imminent – when it came the Frivs tried out a new area – that of Rotorua.

Audiences varied as the force of television attracted people away from the “flesh and blood” entertainment, but like that famous theatre of wartime England – the Windmill, we never closed but continued to battle until in later years the pendulum began its swing back to the live theatre.

Interlocutors and Cornermen.

Here once again the Frivs were fortunate in the calibre of the personalities who undertook these exacting roles. Mr Interlocutor was played by Ian Connell and Dick Wood, but, with the majority of shows going to Jock Stevenson during this time. The 75th Jubilee Show saw Dick Wood as Mr Interlocutor.

Cornermen during this decade were some of the best that had been seen. Performers included Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Bob Ross, Bob Ross jnr. Vic Viggers, Janet Stevenson, Adrianne Bangs, Trevor Atkins, Sid Hardgrave, Roger Williams, Neil Faulknor. All in the best tradition of the craft.

‘Frivs’ Musical Directors and Members.

The Frivs Orchestra continued to play a very important role in each Production and many of its members had given years of service to the Company. With the advent of late night hotel hours and the demand for professional bands in the bar facilities, the loyalty of these musicians to the Company was highly valued. Lists of names appear in the lists of cast elsewhere in chronological form.

Musical Directors were as follows:- Rose Mardon, William Mayo, Cecil Fitzwater, Roy Robinson, Hector Norrie, Nola Atkins.

The Production side of the Frivs during these years was in the hands of the following members:-

Minstrel Show Section.
1958   Sid Henney   1959 – 1966   Jock Stevenson
1967   Sid Henney   1968 – 1971   Shirley Hanley
Pantomime/Variety Section.
1958 – 1965   Sid Henney   1966   Jock Stevenson
1967 – 1968   Sid Henney   1970 – 1971   Shirley Hanley

Ballet and Dance Routines: These were developed and produced by Joan Leonard and Shirley Hanley, who greatly added to the success of the shows.

Stage Managers, Wardrobe etc. The efforts of the Backstage team are important to the successful running of the shows. Friv members who contributed to this section were Doug Hargrave, Joan Leonard, Jill Alsop, Ian Barber, Brian Viggers, Elizabeth Johnson, Joan Colwell, Alan Johnson, Harry Koefoed, Fay Rogers, Norman Etheridge.

Members List.

Members of the Circle, Front and Back Stage personnel are to be found in the Lists of Members of the Company elsewhere in the history, compiled from programmes of the years concerned.

Thanks of the ‘Frivs’.

The Frivs would like to record their thanks to friends in the Taupo area and elsewhere as follows:-
Jim and Eunice Birnie and family, the Taupo School Committee, the M. E. D. men for lighting the various shows, Keith Christiansen, the late Charles Leslie, the Taupo Volunteer Firemen. The late ‘Bomba’ Bauumberg. The many Taupo friends who took the Frivs on many visits …… to the ‘wild bore’, Geothermal fearsome wonders, Fletchers Mill, trips of the lake and other venues.

To all Taupo friends who made the visits of the 50’s and 60’s truly……. ‘the Oasis of the Year’.

Page Thirty Eight

Members of the Backstage Team who gave sterling work during the 1960’s and Early 1970’s.

Ballet group.
left to right: Annette McCutcheon, Beverley Layton, Julienne Owen, Jacki West, Jill Alsop

Page Thirty Nine

List of Members – 1960 – 1971

Minstrel Show Musical: ‘Call Me Colonel’
President: Wally Ireland Minstrel Show Producer: Jock Stevenson, Hon. Sec/Producer Musical: Sid Henney, Ballet: Joan Leonard, Stage Manager: D. Hardgrave, Wardrobe: Jill Alsop, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Scenery: Ian Barber, Vocal Arrangements: Roland Lavin, Sound: Max West and Ron Willis, Lighting: David Curtis, Costume Designs: Derek Oliphert, Stage Assistants: Brian Viggers, Don O‘Brien, Des McVicar, Stan Smith, the Hardgrave Brothers.
Bones: Len Dadson, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Vic Viggers, Bob Ross.
Circle: Margaret Atkins, Adrianne Bangs, Alison Gibson, Fay Kayser, Margaret Kersey, Joan Leonard, Noeline Leonard, Janet Stevenson, Barbara Welch, Jennifer Woolf, Jill O’Brien, Trevor Atkins, John Calnan, Alan Hall, Ron Hall, Alan Single, Peter Kellond.
Orchestra – Musical Director: William Mayo, Pianist: Linton Bond, E. Collier, George Stuart, William Mitchell, Stuart Boston, Doug Robinson, Cedric White, Pat Jones-Clifford, Dorothy Smith, Roland Lavin, Drums: Jock Seton, Geoff Pell.

Minstrel Show Musical: Magic in the Air
President: Wally Ireland Producer Minstrel Show: Jock Stevenson, Hon. Sec and Producer: (Musical) Sid Henney, Ballet: Joan Leonard, Wardrobe: Jill Alsop, Stage Manager: Doug Hardgrave, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Scenery: Ian Barber, Sound: Max West, Ray Single, Costume Designs: Derek Oliphert, Vocal Arrangements: Roland Lavin, Stage Assistants: Brian Viggers, Don O’Brien, Des McVicar, the Hardgrave Brothers.
Bones: Trevor Dockary, Bob Ross jnr, Adrianne Bangs, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Vic Viggers, Bob Ross snr. Janet Stevenson.
Circle: Lorraine Bennett, Vicky Dunbar, Alison Gibson, Margaret Kersey, Joan Leonard, Annette McCutcheon, Margaret Mooney, Jill O’Brien, Julienne Owen, Rachel Pretious, Jennifer Woolf, Trevor Atkins, Ron Hall, Ted Gardiner, Peter Kellond, Wilson McIntyre, Don Stuart.
Orchestra: Musical Director: William Mayo, Pianist: Linton Bond, Edward Collier, George Stuart, William Mitchell, Stuart Boston, Doug Robinson, Pat Jones- Clifford, Drums: Geoff Pell, Jock Seton.

Time for a Smile.
Rastus: Do you know, Mr Interlocutor. A marriage is like a three ring circus
Interlocutor: How do you make that out, Mr Rastus?
Rastus: Mr Interlocutor, First there’s the engagement ring, then the wedding ring……..
Interlocutor: But that’s only two rings, Mr Rastus
Rastus: The ‘suffer-ring’ comes later, Mr Interlocutor.

Minstrel Show Musical: ‘Corn off the Cob’
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Sec. & Producer (Panto), Sid Henney, Producer Minstrel Show: Jock Stevenson, Ballet: Shirley Hanley, Music & Chorus Work: Cecil Fitzwater, Chorus Assistance: J. Stevenson, Costume: Jill Alsop, Scenery: Ian Barber, Stage Managers: Doug Hardgrave, Brian Viggers, Programme Cover: Fred Burton.
Bones: Trevor Dockary, Trev Atkins, Janet Stevenson, Interlocutor: Tom Tait, Tambos: Vic Viggers, Bob Ross, Adrianne Bangs.
Circle: Shirley Briggs, Lorraine Bennett, Janice Blair, Vicky Dunbar, Margaret Mooney, Damaris McConnell, Bernice McConnell, Annette McCutcheon, Margaret Plunkett, Edrienne Tanzer, Pamela Walker, Jill O’Brien, Julienne Owen, Ted Gardiner, Wilson McIntyre, Alan Single, Don Stuart, Tony Yates.
Sound: Kay Single, Max West, Prompt: Fay Rogers, Make Up: Joan Colwell, Elizabeth Johnson, Front of House: Alan Rogers, Lighting: Ken Kite, Backstage: Alan Johnson, Ron Willis.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Cecil Fitzwater, Pianist: Linton Bond, Stuart Elton, George Stuart, Stuart Boston, Doug Robinson, William Mayo, Leon Speakman, Pat Jones-Clifford, Drums: J. Seton and Geoff Pell.

Minstrel Show Musical, ‘Happydaze’
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Sec/Producer (Panto): Sid Henney, Producer Minstrel Show: Jock Stevenson, Ballet: Shirley Hanley, Costume: Jill O’Brien, Scenery: Ian Barber, House Manager: Norm Etheridge.
Bones: Trev Dockary, Trev Atkins, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Vic Viggers, Bob Ross.
Circle: Adrianne Bangs, Vicky Dunbar, Sylvia Kellond, Jill O’Brien, Julienne Owen, Damaris McConnell, Bernice McConnell, Annette McCutcheon, Yvonne Skinner, Janet Stevenson, Helen Winter, Diane Wharton, Edwin Brown, Jack Crisp, Ted Gardiner, Peter Kellond, Wilson McIntyre, Murray Nattrass, Don Stuart, Brian Stevenson.
Orchestra, Musical Director: Cecil Fitzwater, Pianist: Winston Foster, Stuart Elton, George Stuart, Stuart Boston, Douglas Robinson, William Mayo, Cliff Jones, Leon Speakman, Patricia Jones, Drums: Geoff Pell, Jock Seton.
Backstage Stage Managers: Doug Hardgrave, Brian Viggers, House Manager: Norm Etheridge, Make Up: Joan Colwill, Elizabeth Johnson, Prompt: Fay Rogers, Front of House: Alan Rogers, Backstage Assistants: Alan Johnson, Ron Willis, Stan Smith, Lighting: Ken Kite, Sound: Ray Single, Ken Kite.

Just for Laugh.
Mr Interlocutor: Mr Tambo. Don’t you know that when you’re out driving you should always give half the road to a lady driver.
Mr Tambo: Dat’s all very well, Mr Interlocutor, when I knows which side of dat road she wants.

Minstrel Show Musical: Let’s go Sailing
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Sec, Producer: (Panto) Sid Henney, Minstrel Producer: J. Stevenson, Ballet: Shirley Hanley, Wardrobe: Jill O’Brien, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Stage Managers: D. Hardgrave, Brian Viggers, Scenery: Ian Barber, Prompt: Fay Rogers, Sound: Ray Single, K. Kite, Make Up: J. Colwill, Elizabeth Johnson, Backstage: Alan Johnson, Ron Willis, Alan Rogers.
Bones: T. Dockary, T. Atkins, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Vic Viggers, Bob Ross.
Circle: Adrianne Bangs, Janet Rigby, Helen Winter, Zoe Bradwell, Jenny Stephens, Caroline Dalton, Nola Russell, Jeanette Hardgrave, Valancy Mooney, Margaret McTavish, Janice Blair, Anne Shirley, Ted Gardiner, Wilson McIntyre, Brian Stevenson, Murray Nattrass, Ed Bailey, Lin Stewart.
Orchestra: (Musical Director Cecil Fitzwater, Pianist: Maree Murray, Stuart Elton, George Stuart, Pat Jones, Alan Clarke, Stuart Boston, Clifford Jones, G. Pawson, Ross Rundle, William Mayo, Doug Robinson, Eric Rouse, Leon Speakman, Drums: Geoff Pell.

Page Forty

Dick Wood (Mr Interlocutor) and Cornermen.
[Handwritten – Ian Barber, Don McNab, (Artists)]

Ian Connell (Mr Interlocutor) and Men of the Circle.

Page Forty One

Minstrel Show Musical: Down Fiesta Way.
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Sec. Producer: (Panto) Sid Henney, Minstrel Producer: Jock Stevenson, Ballet: Shirley Hanley, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Stage Managers: D. Hardgrave, Brian Viggers, Wardrobe: Joan Colwill, Elizabeth Johnson, Prompt: Fiona Stevenson, Stage Assistants Lights: Ray Single and Ken Kite, Backstage: Alan Johnson, Alan Rogers, Ron Willis.
Bones: T. Dockary, T. Atkins, Interlocutor: Jock Stevenson, Tambos: Janet Rigby, Bob Ross.
Circle: Pat Affleck, Stella Astwood, Jeanette Hardgrave, Karen Hague. Annette McCutcheon, Valancy Mooney, Judith Jarvis, Christine Sharp, Nola Russell, Jenny Stephens, Helen Winter, Ted Gardiner, Karl Jamieson, Richard Manning, Murray Nattrass, Brian Stevenson. Lin Stewart. Dancers: Jacqualine Graham, Bev Layton, Julienne Owen, Judy Tarplett, Jackie West.
Orchestra Musical Director: Cecil Fitzwater, Pianist: Betty Hague, George Stuart, Stuart Elton, Alan Clarke, Stuart Boston, Pat Jones, Doug Robinson, Leon Speakman, John Sutton, Dave Kitt, Drums: Johnny Hale.

Smile a While.
Life is divided into two parts. Some of us are in the swim and the rest in the soup.

Minstrel Show Musical: Krazidayes [Krazidaze] (Old Time)
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Sec. Sid Henney, Producer: Jock Stevenson, Ballet: Shirley Hanley, Musical Director: Cecil Fitzwater, Scenery: Ian Barber, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Stage Managers: Doug Hardgrave and Brian Viggers, Sound and Lighting: Ray Single and Ken Kite, Wardrobe: Elizabeth Johnson, Joan Colwill, Backstage: Alan Johnson.
Bones: Trev Dockary, Jock Stevenson, Interlocutor: Ian Connell, Tambos: Sid Hardgrave, Bob Ross.
Circle: Jeanette Hardgrave, Stella Astwood, Kerry Black, Janice Blair, Jenny Daily, Barbara Eliott, Marion George, Helen Winter, Valancy Stent, Christine Sharp, Jenny Stephens, Lorraine Ulyatt, Jackie West, Jacqualine Graham, Joy Misken, Pat Affleck, Ted Gardiner, Carl Jamieson, Richard Manning, Tom Taylor, Roger Williams.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Cecil Fitzwater, Pianist: Betty Hague, Stuart Elton, George Stuart, Alan Clarke, Pat Jones, Dave Kitt, Stuart Boston, Roy Robinson, Leon Speakman, Doug Robinson, John Hale.

Minstrel Show: Variety: Country Kapers (Concert)
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Sec. Sid Henney, Musical Director: William Mayo, House Manager: N. Etheridge, Ballet: Shirley Hanley, Stage Manager: Alan Johnson, Stage Assistant: Alan Rogers, Wardrobe: Elizabeth Johnson, Joan Colwill, Sound: Peter Single, Ray Single, Lights: Ken Kite, Producer (Minstrel Show) Sid Henney, Producer (Country Kapers) Ian Connell and Shirley Hanley.
Bones: Trev Dockary, Roger Williams, Interlocutor: Ian Connell, Tambos: Sid Hardgrave, Bob Ross.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Karyn Briggs, Kerry Black, Jenny Daily, Gaye Donnelly, Marion George, Jeanette Hardgrave, Elizabeth Lothian, Janice Martin, Melda Nicholson, Dianne Nicholson, Shirley Symons, Lorraine Ulyatt, Russell Broyden, Rodney Davy, John Ferguson, David McNiven, Ross Weber, Neil Faulknor.
Orchestra: Musical Director: William Mayo, Pianist: Betty Hague, George Stuart, Stuart Elton, Pat Jones, Alan Clarke, Gerry Pawson, Doug Robinson, Leon Speakman, Roy Robinson, Keith Jennings, Drums: Johnny Hale and Maurice Bartlett.

Ghostly Chuckles.
Mr Bones: Mr Interlocutor! Have you ever wondered how ghosts can manage to get through closed doors.
Interlocutor: I’ve often wondered how they do that, Mr Bones.
Mr Bones: Dat’s easy, Mr Interlocutor. They use skeleton keys.

Minstrel Show: Musical: Way Out West
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Sec. /Producer (Panto) Sid Henney, Minstrel Show Producer: Shirley Hanley, Ballet: Shirley Hanley, Musical Director: Roy Robinson, Stage Manager: Alan Johnson, Stage Assistants: Gary Smith, Alan Rogers, Snow Rayner, Selwyn Wakefield, Sound System: Ray Single, Peter Single, Wardrobe and Make Up: Elizabeth Johnson, Joan Colwill, House Manager: Norm Etheridge.
Bones: Bob Ross, Trevor Dockary, Interlocutor: Ian Connell, Tambos: Roger Williams, Sid Hardgrave.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Jenny Cusdin, Jenny Daily, Linda Gardiner, Denise Gardiner, Julienne Owen, Gael Single, Cheryl Single, Judy Souter, Diana Selby, Heather Simkin, Judy Tarplett, Christine Trevor, Lorraine Ulyatt, John Ferguson, Neil Faulknor, Richard Manning, David McNiven, Michael Smith, Ross Weber.
Orchestra: (Musical Director) Roy Robinson, George Stuart, Stuart Elton, John de la Haye, Doug Robinson, Alan Clarke, Phil Jennings, Leon Speakman, Pianist: Bon Cox, Drums: Johnny Hale, Maurice Bartlett.

Minstrel Show Musical: Arabian Kapers
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Secretary: Sid Henney, Minstrel Show Producer: Shirley Hanley, Panto Producer: Ian Connell. Musical Director: Hector Norrie, Pianist: Nola Atkins, Wardrobe Mistress: Elizabeth Johnson, House Manager: Norm Etheridge.
Bones: Bob Ross, Trev Dockary, Interlocutor: Ian Connell, Tambos: Roger Williams, Sid Hardgrave.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Jenny Cusdin, Denise Gardiner, Colleen Gray, Diane Joll, Juliet Power, Helen Snadden, Judy Souter, Clare Truman, Russell Broyden, John Ferguson, Neil Faulknor, Ted Gardiner, Richard Manning, David McNiven, Michael Smith, Richard Shadbolt, Ross Weber.
Dancers: Wendy Atkins, Julienne Owen, Jan Streeter, Cheryl Single, Gael Single, Christine Trevor, Judy Tarplett.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Hector Norrie, Pianist: Nola Atkins, Alan Clarke, John de la Haye, Jack Butler, Keith Jennings, Edward Collier, George Stuart, Roy Robinson, Maurice Bartlett, Leon Speakman.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Alan Johnson, Assistants: Alan Rogers, Gary Smith, Harry Koefoed, Kerry Single, Ray Single, ’Snow’ Rayner, Selwyn Wakefield, Jane Geddis, Elizabeth Johnson, Joan Colwill, Peter Single.

Merry Moment.
The last number she sang was called ‘I forgot to switch off the electric blanket and now I‘m the toast of the town.

Minstrel Show Variety: Those Were the Days
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Secretary: Sid Henney, Producer, (Minstrel Show & Second Half) Shirley Hanley, Pianist & Arranger: Nola Atkins, Musical Director: H. Norrie, Wardrobe: Elizabeth Johnson, Stage Manager: Alan Johnson, House Manager: Norm Etheridge.

Page Forty Two

Bones: Bob Ross, Trev Dockary, Interlocutor: Dick Wood, Tambos: Roger Williams, Neil Faulknor.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Diane Joll, Pam Mellor, Janice Millwym, Clare Manning, Helen Snadden, Judith Sykes, Gaynor Taylor, Corrie Taylor, Ross Alexander, Phillip Anderson, John Ferguson, Murray Owen, Gary Smith, Richard Shadbolt.
Ballet: Wendy Atkins, Julienne Owen, Jan Streeter, Cheryl Single, Gael Single, Christine Trevor, Judy Anderson.
Orchestra: (Musical Director) H. Norrie, Pianist & Arranger: Nola Atkins, George Stuart, Edward Collier, Alan Clarke, Cliff Howell, Maurice Bartlett, Jack Butler, Arthur Buckley, John de la Haye, Roy Robinson, Assistant Pianist: Mrs Shirley Bell, Michael Simkin, Keith Jennings, Leon Speakman.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Alan Johnson, Sid Hardgrave, Alan Rogers, Peter Single, Harry Koefoed, Fay Rogers, ’Snow’ Rayner, Elizabeth Johnson, Kerry Single, Ray Single, Joan Colwill, Michael Smith.

75th Anniversary Show
Minstrel Show Musical: Jubilee Daze
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Secretary: Sid Henney, Ballet & Producer: Shirley Jarrett, Musical Director: Hector Norrie, Pianist & Arranger: Nola Atkins, Stage Manager: Alan Johnson, Wardrobe: Elizabeth Johnson, House Manager: Norm Etheridge, Assistant Pianist: Shirley Bell, Programme Cover: Ian Mills.
Bones: Roger Williams, Trev Dockary, Interlocutor: Dick Wood, Tambos: Neil Faulknor, Bob Ross.
Circle: Fiona Astwood, Stella Astwood, Kay Edmundsen, Lynette Foster, Dianne Joll, Pam Mellor, Clare Manning, Sue Mellor, Helen Snadden, Judy Sykes, Gaynor Taylor, Corrie Taylor, Janice Williams, Phillip Anderson, Steve Cochrane, John Ferguson, Pat Horgan, David McNiven, Murray Owen, Michael Smith, Richard Shadbolt.
Ballet: Wendy Atkins, Gael Single, Judy Anderson, Cheryl Single, Anne Bradley, Jan Streeter, Kay Stevenson, Christine McNiven.
Orchestra: Director, Alan Norrie, Pianist & Arranger: Nola Atkins, Assistant Pianist: Shirley Bell, Edward Collier, George Stuart, Alan Lang, Keith Jennings, Alan Clarke, John de la Haye, Jack Butler, Arthur Buckley, Michael Simkin, Maurice Bartlett, Cliff Howell, John Hale, Leon Speakman, Roy Robinson.
Stage Manager: Alan Johnson, Assistant Stage Manager: Harry Koefoed, Joan Colwill, Elizabeth Johnson, Fay Rogers, Ray Single, Colin Goble, Richard Manning, Peter Single, ‘Snow’ Rayner, Sid Hardgrave, Arthur Bluck, Alan Rogers.


In the early 1960’s for a number of years the Frivs held a performance as part of the Mardi Gras; this during the Christmas and New Year period. The Minstrel Show was presented in the Sound Shell and frequently performed to audiences of between one thousand and two thousand and was well received by holiday makers to Napier. Prices were 2/- for adults and 1/- for children. These shows were eventually discontinued with a changing pattern being adopted by the Napier Development Association – entertainment being provided more by professional touring New Zealand artists.

Alan Clarke, orchestra member of many years, was often heard relating the accident in the Motu Gorge in the following fashion … “the vehicle rolled down the near vertical hillside and came to rest one hundred feet down the bank. It was a very rocky slope and l escaped injury by clinging to a fern stump twenty feet further down. When asked by a voice above how I was, I replied ’One Hundred Per Cent’ …. the nickname has stayed with me all through the years.

Wairoa has been visited by the Frivs on numerous occasions but for one male member, one occasion was more memorable than most. The Company had been billeted in a stable and slept on straw palliasses and various insects. Our Friv member decided to sleep outdoors on the decking of a motor truck. His sleep was disturbed when he found himself being driven away in the direction of Waikaremoana in the early hours of the morning.


Fay Rogers – present Secretary and long serving member of twenty years.
The Frivs have had a variety of homes in their progress since 1897. First rehearsals were held in the barber saloon of Mr Lou Freedman’s shop, followed by the Oddfellows Hall in Milton Road, then came the use of the Napier Thirty Thousand Clubroom, not forgetting a period in the Napier Working Men‘s Club – now the Cosmopolitan Club.

It was during the time in the Napier Thirty Thousand Club that records and other valuable documents were destroyed as a result of the 1931 Earthquake and Fire.

In the early 1950’s the Napier City Council made available the old Library building in Waghorne Street, Ahuriri, and for quite a few years this served as a headquarters for the Company. Next came the use of the Napier intermediate School Hall – offered in gratitude for assistance given to the School by the Frivs. This was recorded in the Minutes of the School.

1972 saw the purchase of the old Buffalo Hall in Waghorne Street, Ahuriri, and much hard work by a dedicated team of Friv members changed the old building into a comfortable Headquarters. Here rehearsals and social activities, as well as storage of equipment fills the immediate needs of the Company.

Memories contributed by Edith Ferguson (Annan).

The highlight of my time with the Frivs (about 1942-1944) was our annual trip to Taupo at the Labour Day weekend where we used to stay at the Spa Hotel. We travelled by bus and at that time the buses were very wide vehicles seating about four to five on one long seat with one door to each seat. The trip taking about four hours, and quite a few of us were always sick.

At that time Wally Ireland had a ‘harem’ (in the literal sense) of about five or six girls from the circle and photographs were numerous with Wally posing with his harem. On one trip I remember performing at the Spa Hotel lounge one night, when, as always, the “House-Full” sign was being displayed. On this particular occasion Tom Skittrup, one of the Company was dressed as the Head Harem lady in the Pantomime. He wore flimsy trousers and brief top and was supposed to move across the stage but stayed where he was. Percy Spiller said to him afterwards, ’Why didn’t you go across to the other side?’ Said Tommy, ‘I’d forgotten to put on my underpants. That’s why I had to stay on the cushion until the end of the Scene.’

There is a saying in the Company ‘Once a Friv, always a Friv.’ Renewing my acquaintance after a lapse of thirty years as has happened in my case, emphasizes this truth. It is a pleasure to be welcomed back once more and enjoy the fellowship and make friendships with newer and younger members of the Company.

Page Forty Three

75th Ballet Team.
left to right: J. Anderson, Anne Bradley, Jan Streeter, Wendy Atkins, Cheryl Single, Christine McNiven, Gael Single, Kay Stevenson.

75th Backstage Team.
left to right: back – R. Single, C. Goble, R. Manning, P. Single, ‘Snow’ Rayner, S. Hardgrave, A. Bluck, A. Rogers.
front: – H. Koefoed, J. Colwill, Elizabeth Johnson, F. Rogers, A. Johnson.

Page Forty Four

A Place for Rehearsals.

Wishing to have a home of the Frivs own has been a long time reaching fruition but this history must record one earlier attempt to provide this. In 1963 Jock Stevenson, then a Committee member went into the matter on behalf of the Committee of those days. Plans were made and the site suggested was in the Onekawa Industrial area and would cost about £4,000. Jock Stevenson went to Wellington to interview the Hon. Leon Goetz, then internal Affairs Minister, with a request for financial assistance and as result of the interview the Frivs were informed the request had been favourably received. The request was handed to the Arts Advisory Board, then to the newly formed Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. After a considerable time the answer came back – a decided NO.

In the early 1970’s the result, mainly through the efforts of a new era of Frivs, dedicated to providing a home, had a happier conclusion. Great use has been made of the building since this time, to the extent that it is difficult for newer members to imagine the problems encountered by the lack of facilities of our own in earlier years.

Courtesy Napier Daily Telegraph Ltd
13th – 16th November, 1971.

Havelock North eighty nine year old, Mr Bill Hyslop, last night stood as the symbol of the 75th year of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels.

More than three hundred past and present members of the Frivs acknowledged Mr Hyslop as the oldest member of the Company attending the Anniversary dinner in the Napier War Memorial Hall. As he left the hall a little early the gathering rose to sing ‘He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’. Mr Hyslop stood silent with head bowed as he listened to the tribute. He waved a friendly farewell as he left.

Mr Hyslop, who joined the Frivs somewhere between 1903-1906 was on his way home early so that he would be in ’fighting trim’ for further celebrations today.

Today the Frivs marked the 75th Anniversary at a special Marineland performance in the morning and tonight will present their current production – ‘Jubilee Daze’.

75th Jubilee Dinner Report.

The Mayor of Napier, Mr Peter Tait, told the dinner gathering that the Frivs had become an institution in the City with a record of which they could be very proud.

He paid tribute to the contribution made by the late Mr Percy Spiller and the President, Mr Wally Ireland.

Other brief speeches of welcome were given by the Mayor of Hastings, Mr Ron Giorgi, and the Member for Napier, Mr Gordon Christie.

Toasts were proposed by prominent members of the past and present. Mr H.K. Stevenson was toastmaster and Mr Ireland delivered the Official welcome.

A feast of Music Hall entertainment at its lively best. That was the Napier Frivolity Minstrels Anniversary Production of ‘Jubilee Daze’.

Before a capacity house in the Napier Municipal Theatre on Saturday night the Frivs turned on a performance that was a credit to all who were involved. Bubbling over with vitality from curtain rise to fall was three hours of action packed singing and dancing in the Friv tradition.

The Show was notable for its warmth and fervour of the participants and the appreciation of their efforts by the audience, particularly those who had themselves been Frivs in their younger days.

Production Highlights: One of the highlights was the London Music Hall switch segment which included the ever popular ‘Let‘s All Go To The Music Hall’, ‘Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner’ and ‘Sunday Morning On Petticoat Lane’.

Solos by Stella Astwood who sang ’The Impossible Dream’ and David McNiven singing ’New World In The Morning’. Overall, ’Jubilee Daze’ is sparkling, light entertainment and a worthy tribute to those who helped the Frivs build into the effervescent group they are.

The Show was produced by Shirley Jarrett who joined the Frivs in 1962. Her first complete production was last year and before that she had been responsible for the Ballets and Production of the Musical Show. She was assisted by Sid Henney.

Others involved in the Production work were Nola Atkins, (Musical Arranger and Pianist), Alan Johnson (Stage Manager), Shirley Bell (Assistant Pianist), Hector Norrie (Musical Director), Elizabeth Johnson (Wardrobe) and Sid Henney (Patter and Jokes).

Dick Wood played the key role of Mr Interlocutor, and it was he and the four Cornermen, Roger Williams, (Mr Sambo), Neil Faulknor (Rastus), Trevor Dockary (Mr Bones) and Bob Ross (Moses) who provided the lighter, humorous side of the Tradition.

Mr Interlocutor also sang ‘The Hiking Song’ solo and later accompanied Stella Astwood in the delightful number from Brigadoon – ‘The Heather on the Hill’.

Circle Members: Members of the Frivs Jubilee Year Show company were Fiona Astwood, Stella Astwood, Kay Edmundsen, Lynette Foster, Diane Joll, Pam Mellor, Clare Manning, Sue Mellor, Helen Snadden, Judy Sykes, Gaynor Taylor, Corrie Taylor, Janice Williams, Phillip Anderson, Steve Cochrane, John Ferguson, Pat Horgan, David McNiven, Murray Owen, Michael Smith, Richard Shadbolt.

The complete Ballet consisted of Wendy Atkins, Gael Single, Judy Anderson, Cheryl Single, Anne Bradley, Jan Streeter, Christine McNiven.


For the past thirty years Stella Wood’s (Chambers) contribution to the Frivs has been of immense value. Her beautiful singing voice has provided many outstanding songs to a list of programmes stretching back to 1941.

Her liking for the Viennese melodies, and songs with a lilt have resulted innumerable times in show stopping ovations. Her ability in duet numbers has been another bonus for the Frivs.

She has been a member of the Frivs Committee and for a time was Treasurer for the Organisation.

The following is a contribution by Stella to add to the memory section of this history: –
Early in 1941 Percy Spiller telephoned my mother to ask if she would permit her daughter to join the Frivs. She was swayed by his eloquence when he assured her that he would look after me as if I were his own daughter. My memories of my early days with the Company are of meeting and knowing some of the nicest girls and men who have remained my closest friends to this day.

Page Forty Five

The Napier Frivolity Minstrels 75th Orchestra is waiting…
[Handwritten – Photo reversed, 1971]

All that is needed is the Frivs to arrive.

Page Forty Six

One memory to recall is how fortunate I was to be able to go with the Frivs to Christchurch in 1951 for the Canterbury Centennial season from the 8th January to the 13th of the same month. We performed ‘Cinderella’ in the Civic Theatre, a lovely theatre to perform in and we also enjoyed the up to date facilities such as showers off the dressing rooms with lashings of hot water to wash off the leg paint and make up. It was quite a chore putting on and removing so we were greatly appreciative of the showers.

We didn’t play to packed houses but I think it was because the Kiwi Concert Party had extended their season that week and let’s face it – they were most professional. But despite this we didn’t do too badly.

Frivs have been very much a part of my life and if I had the last thirty years to live over again I couldn’t think of any other organisation I would rather belong to.
Stella Wood.


Vic Viggers, well known comedian for some fifteen years with the Frivs in the period from the 1940’s to the mid 1960’s could always be counted upon to come up with an original idea. As a dustman, complete with rubbish tin, he gave a comedy turn that always brought ‘the house down’.

Playing at the Spa Hotel one night he met his Waterloo when members of the backstage caught a wild cat and placed it inside the tin. It was not until Vic Viggers removed the dustbin lid to take out some props for his act and the cat leapt high in the air, that he had any idea of the joke played on him. For once the popular comedian was at a loss for words.

Taupo’s host at the Spa Hotel, Mr Jim Birnie with Mrs Birnie and family made the Frivs very welcome at each Labour Day weekend. The second show on the Sunday night was always played in the Spa Lounge. This historical building with its Maori carvings somehow held the one hundred and fifty Taupo-ites that crammed into it, threatening the carved poles that held up the ornamental roof. On one particular occasion a sudden surge from the audience caused a pole to move. Jim saw the danger just in time, and for the rest of the evening he held firm the decorated support pole, standing with his arms clasped around it in loving embrace.

1957 saw the Pantomime ‘Captain Kidd’. A story of pirates, lost treasure and cannibals.

Cornerman Cyril Eagle playing the role of the Native Witch Doctor. A fearsome character in appearance and carrying an equally fearsome spear.

When performing at Waipawa in the Town Hall he placed the spear on the stage floor preparatory to making his entrance on stage. Once again the backstage team had other ideas and decided to nail the spear to the floor of the stage. This they did with almost disastrous consequences …. the spear bent like a bow in a half circle and the fearsome Witch Doctor was almost catapulted into orbit.

The backstage were only slightly deflated but the humorous tale has grown into Friv folklore and is now listed in the unrehearsed incident section.

It has been estimated that during the past eighty five years playing for schools and various charities, the Frivs have raised $300, 000 or more. This amount can only be an approximation with early records being destroyed.

The money was often used by the School Committees for equipment and prizes for the school children. It once helped to provide a swimming pool for a country area. It is on record that the Frivs in earlier days raised a considerable amount of finance to provide children from the Children’s Home with footwear and warm clothing – this as the result of notice being brought to the Frivs that the Children were suffering during a severe winter.

In the pantomime ‘Sinbad’ at the suggestion of one of the Company a goat was added to the stage cast. Led around on a leash all went well until the goat cast a roving eye at a character dressed like Man Friday in ‘Robinson Crusoe’ – in a grass skirt.

The Friv member spent a frantic time avoiding the goat whose intentions were to nibble at the grass skirt to the consternation of the artist – much to the hilarity of the audience.

As a pantomime Dame, Len Dadson was indeed a fine trouper but had the greatest difficulty in remembering his lines. Playing this role in one production he devised an ideal way to overcome this problem.

Dressed in typical Dame costume Len Dadson carried on his arm a large basket with his script lying snugly in the bottom of the basket. He was almost word perfect. He still missed one line but accused his partner of being responsible. Unfortunately the following year he was unable to use a basket and reverted back to his old habit – forgetting his words.


…as in the theatre the eyes of men after a well graced actor leaves the stage are bent on him that enters next…
Richard II. (W. Shakespeare.)


At the Annual General Meeting, 1972, the then secretary was granted leave of absence to visit the United Kingdom and John Ferguson was appointed Acting Secretary for the remainder of the year.

The following Annual General Meeting both the President, Wally Ireland and Secretary, Sid intimated their desire to vacate the positions as both felt the time was opportune for new blood to take over the administration reins of the Society.

President Wally Ireland had served in the capacity from 1952 to 1972, and Sid Henney the position of Secretary from 1952 to 1972. Later they were to hold the positions Patron and Life Member of the Society – Wally Ireland that of Patron and Sid Henney Life Member.

It is appropriate that a person deeply involved should detail the considerable changes that have taken place in the Frivs recent history. The following account is presented by John Ferguson, the current President of the Society, and will be of great interest to all members.

Foreword…. by John Ferguson.

During 1972 Wally Ireland retired as President at which time Michael Smith, who had been a member of the Committee for five years was elected the new President.

I was elected Secretary of the Society at the 1973 Annual General Meeting. Stella Astwood (later Mrs Wood) became Treasurer when the role of Secretary/Treasurer became too much for one person.

Page Forty Seven

Frivs on stage for 75th Jubilee Show.

Jubilee Dinner at War Memorial Hall, 75th Jubilee.

Page Forty Eight

In 1975 Michael Smith transferred to Wellington, and the position of President became my responsibility, a position I am still honoured to fulfil. Fay Rogers became the Secretary of the Society at the same time, with Stella Astwood continuing as Treasurer.

1977 saw a further change when John Reed succeeded Stella Astwood as Treasurer and remained in this capacity until part way through 1979. Christine Mead was appointed Acting Treasurer for the remainder of that year and appointed Treasurer at the Annual General Meeting, 1980.

Negotiations for Buffalo Lodge Hall.

In 1973 efforts commenced for the purchase of the Buffalo Lodge Hall, by the President Michael Smith and myself as Secretary. At that time a building fund had been set up with th [the] sum of $84.00. Purchase price of the freehold section and hall was $3,000.00.

The task of raising that much money was thought impossible by the committee of the day, but argument to purchase won the day; and assisted by a loan from the A.N.Z. Bank the purchase was proceeded with.

Massive fund raising activities were then started, with many members being involved in the project to bring the Hall up to the standard required by the Napier City Council.

During the initial stage in the negotiation it was discovered that the Napier City Council had a demolition order under way for the said property. However, when approaches were made to the then Mayor of Napier, Mr Peter Tait, and his being assured that the Frivs would restore the old property to good condition, Mr Tait was able to convince the Council at that time to let us proceed – although they (Council) said it really was beyond repair. Twelve months later it was with great pleasure we were able to show members of the Council the results of our labours. A task they considered impossible.

The result – a first class rehearsal home for the newly housed Napier Frivolity Minstrels. I think personally this has been my greatest moment in my time with the Frivs.

The official opening was performed by our Patron, Mr Wally Ireland, on June 8th, 1974.

An additional freehold property was purchased from the Kingi Runga Estate for $2,000. This section was adjacent to the Hall and it was decided to purchase to make our property suitable for the future development which would most certainly occur. Many hassles were involved with the purchase of the section but 1976 saw this property our own.

All in all a total in excess of $15,000 was raised by Frivs and former Frivs sending donations, raffles, business house donations, grants from the Napier City and Hawkes Bay County Councils and the Queen Elizabeth Arts Council.

A garage workshop was soon built on the vacant section to house the Frivs equipment, which was now growing all the time. Assets as at 1980 totalled $35,000 which was a massive rise since the Hall was purchased in 1973.

Rebuilding Programme.

During 1973/1974 many persons contributed greatly to the rebuilding programme that we had set ourselves. However, a permanent band of enthusiastic members just have to be mentioned, as during that time as many as seven nights per week were spent, completely renovating and upgrading hall, kitchen and toilet facilities. Those enthusiasts included John Ferguson (overall control), Bob Wright (building supervisor), Steven Kirby, Ken Smith, Richard Shadbolt, Craig Astwood, Lester Sherlock, Harry Koefoed, Sid Hardgrave, Merv Oemcke, Michael Smith. As mentioned earlier a lot of people gave time and effort, but those noted deserve a special acknowledgement.

Wally Ireland donated sums of money on several occasions to the building programme, which enabled us to complete a new roof over the kitchen area and many other worthwhile projects. Over $1,000 was donated by this very dedicated member of the Frivs, which will always be appreciated and remembered.

In 1977 the stage was increased in size by Mr Bob Wright, now an Honourary [Honorary] Vice President. Bob was awarded this in recognition of the long hours and expertise that he put into rebuilding the Hall.

Membership During the Period 1973 – 1980

Producers and Choreographers.
The following members acted in this capacity.
They were Shirley Jarrett, Julienne Owen, Sid Henney, Maurice Bartlett, Marie Hall, Dawn Mayo, Joy Boston, Margaret Atkins.

Musical Directors.
Musical Directors included Nola Atkins, the late Hector Norrie, Edith Ferguson. Members of the Orchestra remained fairly stable over the past seven years, Edith Ferguson being Musical Director for the period. Pianists have been Nola Atkins, Rose Mardon, Joy Coulam, Ngaire Ulyatt and Jenny Gilder.

Back Stage.

The period 1973-1980 saw many changes in our backstage personnel, particularly with regard to our Stage Managers. They included Alan Johnson, Harry Koefoed, Sid Hardgrave, Trevor Atkins, Colin Goble and Ken Sutton. A backstage team of six in 1973; we now have fifteen persons.

This increase became necessary with the arrival of much more technical equipment, requiring semi-qualified personnel to operate it. We now have a very comprehensive lighting system, an excellent sound system and many new props and scenery, too numerous to mention.

Yearly Itinery [Itinerary].

Hawkes Bay country areas again figure on the Frivs show list and are the backbone of performances we play each year. Regular visits are greeted by the residents of these towns and villages with continuing enthusiasm and are well worthwhile.

Weekends away by the Frivs have included Taupo, Gisborne and Featherston. Taupo over recent years has declined due largely to the fact ‘our man on the spot’, Mr Keith Christianson from the Taupo Fire Brigade was transferred to Invercargill. He was responsible for our visits over many years and contributed much to the success of these trips.

For two years in Gisborne the Frivs have played for the Riding School for the Disabled and in 1980 for the Hine Mataroa Childrens Home. Featherston was featured in 1980, where funds were raised for the Sports Stadium in that area.

Thanks to the Mount Cook (H. B. Motor Co., Ltd.,)

The Frivs have always used the exclusive services of the above Company for transport to various destinations around Hawkes Bay.

A very friendly and co-operative team at the Hawkes Bay Motor Co. from both management and drivers. Special mention must be made of E. W. (Baldy) Myers, Ian Reid, Laurie Head, the late Graham Mott, and for arranging transport in recent years, Peter Elliott. Also the many good friends the Frivs have had for occasional driving jobs over the years.

President’s Viewpoint.

The Frivs over the past ten years have progressed exceptionally well in times of difficult economic stresses, ie. finance. Our audiences have been steadily increasing, and the Show has taken on, perhaps a more professional approach. This is no reflection on earlier years but it is a fact of life – ‘times change’.

Page Forty Nine

Frivs Rehearsal at the Napier Intermediate School Hall
[Handwritten – 1972]

Ladies of the Circle – 1972

Page Fifty

Alan Emery (Mr Interlocutor) and the Frivs Company, 1973.

All at Sea – 1973

Page Fifty One

To keep up with other local amateur societies and, indeed, touring companies, the people of Napier have always something to compare our Show with. Had we not kept pace with others as best we can on our limited funds, I’m sure the organisation would have gone backwards and not forwards.

It is pleasing to note after eighty five years the Frivs still have no ’stars’ as every one connected with the Show is treated equally. This in itself is another unique feature of the Frivs.

And so to the future, I definitely believe the Frivs will succeed well into the eighties with, perhaps, a warning. The feet must be kept firmly on the ground, noting that the changes that have been made have taken ten years, not overnight, and I feel this is a most important fact. Nothing must alter the image the Frivs should preserve for the years to come, and any radical change must be thought out very carefully before deciding.

The Frivs is a most unique organisation and must remain so, as it has done, over eighty five years.
John Ferguson – President.


1971 and the 75th Jubilee years stood out in Frivs history as a high water mark. After the meeting and greeting of old friends and former Frivs it came as almost a shock to get back to the yearly search for new shows, to seek out the new performers and generally plan for the future years.

It was salutary to meet once again the old problems that television had brought with it, but now the advent of ‘colour’ had been added. The loss of former members who had retired from active participation – some with long experience – had added still further to these problems.

New personnel in administration, (as has been previously stated) had begun to plan for the new decade. As far as the production side of the company was concerned it was a case of ‘trial and error’.

The difficulty of getting patrons away from the ‘square box’ combined with later closing hours in the hotels, and the multitude of sporting clubs and the like was a major concern. There was a constant effort to present shows in the mould of present day entertainment. This experimenting caused some soul searching to do this while retaining the Frivs own special type of production.

1972 saw the show called ‘Hits and Bits’ produced by Shirley Jarrett combining the old style Minstrel Show and variety second half. This year saw a new Mr Interlocutor, Alan Emery. Cornermen were Roger Williams, Helen Smith, Richard Shadbolt and Neil Faulknor. Ballet was by Anne Bradley and the Musical Directress, Rose Mardon. Stage Manager was Sid Hardgrave, Wardrobe and Make Up, Judy Anderson, Clare Manning and Fay Rogers.

1973/1974 saw Shirley Jarrett again as the Producer. Pantomimes were produced by Maurice Bartlett and Sid Henney. They were ‘Come to the Circus’ and ‘All at Sea’. Musical Direction was in Edith Ferguson’s efficient hands – Edith returning to the Frivs Production team after being away for some years. Stage Manager, Sid Hardgrave and Harry Koefoed. Wardrobe and make up, Fay Rogers, Judy Anderson and Helen Smith.

1975 production included the ‘Minstrel Show’ and Pantomime, ‘Aladdin’. Julienne Owen producing the first half of the show and Sid Henney the pantomime. Edith Ferguson was again responsible for the Musical Direction. Stage Manager, Trevor Atkins.

These last two years saw Dick Wood return as Mr Interlocutor, and Cornermen included Merv Oemcke, Lynette Ferguson, Joy Oemcke, Roger Williams, Neil Faulknor, Richard Shadbolt and Glyn Lawrence.

New Production Team.

A new production team took the spotlight in 1976. The Pantomime was Marie Hall’s first season with the company and the Pantomime was ‘Robinson Crusoe’. The Minstrel Show was produced by Julienne Owen. Edith Ferguson again the Musical Director. The Interlocutor was Dick Wood, and the Cornermen, Roger Williams, Glyn Lawrence, Merv Oemcke and Graham Thomson. Stage Manager, Trevor Atkins and Wardrobe, Betty Owen.

The 1977 Minstrel Show Producer was Julienne Owen, while the second half pantomime ‘Billy the Kid Returns’, based on Sid Henney’s script of years before, was produced by Marie Hall.

Once again the lady members of the Frivs came in to help on the Corner as male artists were in short supply. Mr Interlocutor was again Dick Wood. Cornermen Roger Williams, Glyn Lawrence, Judy Anderson and Clare Manning. Edith Ferguson continued to hold the important role of Musical Director, while Betty Owen continued her responsibility for Wardrobe and Trevor Atkins that of Stage Manager.

1978 saw the arrival to the Frivs of Alec Wishart who undertook the position of Mr Interlocutor. His arrival was very welcome to the Frivs with his professional knowledge in show business, (Alec being the well known personality with the Hogsnort Rupert group of television and recording fame). Alec was therefore a great attraction and welcome performer with the company.

Cornermen with the show were Roger Williams, Graham Thomson, David Hosegood and Michael Curley. Production was in the capable hands of Marie Hall, Musical Direction, Edith Ferguson, Choreographer, Dawn Mayo, Stage Manager being Colin Goble.

Pattern of Show.

Slowly the pattern of the show had been changing in style. The familiar circle changed to a more modern concept. The English format of the Black and White Minstrels with its swift routines, colourful costuming and robust singing were followed and with excellent results. With the advent of imaginative lighting and newer sound equipment, the show became an up to date version combining modern and traditional styles, – a welcome innovation.

The Minstrel Shows, through the introduction of present day scorings and traditional Darky numbers, were well received by audiences everywhere.

So to complete the picture, 1979 saw the Frivs 83rd Minstrel Show and Pantomime, ‘4 ’N’ 20 Blackbirds’. Producer again was Marie Hall with Musical Direction by Edith Ferguson. Joy Coulam being the pianist and Dawn Mayo the choreographer, Colin Goble the Stage Manager. Mr Interlocutor was Alec Wishart, Cornermen, Roger Williams, Glyn Lawrence, Gary Hosegood and Michael Coats.

“INTO THE ’80’s”.

The 1980 Minstrel Show and Pantomime, ‘Rumplestiltskin’ brought almost a new production team. Joy Boston appeared and took charge of the Minstrel Show. Margaret Atkins produced the Pantomime. Edith Ferguson retained the duties of Musical Director, while Wardrobe went to Evelyn Foster. Stage Manager became Ken Sutton’s responsibility. Pianists were Jenny Gilder and Joy Coulam.

Fifty Two

LIST OF MEMBERS -1972- 1980

Minstrel Show Variety: ‘Hits and Bits’
President: Wally Ireland, Hon. Secretary: Sid Henney Assistant Secretary: John Ferguson, Stage Manager: Sid Hardgrave, Musical Director: Rose Mardon, Producer: Shirley Jarrett, Ballet: Anne Bradley, Wardrobe: Judy Anderson and Clare Manning, Make Up: Fay Rogers, Backstage Assistants: Richard Manning, Peter Single, Alan Rogers, Phillip Anderson, ‘Snow’ Rayner, Harry Koefoed, Arthur Bluck, Colin Goble, Scenery: Maurice Bartlett, Sid Hardgrave, Helen Smith, Richard Shadbolt, House Manager: Norman Etheridge, Interlocutor: Alan Emery, Cornermen: Roger Williams, Helen Smith, Richard Shadbolt, Neil Faulknor.
Circle. Stella Astwood, Margaret Atkins, Joan Davey, Lynette Foster, Carmen Gouder, Diane Joll, June Langstone, Pam Mellor, Sue Mellor, Joy Oemcke, Judy Sykes, Corrie Taylor, Janice Williams, Vanessa Woolley, John Ferguson, Stephen Kirby, Merv Oemcke, Ken Smith, Michael Smith, Dick Wood.
Dancers: Eleanor Kitt, Brenda Richardson, Kay Stevenson, Jan Streeter, Orchestra: Musical Director, Rose Mardon, Violins: George Stuart, E. Collier, John de la Haye, Trumpet: Alan Lang, R. Robinson, Flute: Alan Clarke, Michael Simkin, Bass: Leon Speakman, Drums: John Hale.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: ‘All at Sea’.
Patron: Wally Ireland, Vice President &. House Manager: Norm Etheridge, President: Michael Smith, Hon. Secretary: John Ferguson, Producer: Shirley Jarrett (Minstrel Show), Sid Henney (Pantomime), Cornermen: Roger Williams (Sambo), Merv Oemcke (Bones), Richard Shadbolt (Moses), Neil Faulknor (Rastus), Interlocutor: Alan Emery.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Margaret Atkins, Kay Bissell, Joan Davey, Lynette Foster, Diane Joll, June Lawrence, Pam Mellor, Sue Mellor, Joy Oemcke, Corrie Taylor, Vanessa Woolley, John Ferguson, Glyn Lawrence, Ken Smith, Michael Smith, John Taylor, Dick Wood.
Backstage: Make Up, Fay Rogers, Wardrobe, Judy Anderson, Make Up, Helen Smith, Prompt, Robin Sharp
Backstage Assistants: Phillip Anderson, Harry Koefoed, Steve Kirby, Lester Sherlock, Kerry Single, Richard Manning, Colin Goble, Arthur Bluck, ‘Snow’ Rayner.
Orchestra: Pianists, Ngaire Dallimore & Joy Coulam, Cliff Howell, Craig Astwood, Maurice Bartlett, Leon Speakman, Phil Jennings, E. Collier, George Stuart, Michael Simkin.

Eat, drink and be merry and tomorrow you diet.

Minstrel Show: Pantomime: ‘Come to the Circus’
Patron: Wally Ireland President: Michael Smith Vice President & House Manager: Norm Etheridge, Secretary: John Ferguson, Producers: Shirley Jarrett (Minstrel Show) Maurice Bartlett (Come to the Circus), Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Interlocutor: Dick Wood, Cornermen: Roger Williams, Merv, Oemcke, Richard Shadbolt, Neil Faulknor, Lynette Foster (Miss Mandy), Joy Oemcke (Miss Dinah).
Circle: Judy Anderson, Stella Astwood, Margaret Atkins, Isobel Forsyth, Clare Manning, Sue Morris, Alf Church, John Ferguson, Glyn Lawrence, Michael Smith, Graham Thomson, Kerry Single.
Dancers: Phyllis Astwood, Christine Cross, Joan Davey, Kay Edmundson, Jill Edmundson, Gillian Williams,
Backstage: Stage Manager, Sid Hardgrave, Fay Rogers, ‘Snow’ Rayner, Diane Goble, Steve Kirby, Sue Morris, Lester Sherlock, Colin Goble, Helen Smith, Alan Spivey, Harley Jarrett, Scenery: Don McNab.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Pianist: Joy Coulam, Ngaire Dallimore, Michael Simkin, Mark Ulyatt, Arthur Buckley, Maurice Bartlett, Leon Speakman, Craig Astwood, Cliff Howell, E. Collier, (Assistance at Taupo), Jock Seton (Drums).

More to Laugh About
Mr Moses: Mr Interlocutor, who was the happiest man on earth?
Interlocutor: I have no idea, Mr Moses. Who was the happiest?
Mr Moses: Adam! Because there was no mother- in-law in those days.

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Aladdin
Patron: Wally Ireland, President: Michael Smith, Secretary: J. Ferguson, Vice President/House Manager: N. Etheridge, Producers: Julienne Smith (Minstrel Show), Sid Henney (Aladdin) Musical Director: Edith Ferguson.
Cornermen: Roger Williams, Lynette Ferguson, Neil Faulknor, Glyn Lawrence, Interlocutor: Dick Wood.
Circle: Stella Astwood, Margaret Atkins, Kerry Atkins, Kay Edmundson, June Lawrence, Jan Larrington, Clare Manning, Mary Sergeant, Olwen Smith, John Ferguson, Murray Owen, Ken Smith, Michael Smith, Don Stuart, Graham Thomson.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Trevor Atkins, Stage Assistants: Fay Rogers, ’Snow’ Rayner, Steven Kirby, Don Hastings, Colin Goble, Wayne Sykes, Diane Goble, Helen Smith, Craig Astwood, Ken Sutton.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Pianist: Joy Coulam, Maurice Bartlett, Kay Edmundson, John de la Haye, Arthur Buckley, Leon Speakman, John Reed, Alan Lang [Handwritten – Laing] (Assistance at Taupo), Jock Seton.

He’s the only man who can play a tune on a tuba – but this is a tuba toothpaste!

Minstrel Show: Pantomime: Robinson Crusoe
Patron: Wally Ireland, President: John Ferguson Vice President/House Manager: N. Etheridge Hon. Secretary: Fay Rogers, Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Producers: Julienne Owen (Minstrel Show), Marie Hall (Robinson Crusoe).
Cornermen: Roger Williams, Glyn Lawrence, Merv Oemcke, Graham Thompson Interlocutor: Dick Wood.
Circle: Clare Manning, Pam Mellor, Kerry Atkins, Judy Anderson, Lyn Ferguson, Stella Astwood, Mary Sergeant, Margaret Atkins, Olwen Smith, Barbara Scott, Ken Smith, Laurie Head, John Ferguson, Murray Owen, Gary Hosegood, Dancers: Lynette Head, Christine Cross, Brenda Johnstone, Wendy Taylor.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Trev Atkins, Ken Sutton, Colin Goble, Denis Heberley, Steven Kirby, Leslie Goom, Fay Rogers, Denise Olynsma, Diane Goble, Betty Owen, ‘Snow’ Rayner.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Maurice Bartlett, John Reed, Leon Speakman, Joe Atkins, Cliff Howell, John de la Haye, Joy Coulam, Pianist: Alan Lang [Handwritten – Laing], Assistance at Taupo: Jock Seton.

Page Fifty Three

Minstrel Show: Pantomime: Billy the Kid Returns.
Patron: Wally Ireland President: John Ferguson Secretary: Fay Rogers, Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Producers: Julienne Owen (Minstrel Show), Marie Hall (Pantomime)
Cornermen: Roger Williams, Glyn Lawrence, Judy Anderson, Clare Manning, Interlocutor: Dick Wood.
Circle: Pam Mellor, Judy Miller, Jenny Magon, Stella Astwood, Barbara Scott, Margaret Atkins, Samantha Goodall, Christine Mead, John Ferguson, Ken Smith, Murray Owen, Gary Hosegood, Michael Curley.
Dancers: Linda Harrison, Brenda Johnstone, Christine Cross, Lynette Head, Kerry Atkins, Wendy Taylor.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Pianist: Joy Coulam, Maurice Bartlett, John de la Haye, Murray Burnell, Cliff Howell, Ray Blewdon [Blewden], Leon Speakman, John Reed.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Trevor Atkins, Wardrobe: Betty Owen, Ken Sutton, Craig Astwood, Sid Henney, Fay Rogers, Steven Kirby, Colin Goble, Alan Spivey, Terry McCullough, Diane Goble, ’Snow’ Rayner, Trudy Keen, Denis Heberley, Nick Tulloch.

Mr Bones was in a restaurant once. He pointed to a fly swimming in his soup. The waiter was apologetic, “I’m sorry, I’m afraid you’ll have to go in for it yourself. I don’t swim………… ”

[Handwritten – Arthritis & Rheumatism Foundation of N. Z.]

Minstrel Show Pantomime: Dick Whittington
Patron: Wally Ireland, President: John Ferguson Secretary: Fay Rogers, Producer: Marie Hall, Choreographer: Dawn Mayo, Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Stage Manager: Colin Goble, Wardrobe: Evelyn Foster, Treasurer: John Reed, Vice President/House Manager: Norm Etheridge, Interlocutor: Alec Wishart, Cornermen: Roger Williams, David Hosegood, Graham Thompson, Michael Curley.
Circle: Clare Manning, Jenny Magon, Pam Smith, Samantha Goodall, Christine Mead, June Lawrence, Judy Anderson, Margaret Atkins, Fay Rogers, Kerry Atkins, Glyn Lawrence, Chris Gibson, Gary Hosegood, John Ferguson, Ken Smith, Brent Treacher, Michael Hicks.
Dancers: Brenda Johnstone, Christine Cross, Wendy Taylor, Lynette Head, Linda Harrison.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Colin Goble, John Grant, Brian Palmer, Ken Sutton, Sid Henney, Neil Parkin, Albert Mellor, Sue Mellor, Wardrobe: Evelyn Foster, Diane Goble, Fay Rogers, Nancy Johnstone, Rod Hatfield, Alan Spivey, Trevor Atkins, Musical Orchestrations: Cecil Fitzwater.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Pianist: Joy Coulam, Ray Blewdon, Maurice Bartlett, Charles Dukes [Handwritten – Jukes], Leon Speakman, Cliff Howell, John Reed, Frances Turner, Murray Burnell, Ray Wardle, Chris Cook. [Handwritten – Jenny Spence (Matthews)]

Time for a Laugh
Mr Bones: What would you do, Mr Interlocutor, if you found fairies at the bottom of your garden?
Interlocutor: I don’t know what I’d do, Mr Bones. Tell me!
Mr Bones: Mr Interlocutor, I’d see the Elf Department

In aid of ‘Save the Children’ Fund.
[Handwritten – International Year of the child.]

Minstrel Show Pantomime: ‘4 ’N 20 Blackbirds’
Patron: Wally Ireland President: John Ferguson Secretary: Fay Rogers, Vice President: Sid Henney & Maurice Bartlett, Producer: Marie Hall.
Choreographer: Dawn Mayo, Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Wardrobe: Evelyn Foster, Pianist: Joy Coulam, Stage Manager: Colin Goble, Interlocutor: Alec Wishart, Cornermen: Roger Williams, Gary Hosegood, Glyn Lawrence, Michael Coats.
Circle: Margaret Atkins, Clare Manning, Pam Smith, Fay Rogers, Judy Anderson, June Lawrence, Christine Mead, Heather Parnell, Rowena Godfrey, Evelyn Foster, Sue Wilton, Rita James, John Ferguson, Ken Smith, Graham Thompson, Mike Curley, Des Billman.
Dancers: Christine Cross, Wendy Taylor, Kerry Atkins.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Pianist: Joy Coulam, Leon Speakman, Maurice Bartlett, Cliff Howell, Robert Reid, Gary Greentree, Murray Burnell, Frances Turner, Ray Blewdon, Charles Dukes [Handwritten – Jukes], John Reed, Bob Boston.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Colin Goble, Alan Spivey, Albert Mellor, Isa Mellor, Dave Thomas, Rod Hatfield, Diane Goble, Nancy Johnstone, Evelyn Foster, Fay Rogers, Neil Parkin, Ken Sutton, Leslie Goom, Gordon Spivey.

Minstrel Show: Pantomime: ‘Rumplestiltskin’.
Patron: Wally Ireland President: John Ferguson, Secretary: Fay Rogers, Vice President/House Manager: Sid Henney, Vice President: Maurice Bartlett. Producers: Joy Boston (Minstrel Show), Margaret Atkins (Pantomime), Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Pianist: Jenny Gilder, J. Coulam, Hon. Treasurer: Christine Mead, Stage Manager: Ken Sutton, Cornermen: Roger Williams, Michael Coats, Gary Hosegood, Glyn Lawrence, Interlocutor: Alec Wishart.
Circle: Clare Manning, Fay Rogers, Marie Hall, Virginia Trask, June Lawrence, Christine Mead, Heather Parnell, Evelyn Foster, Pam Smith, Rowena Godfrey, Judy Faulknor, Rita James, John Ferguson, Ken Smith, Des Billman, Richard Harris, Stan Simmonds, Grant Albiston, Dancers: Christine Cross, Toni Jackson, Lynette Head, Debbie O’Leary, Merryn-Lee Curtis.
Orchestra: Musical Director: Edith Ferguson, Pianist: Jenny Gilder and Joy Coulam, Leon Speakman, Murray Burnell, Ray Blewdon, Maurice Bartlett, John Reed, Charles Jukes, Bob Boston, Frances Turner.
Backstage: Stage Manager: Ken Sutton, Wardrobe: Evelyn Foster, John Carroll, David Phillips, Athol Hurring, Rod Hatfield, Alan Spivey, Ken Sutton, Lloyd Parnell, Nancy Alexander, June Taylor, Lindy King, Laurie Head, Sue Greentree.

Page Fifty Four

En route to Levin – 1973

Mystery Trip to Rotorua – 1976

Page Fifty Five

The Napier Frivs Hall in Waghorne Street, after renovations.


Page Fifty Six

Ladies of the Company – 1978.

Men of the Company – 1978.

Page Fifty Seven


The street procession through the central city has been a feature prelude to the Napier shows of recent years. Available members have been decked out in appropriate costume and taken a position on the back of an open truck for the procession. Being short of Darkies, Edith Ferguson elected to ”black-up” and did an admirable job. When the procession was over an impromptu decision to regroup at the Tamatea Hotel was made. All went home to change and wash-off prior to meeting at the Tavern – all that is except Edith, who sat with the hotel patrons, still in full make-up and Darkie costume, wondering why none of the others had yet arrived. Her mistake was the source of much hilarity.

Another occasion that called for costuming was the opening of the newly acquired Cobb & Co. restaurant “The Masonic Establishment”. The Frivs were invited to participate in a publicity gimmick by providing town cryers and other personnel in period costume. A horse and buggy took many of our ladies around the inner city. Heather Parnell looked quite accustomed to being a real “Lady” until the horse decided that a comfort stop amid the afternoon shoppers was quite in order. Poor Heather didn’t know where to hide her face, which incidentally had turned a brilliant scarlet within a matter of seconds. She spent the rest of the journey in genuine concerned embarrassment wondering if she would have to return with a bucket and shovel!

Who will ever forget the haunted bedroom scene from the 1979 pantomime ”4 ‘N’ 20 Blackbirds”. Actors Glyn Lawrence and Alec Wishart had not only the audience, but also the cast, orchestra and backstage team, in fits of laughter with their antics over a bed and an intruding spider. These two are again cast together in the dual – Dame roles of the Ugly Sisters for this year’s Jubilee show – Cinderella.

June Lawrence has demonstrated her versatility as a fine actress by taking the female lead on several occasions, but gave an outstanding performance as Rumplestiltzkin in the 1980 production of the same name. This performance was almost unbelievable to those who saw June play the sexy “Bunny Leave home” with such success only a few months later in “The Frivs Radio Times Show”.

Mystery trips to places like Wanganui, Wellington, Rotorua and Tauranga were popular annual events until the fuel crisis made the cost of social travel prohibitive. In recent years the social committee has been re-activated, and under the present guidance of Michael Coats, events that are closer to hand and within the “pocket” of members have been organised with enormous success. “Ex-Frivs” (if there exists such a person!) are most welcome at these functions, subject only to the limitations of the facilities available.

The traditional Labour weekend shows at Taupo have alas been “dropped” from the itinerary of recent years. Difficulties with accomodation [accommodation] and declining audiences encouraged us to accept requests from alternative venues. For the past four years, Gisborne has taken over as our regular “away” venue, where resident former Frivs president Michael Smith has arranged shows in favour of the Gisborne Riding for the Disabled, the Children’s Home and Takatimu [Takitimu] Sea scouts.

1980 saw the introduction of another new venue – Featherston. Our visit was an enormous first-time success, raising $900 towards the new South Wairarapa Sports Stadium. Featherston is again on the itinerary for the 1981 season.

“Pardon My Slip”

The history of the Frivs is peppered with highlights of things that went wrong, and just as in the past, present day Frivs have had their moments too.

Like the time Ken Sutton, dressed as a hairy gorilla, bounded across the Westshore stage – mis-judged his leap, and crashed over the footlights into the orchestra.

Or the time John Ferguson and Alec Wishart, played their amusing “Hinge and Bracket” routine at Twyford, when the imitation Grand Piano, built by tradesman Alan Spivey, collapsed in a heap on the stage floor. Alan has much to answer for in his time with the Frivs. However, he has now been appointed Stage Manager, where it is felt he can do less harm than good.

Then there was the time at the Eskdale Hall when a power cut stopped the show for almost an hour. The entertainment continued under candle-light with sing-a-long numbers until power was restored.

At the Patoka hall some years later, where a chorus action song called for strong overhead arm movement, Gary Hosegood put his hand straight through the roof in the very first movement, bringing down a shower of fibrous plaster.

At Dannevirke, where those on stage could hardly hear the orchestra, whereupon Edith Ferguson, feeling the need to move some 30 feet to centre stage, wheeled piano, shifted drums, carried music stands and continued conducting, while chorus and orchestra sang and played on.

At the Napier Municipal Theatre, where Clare Manning, entering the stage with her banjo, bumped into Glyn Lawrence on the “Corner”, putting the banjo completely “out of tune”. The ensuing three minute rendition of “Oh Susannah” was an extraordinary variation on the tune the audience thought they knew.

At Elsthorpe, where Isa Mellor thought that the musical overture would be the ideal place to open the curtain – much to the surprise of those on stage, that is, those who had even reached the stage in time. Those that had, were standing open-mouthed, anywhere but where they should have been.

But if any stage has given more trouble than most then we must return yet again to Eskdale with its “roll-up” style curtain.

Here the chorus were lined up, backs to the audience for a special effect opening. The special effect was somewhat different to that which had been intended. As the curtain rolled up Margaret Atkins’ dress got caught inside it.

Margaret has a high standard of dress but it is fair to say that on that particular night it was somewhat higher than usual!

It is interesting to note that Margaret now produces the pantomime!

Newcomers to the Frivs will doubtless by now have realised that the road to the top is easy if you follow the examples of those who have gone before.

It should, in fairness, be pointed out that Margaret has been associated with the Frivs since 1955. She is another fine actress who has taken many leading roles, particularly as “principal boy”. Her ability and experience is now being passed on to the newer members in her capacity as producer. This particularly applies to her daughter Kerry, who takes the role of Cinderella in the Jubilee production.

Standards Keep On Improving.

Fortunately most shows go according to plan and there can be little doubt that in recent years the standard of the productions have reached new heights in their variety and content.

In this respect we have been fortunate to have producers and choreographers of such high calibre.

Page Fifty Eight

However, as Musical Director throughout this recent period of our history, Edith Ferguson must be congratulated for the extremely high standard she has brought to the choral aspect of the shows.

This was nowhere more apparent than through the introduction of “The Three Girls” – Evelyn Foster, Pam Smith and June Lawrence.

Under the name “The Frivettes” these girls entered a Hawkes Bay Talent Quest, winning their semi-final and finishing third in the finals.

Frivs – a way of life….

No-one can deny the dedication of certain members through the years. In recent times this dedication has been further demonstrated through members like Neil Faulknor, who travelled to-and-fro from Waipukurau to Napier for all rehearsals and performances; a round trip distance of some eighty miles, and this he did for three successive years.

Then there was Gary Hosegood, who, finding himself on temporary work transfer to Gisborne travelled by car to Napier every Monday at 5.00 p.m. for rehearsals at 7.30 pm. – and arrived on time! Then, when rehearsals were over, made the return journey to Gisborne. This extraordinary routine was maintained for some three months until his transfer expired.

Members like; Roger Williams, who has never missed a performance in sixteen years, fifteen of these as Cornerman; Fay Rogers, whose personal recollections are recorded earlier in the text; Clare Manning, who in addition to her many years with the company, has the distinction of belonging to a select group of ladies who have ”blacked up” on the Corner. Others in this category include Judy Anderson, Joy Oemcke, Helen Smith and Lyn Ferguson.

Mention must also be made of Leon Speakman, whose services to the Frivs orchestra spans a continuous period of nineteen years. His electrical talents have also been much Wappreciated in connection with the valuable assistance he has given in the upgrading of the hall to its present standard.

So many members have lengthy periods of association with the company, and it is these members who are our backbone, maintaining the best traditions of the Frivs; sometimes unheralded, but always working in the background. Many of these members have retired from “active service” in the show but each in their own way continues to demonstrate their valued support and assistance.

It is often difficult for newcomers to appreciate the bond of common interest among “established” members, but this bond is quickly understood when the show is “On the Road”. Frivs is not just another club or society, it is a way of life.

Photo caption – Mr Interlocutor (Alec Wishart) and the Cornermen – 1978.

Page Fifty Nine

Mr Interlocutor (Alec Wishart) and the Frivs Dancers.

The sun and Ahuriri greet the Frivs in a relaxed mood – 1979.

Page Sixty

Napier Frivolity Minstrels Orchestra – 1979
Back row- left to right: L. Speakman, M. Bartlett, C. Howell, R. Reid, G. Greentree, M. Burnell, Frances Turner.
Front – left to right: R. Blewden, C. Jukes, Edith Fergusson (Musical Director), Joy Coulam, J. Reed, B. Boston.

Launching of ‘Cobb and Co.’
The Frivs in turn of the century costume – 1980

Page Sixty One


The Frivs have now moved into yet another area of entertaining, that of ‘Theatre Restaurant’ style. With the Production of ‘Radio Times’ in March of this year the Company have caught up with the modern theatrical trend of performing in ones own premises, with food and beverage complementing the Show.

Many hours of work have been put into refurbishing the Frivs Hall into a modern mini theatre complex. Yet again this work would not have been possible without the tremendous help and assistance of Robert (Bob) Wright, Leon Speakman, Alan Spivey, Ken Sutton and many others who gave up their entire Christmas break to make this Production possible.

‘Radio Times’ will now be a firm feature of the Frivs activities, which in turn helps the Society to raise much needed finance for itself, in order to maintain the high standard of production attained over the years.

Future development of this complex will depend on finance available, however, it is envisaged that within two years building could commence on a new kitchen, new toilet facilities, perhaps a lounge area and wardrobe upstairs. This would give a great view out to sea from our premises

Frivs Theatre, Waghorne Street, Ahuriri.

Written and Produced by Murray Burnell, Co- Producer and Musical Director, Edith Ferguson R. M. T. Stage Manager: Alan Spivey, Wardrobe: Evelyn Foster and June Taylor, Technical: Ken Sutton, Lighting: John Carroll, David Phillips, Sound: Rod Hatfield, Make Up: Nancy Alexander, Sue Greentree, Host and Hostess: Richard and Clare Manning, Catering: Fay Rogers and Assistants, Stewards: Ken Smith and Assistants, Waitressing: Christine Mead and Assistants.

Additional material kindly contributed by Vic Viggers and Jock Stevenson.

Cast and Part Played.
Alan Emery – (Dexter Fitzherbert) Glyn Lawrence – (Guy Bosunkay) Mike Coats – Chuck Fritter Alec Wishart – (Tommy Blockhead) June Lawrence – (Bunny Leavehome) Stella Wood – (Marjorie Manners) Joy Boston, Lyn Ferguson, Evelyn Foster – (Spot Ons) Vic Viggers, Stan Simmonds, Graham Thompson – (Radio Theatre), Rowena Godfrey, Kerry Atkins – (Jellyettes), Debbie O’Leary, Lyn Head, Merryn-Lee Curtis, Toni Jackson – (L’eggs Lasses).
South of Capricorn Orchestra Members: Joy Coulam, Jenny Gilder (Piano), Leon Speakman (Bass), Cliff Howell (Trombone Bass) Bob Boston (Drums) John Reed (Clarinet) Gary Greentree (Saxophone) Murray Burnell (Saxophone).
Appearing for Extra Two Performances: Jock Stevenson, Mary Crawford

Bob Wright, Gordon Spivey, Onekawa Hotel Ltd., Investment Travel, T. J. Edmonds & Co., Ltd., Television New Zealand, Eagles Butchery, L’eggs (NZ) Ltd., McCready’s Ltd., Napier (Jack Rattray), Personality Furnishing Centre, A. B. Gilder & Son Saddler, Hatfield Industries.

All who helped with Sewing, Theatre Renovations, Catering, Typing and Photo-Copying etc.

Daily Telegraph Ltd., – 17th March, 1981.

After eighty five years of performing in traditional Minstrel-style shows, the Frivs have plunged into the racy modern world of the 40’s with their ’Radio Times’ Show.

Based on Television New Zealand’s Programme, the Show was used as an opener for the Frivs Restaurant Theatre – and a grand launching it was.

Their old hall has been transformed with red velvet stage curtain, red and white checked table cloths and chair coverings to match, to create a gay, brand new, old fashioned look. The surroundings were great, the meal excellent and the Show non-stop.

This is a format that could be repeated year after year. In fact, eighty five years from now it could still be popular.

The presentation was simplicity itself, cyclorama brightly lit blue or green, a spreading palm tree, orchestra and excellently dressed cast always filling the brightly lit stage.

From curtain up, to interval, to curtain down, the items followed bright, fast and varied, broken only by the announcer or audience-prompting cue card man.

The first episode colour scheme was blue and white broken only by the black of the men’s garb. The second episode, green and scarlet. Only one variation came in the men’s evening dress, the impeccable top to toe white of the suave Guy Bosunkay, while the girls were all slinky satin, split skirts and sequins.

The Show was written and produced by Murray Burnell with co-producer and musical director Edith Ferguson and additional material by Vic Viggers and Jock Stevenson.

The songs were the pops of the 40’s with ballads and national medleys from way back. Altogether it was bright, nostalgic entertainment, scattered with comedy.

I must say the Dad and Dave section palled a little and could well have been pruned drastically but sound effects man Vic Viggers succeeded in making some poor material sound funny, and some amusing material sound hilarious.

The singing section – the main part of the Show, was totally successful, showing excellent immobile discipline during the off-mike moments and lively talent during the performance.

The orchestra, whether accompanying or being featured, was excellent and the commercials – Rowena Godfrey, Kerry Atkins, Debbie O’Leary, Lyn Head, Merryn-Lee Curtis and Toni Jackson – added amusing breaks.

Page Sixty Two

Radio buff Alan Emery compared the Show in true radio style, and added a pleasing tenor voice to the proceedings, while guest vocalist Stella Wood brought a touch of classical music, and radio theatre actors Stan Simmonds and Graeme Thomson, a touch of comedy.

The main part of the Show was melodious, swinging song whether it came from the full cast; the harmonious Spot Ons, (Joy Boston, Lyn Ferguson and Evelyn Foster); The fine voice of straight-faced comedian Mike Coats, the extrovert music-hall abilities of Alec Wishart, the sultry, sexy attack of June Lawrence or the heart throb crooning of Glyn Lawrence.

These last two, with the backing of the Spot Ons, carried the main period impact of the Show. Glyn Lawrence, as Guy Bosunkay, was every inch the blasé gigolo-narcissus, while June Lawrence, as Bunny Leavehome, was fully stacked with every sex appeal gimmick in the book.

From the amplified burst of the opening number to the closing chorus which set the hall a-jumping, the Frivs Radio Times Show is bright entertainment and should continue to please audiences till the end of the week’s season.
Laurie Swindell.


The 1981 Production.
‘Cinderella’ is the Pantomime chosen for 1981, with the Minstrel Show forming the first half of the programme. This will be the third time in eighty five years that the Frivs have performed this popular pantomime, and the Production is in the capable hands of Margaret Atkins. Having been on stage herself for many years she is now producing this section of the Show, which continues to demonstrate the versatility of our members.

The first half Minstrel Show is, for the second year running, produced by Joy Boston, a relative newcomer whom the Frivs are very pleased to have in this important role. She will also be choreographer for the whole show.

Musical Director is once again Edith Ferguson, who has been associated in this capacity for eight years.

A predominantly musical show, the Frivs in 1981 Jubilee year have intricate chorus and dynamic dance routines.

The show is bright and colourful, incorporating many favourite numbers of years gone by, as well as popular songs of recent times.

The second half pantomime follows the traditional form, incorporating audience participation to the full with the antics and biting comedy of the Ugly Sisters (Alec Wishart, Glyn Lawrence).

The Baron (Michael Coats) is the typical hen-peeked husband to the domineering Baroness (June Lawrence), while the Baron’s henchmen (Ken Brown, Tony Valentine-Greer) bring simple-minded humour.

Cinderella (Kerry Atkins) is of course the poor Baron’s daughter who finally wins her Prince Charming (Jeanette Hardgrave), aided by pageboy Buttons (Roger Williams) and the Fairy Godmother (Pam Smith). Other members of the cast include the Prince’s Squire (Christine Mead), and Major Domo (Ken Smith).

Adding to the colour of the costuming is the brand new back-cloth and excellent scenery, designed by Graeme Lister and constructed by the ever zealous backstage team led by Alan Spivey.

The show is truly fitting as our 85th Jubilee production, which, as in previous years will be taken on its tour of the country areas of Hawkes Bay. It also goes further afield to encompass Gisborne and Featherston, raising much needed finance for very worthy organisations.

From Humble Beginnings.

The aims and ideals of the Frivs live on untarnished by the commercialism so apparent in today‘s modern world. It is an achievement of which we can always be justifiably proud. No wonder then that we can claim a fraternity of members spanning every age and all walks of life, giving rise to the addage:-

Once a Friv, always a Friv.

Page Sixty Three

The Frivs Hall set for a performance of the successful ‘Radio Times.’ Seating for approximately ninety seven in attractive surroundings.

Another performance of ‘Radio Times’ before an appreciative audience. The Show ran for nine performances in March, 1981.

Page Sixty Four


Minstrel Show   Pantomime: Cinderella

PATRON – Wally Ireland   PRESIDENT – John Ferguson


PRODUCERS – Joy Boston (Minstrel Show)   Margaret Atkins (Cinderella)

MUSICAL DIRECTOR – Edith Ferguson   PIANIST – Jenny Gilder

SECRETARY – Fay Rogers   TREASURER – Christine Mead

STAGE MANAGER – Alan Spivey   WARDROBE – Evelyn Foster

CORNERMEN – Roger Williams, Glyn Lawrence, Ken Smith, Mike Coats


CIRCLE – Kerry Atkins, Heather Cram, Evelyn Foster, Rowena Godfrey, June Lawrence, Kay Maguire, Clare Manning, Christine Mead, Jeanette McParland, Marie Ortquist, Pam Smith, Fay Rogers, Virginia Trask, Sue Wilton, Christine Work, Des Billman, Ken Brown, John Ferguson, Richard Harris, Tony Valentine-Greer.

DANCERS — Merryn Lee Curtis, Vivienne Lang, Debbie O’Leary, Lyn Robertson

BACKSTAGE – Nancy Alexander, John Carroll, Sue Greentree, Rod Hatfield, Laurie Head, Lindy King, Stephen Kirby, Graeme Lister, Erin McBride, Dave Phillips, Ken Sutton, Alan Spivey, June Taylor

ORCHESTRA – Ray Blewden (Violin), Murray Burnell (Sax), Bob Boston (Drums), Edith Ferguson (Director), Jenny Gilder (Piano), Cliff Howell (Trombone), Charles Jukes (Violin), Jennie Leahy (Clarinet), Leon Speakman (Bass), John Reed (Clarinet), Francie Turner (Cello). Gary Greentree (Sax).

Page Sixty Five

A Friv Fair Lassie escorted by Mr. Interlocutor and the Cornermen.
left to right: Glyn Lawrence, Alec Wishart, Kerry Atkins, Roger Williams, Michael Coats.

Napier Frivs Dancers – 1980
left to right: Merryn – Lee Curtis, Christine Cross, Debbie O’Leary, Lynette Head, Toni Jackson

Page Sixty Six


Percy Spiller, M .B .E.   Page 4
Original Members   4
Wattie Allen   6
Charlie Holmes, Percy Spiller   6
Orchestra, 1906   6
Friv Circle 1900’s   9
Orchestra 1900’s   9
Programme cover, Frivs at Havelock North   10
Orchestra, 1909   11
Interlocutor & Cornermen, 1909   11
Napier Frivolity Minstrels, 1905/6   13
Cornermen – historic   14
The Company, 1925   14
The Company, 1936   19
Harem Ladies of the Frivs   19
Opening of Municipal Theatre, 1938   20
Orchestra, late 1930’s   20
Cinderella, 1942   21
The Accordianaires   21
50th Jubilee Group Photo   22
Accident at Motu Gorge, 1929   24
The Company, 50th Jubilee   25
Orchestra, 1953   25
Bluebeard, 1949   26
Cinderella, 1950   26
Old Mother Hubbard, 1952   29
60th Anniversary Group Photos   31
Billy the Kid, 1958   33
Stella Astwood   33
Ted Herniman   33
Frivs Mascot, 1960   34
Call Me Colonel, 1960   34
Magic in the Air   35
Backstage Team, late 1960’s   38
An Earlier Ballet Group   38
Dick Wood & Cornermen   40
Ian Connell & Men of the Circle   40
75th Ballet Team   43
75th Backstage Team   43
75th Jubilee Orchestra   45
Frivs on Stage, 75th Jubilee   47
Jubilee Dinner   47
Rehearsal at Napier Intermediate School   49
Ladies of the Circle, 1972   49
Frivs Company, 1973   50
All at Sea 1973   50
On Tour to Levin, 1973   54
Mystery Trip to Rotorua, 1976   54
The Dancing Team, 1977   55
Ladies of the Company, 1978   56
Men of the Company, 1978   56
Alec Wishart & Cornermen, 1978   58
Mr Interlocutor & Frivs Dancers   59
Members of the Circle, 1979   59
Members of the Orchestra, 1979   60
Launching of Cobb & Co., 1980   60
Radio Times   63
The Ahuriri Foreshore   65
Napier Frivs Dancers, 1980   65
Full Cast and Producers, 1981   67
Backstage Team, 1981   68
Members of the Orchestra, 1981   68

Page Sixty Seven

The Producers and Full Cast on Stage – 1981

Page Sixty Eight

The Backstage team – 1981
left to right: Top Row – John Carroll, Steve Kirby, Dave Phillips, Laurie Head, Graeme Lister, Alan Spivey, Ken Sutton, Bottom Row – Erin McBride, June Taylor, Lindy King, Sue Greentree, Nancy Alexander, Evelyn Foster.   Absent – Rod Hatfield.

Orchestra Members – 1981
left to right: Top Row – Ray Blewden, Murray Burnell, John Reed, Leon Speakman, Bottom Row – Charlie Jukes, Jenny Gilder, Edith Ferguson, Jenny Leahy, Bob Boston.   Absent – Gary Greentree, Cliff Howell, Francie Turner.


In compiling this postscript the author was reminded of the early motion picture Westerns of a past decade. The scene was a bar room in the ‘Kicking Horse’ Saloon, complete with musician playing a battered piano. A sign read:-

(For pianist could be read writer!)

Due to the loss of documents and valuable papers during the Earthquake of 1931 the well of memory has had to be called upon, and for most Friv members and obviously the author, it is a fallible thing.

But the well of memory, when stirred, reveals enough if one goes to it with a receptive mind. There one finds, the true history lies in the recollections of former and present day Frivs who have ‘trod the boards’ – made music with the Orchestras, or painted and built the stage sets – the province of the back stage team.

Throughout the writer has used William Shakespeare’s immortal words and who better than the ‘Bard’ to say our final word.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, as I have told you, were all spirits and are melted into air, thin air.

And like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself.

Yea, all which inherit will dissolve, and like this insubstantial pageant, faded. Leave not a rock behind. We are of such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded in a sleep.

William Shakespeare. ‘The Tempest’.

All that the writer can say at the ending is the obvious phrase………


Max Printing Service Ltd.

Original digital file



Surnames in document –

Abbott, Ace, Adair, Affleck, Albiston, Alexander, Allen, Alsop, Amner, Anderson, Andrew, Andrews, Annan, Archer, Armstrong, Arthur, Astwood, Atkinson, Bailey, Baillie, Bainbridge, Baker, Bangs, Barber, Barlow, Bartle, Bartlett, Batchelor, Batt, Baxter, Bayliss, Beach, Bear, Bebe, Beecham, Bell, Bennett, Benson. Bernard, Berry, Billman, Bingham, Birks, Birnie, Bisley, Biss, Black, Blair, Blewden, Blewdon, Blewett, Bluck, Boardman, Bond, Borrows, Boston, Bower, Bowland, Bradley, Bradwell, Braithwaite, Brass, Briasco, Bridges, Briggs, Bromley Hill, Brown, Brownette, Broyden, Buckley, Bull, Bullivant, Burgess, Burnell, Burton, Bush, Butler, Calnan, Campbell, Carroll, Carruthers, Carver, Casson, Castell, Chambers, Chapman, Cherry, Chittingdon, Christiansen, Christianson, Christie, Christy, Churchill, Clair, Clarke, Clothier, Coats, Cochrane, Cochrane, Colbert, Collier, Collins, Colwell, Colyer, Connell, Connolly, Cook, Cooper, Colbert, Corbett, Cotterill, Cottle, Coulam, Coutts, Cowlick, Cox, Crabbe, Crabtree, Craig, Craigie, Cram, Crawford, Crisp, Cross, Crosse, Crowley, Curie, Curley, Curley, Curtis, Cusdin, Dadson, Daily, Dallimore, Dalton, Daniels, Davey, Davidson, Davy, de la Haye, Dine, Dockary, Doig, Donaldson, Donnelly, Drummond, Duff, Dukes, Duley, Dunbar, Duncan, Dunn, Eager, Eagle, Earney, Echold, Edmundsen, Edmundson, Edwards, Eliott, Elliott, Elton, Emery, Emmett, Erskine, Etheridge, Evans, Evetts, Exeter, Faulknor, Ferguson, Fitzwater, Fletcher, Forrest, Forsythe, Forysth, Foster, Frazer, Freedman, Fuller, Gaffeney, Gannaway, Gardiner, Geddis, George, Gibbons, Gibson, Gilder, Giles, Gillespie, Gimlett, Giorgi, Girling, Goble, Godfrey, Goetz, Goodall, Goodger, Goom, Gouder, Graham, Granby, Gray, Gray, Green, Greentree, Grubb, Guildford, Gunn, Hague, Hale, Hall, Halstead, Hamilton, Hanley, Hardgrave, Harris,Harrison, Hartley, Harvie, Hatfield, Haverly Hawke, Hawkes, Hay, Haybittle, Hayes, Hays, Head, Heberley, Henney, Hepiri, Herniman, Hewitt, Hicks, Hill, Hillson, Hogan, Holder, Holmes, Hooper, Horgan, Hosegood, Howard, Howell, Hubbard, Hulme, Hunter, Hurring, Hutchinson, Hyslop, Ireland, Jackson. James, Jamieson, Jarman, Jarrett, Jarvis, Jeffery, Jennings, Jensen, Johnson, Johnstone, Joll, Jones, Jones-Clifford, Jukes, Kavanagh, Kavanah, Kayser, Keen, Kellond, Kendall, Kerridge, Kersey, King, Kirby, Kirk, Kitchner, Kite, Kitt, Knight, Knott, Knox, Koefoed, Krogh, la Prou, Laing, Lang, Langstone, Larkin, Larrington, Lavin, Lawford, Lawrence, Layton, Leahy, Leevers, Leonard, Leslie, Liddle, Limbrick, Lipp, Lister, Lloyd, Lockhart, Longney, Lothian, Luke, Lyttleton, Macassey, MacDonald, MacKenzie, MacNab, MacRae, Madigan, Madore, Magon, Maguire, Manning, Marbrook, Mardon, Margoliouth, Marshall, Martin, Mathison, Matthews, Maylett, Mayo, McBride, McCarthy, McConnell, McCullough, McCutcheon, McDonald, McFarland, McGhee, McIntyre, McKechnie, McKenzie, McLeod, McNabb, McNiven, McParland, McTavish, McVicar, McVicor, Mead, Mearns, Medcalf, Mellor, Mills, Millwym, Misken, Mitchell, Mooney, Moore, Morgan, Morris, Morrisey, Mott, Muirhead, Murphy, Mutimer, Myers, Nalder, Nattrass, Neal, Neels, Newcombe, Nicholison, Nicholson, Norrie, O’Brien, O’Donoghue, O’Leary, O’Shannessay, Oemcke, Oliphert, Olynsma, Ortquist, Owen, Page, Palliser, Palmer, Parkin, Parnell, Pawson, Payne, Peat, Pelham, Pell, Penn, Peterkin, Peterson, Phillips, Pirie, Plank, Player, Plested, Plowman, Plunkett, Pollock, Pollok, Portas, Pothan, Power, Poynter, Prebble, Prentice, Presling, Pretious, Price, Pufflett, Quarrie, Quinn, Ranald, Rattray, Rayner, Reade, Reading, Reed, Reid, Renn, Renouf, Rich, Richardson, Richdale, Riddleborough, Rigby, Robertson, Robinson, Rogers, Rosewarne, Ross, Rouse, Rowell, Rundle, Russell, Sang, Schwartze, Scorgie, Scott, Selby, Sergeant, Seton, Shadbolt, Shakespeare, Sharp, Shaw, Sherlock, Shirley, Simkin, Simmonds, Single, Skidmore, Skinner, Skippage, Skittrup, Skittrup, Smith, Snadden, Souter, Spackman, Speakman, Spencer, Spenser, Spiller, Spiro, Spivey, Start, Stegall, Stent, Stephens, Stevens, Stevenson, Stewart, Stinnear, Storkey, Streeter, Stuart, Sutton, Swailes, Swailes, Swann, Swartze, Swor, Sykes, Symons, Tait, Tankard, Tanner, Tanzer, Tarplett, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Thomson, Thornton, Tidy, Tilley, Tombs, Tong, Tonkin, Trask, Treacher, Trevor, Tringham, Triston, Truman, Tudehope, Tulloch, Tunnicliffe, Turner, Ulyatt, Upton, Uren, Valentine-Greer, Venables, Vercoe, Viggers, Wakefield, Walker, Wallis, Walters, Wardle, Warrior, Waters, Watson, Watts, Weber, Webster, Welch, Wells, West, Weston, Wharton, White, Whitlock, Whitton, Wilkie, Williams, Williamson, Willis, Wilson, Wilton, Wingate, Winks, Winter, Wishart, Wood, Woolf, Woolley, Work, Wright, Wyatt, Yarwood, Yates, Young, Ziegler.

Business / Organisation

Napier Frivolity Minstrels

Date published


Format of the original


Creator / Author

  • J Sid Henney

Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.