Members of Banbury Cross Players, past and present, young and old, gathered at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, on Thursday March 31 to celebrate founding member Nevill Turner’s 100th birthday.
The evening organised by archivist Clare Lester, began with a fascinating insight (presented by his son, Jem) into Nevill’s education, his move to Canada, and his work life on returning to the UK.
Nevill was then subjected to a gruelling two-minute round of Mastermind. He scored 10 points and no passes on the specialist subject of – you guessed it - Nevill Turner.
Key productions from Nevill’s time with BCP were highlighted with Nevill sharing some of his thoughts and memories of them. First up was Noel Coward’s Hay Fever - BCP’s inaugural production. Then followed Jean Anouilh’s Ring Round the Moon. Hugh Whitemore’s Pack of Lies (directed by Nevill in 1989 and revived by BCP in 2015) was next. And finally came Arthur Miller’s The Crucible which Nevill directed the first ever amateur production of in 1964 and was revived by BCP in 2016.
Cake and champagne were served up with a tribute from BCP’s current Chair Chrissie Garrett, and the assembled members stood to raise a toast to Nevill.
Nevill closed the evening with his own tribute to members no longer with the theatre group, and signed off with a story of The American and The Elizabethan Folk Tunes that almost got him (Nevill) arrested in the 1950s.
A spokesperson for the Banbury Cross Players said: “It’s quite something for a community theatre company to have been running for over 75 years. It’s also quite something when, among their membership, is a founder. And it is quite something else when that member celebrates their 100th birthday.
"A most erudite and entertaining raconteur with extensive theatrical knowledge who BCP members feel privileged to know. Happy 100th Birthday Nevill.”
For more information about the Banbury Cross Players group, which started in 1945, see its website here: https://banburycrossplayers.org.uk/
Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BanburyCrossPlayers