Skyvers written by Barry Reckord

Venue 1: The Theatre Upstairs (at The Royal Court)
Opened: June 24, 1971
Venue 2: The Roundhouse
Opened: September 8, 1971
Production Company: Knightsbridge Theatrical Productions
Director: Pam Brighton
Design: Charles Dunlop
Lighting 1:Liz Wells
Music 1: Piano performed by Michael Coveney
Deputy Stage Manager 1: Sally A. Crocker
Assistant Stage Manager 1: Phillip Hill
Student Stage Manager: Michael Coveney
Production Assistants 1: Mimi Kingsley, James Nicola, Justin Milne

Mike Kitchen ... Cragge
Cheryl Hall ... Helen
Mike Grady ... Colman
Jo Blatchley... Brooke (1)
Jonathon Bergman ... Brook (2)
Billy Hamon ... Adams
Jonathon Bergman ... Jordan (1)
Louis Cabot ... Jordan (2)
William Hoyland ... Freeman (1)
Malcolm Ingram ... Freeman (2)
Dallas Cavell ... Headmaster
Leonard Fenton ... Webster
Pam Scotcher ... Sylvia

Director's Notes:
"Skyvers" is a play that has been kicking around in my head for years now, a play that I'm always amazed is done so infrequently - not so much because of the play's merits as a play, but because the area of life which it investigates should be an integral part of our theatrical landscape. Not only does the play concern itself with absolutely critical issues like what's happening in the majority of schools, but it deals with these issues in a completely accessible way.

When we as a group started work on the play the text was already ten years old. To our surprise we found that the kids in the play were essentially the same; it was the character of the young teacher, Freeman, that needed the most changes. In the original version he is a concerned liberal, convinced of the validity of the simple course of action of rescuing the "bright boys" for a couple of years in the Sixth.

During our work on the play (with major changes between the Royal Court and the Round House) we found it necessary to make Freeman even more radical, desperate and involved with the boys. As he questioned his position more and more, he became more and more like the young teachers who came to see the play - highly critical and discovering almost weekly the need for change, not only in the education system, but in everything that a change in the education system implies. I think this is the most optimistic note that the play and our work on it reached - it reflects more than anything a change in the teaching profession and all that, hopefully, that change will stand for.

Something which I've found interesting in our work on the play is that no-one involved in the production had anything like the kind of educational experience that it reflects - being at the bottom of the pile and knowing it. We'd all been to grammar schools, enlightened comprehensives and stage schools. But in our exploratory work we found a total and shared experience in our hatred of school. If the play has a vitality a 'life', it is the life we found in releasing our own adolescent frustrations and fantasies.

"If we can't change the fucking places, lets burn them down!" That's what we found "Skyvers" to be about - hopefully we reflected it in our version of the play.

- Pam Brighton

Source: All information and images from the "Skyvers" Roundhouse programme. From the private collection of Mr Rob Wilton, used with permission and grateful thanks.

The "Skyvers" very basic programme from the original run at The Royal Court, Theatre Upstairs.