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An honoured guest at Blue Stockings

Guildburys were delighted to welcome former Mayor of Guildford, Bill Bellerby to the Friday evening performance of ‘Blue Stockings’.

Bill Bellerby

Bill is pictured with Blue Stockings director, Gilly Fick, Guildbury chairman Rob Sheppard and members of the cast and production team.

 

Guildburys dedicated their production of ‘Blue Stockings’ to Bill’s wife, Doreen, who passed away aged 95 on March 15. Bill and Doreen Bellerby were passionate supporters of Guildford theatre and Doreen worked tirelessly for women’s rights. Its subject matter would have greatly appealed to her, being about the battle for women’s higher education and their fight to be awarded the degrees they were denied purely because of their sex.It seemed particularly appropriate therefore to dedicate our production of this play to Doreen. During the interval Bill described how she had been summoned in 1965, by the then Home Secretary, and asked to write a report on equality for women which was to be delivered to the government. She maintained that passion and commitment throughout her life.

Bill and Doreen both served terms as Mayors of Guildford and were weekly attenders at The Electric – indeed, they were instrumental in the development of Guildford’s Electric Theatre as a focus for local community theatre. The studio theatre in Guildford’s new G-Live venue was named ‘The Bellerby Studio’ in honour of these 2 great supporters of the arts in Guildford.

In recent years Doreen’s failing health meant they were unable to take their customary front row seats at The Electric, and this was the first time that Bill had been to see a show there since 2011. We were thrilled and honoured that he accepted our invitation to attend. He enjoyed the show enormously and commented that Doreen would have loved it. He appreciated all the nuances of the story and of the production commenting that it was so good we should tour it. Praise indeed from someone who has seen a LOT of theatre!

The production featured a number of period projection images and the closing projection dedicated the Guildbury production to Doreen Bellerby – as soon as the text appeared the audience broke into spontaneous applause which was very touching and at 98 Bill still managed to make a speech – what an extraordinary man.

 

Doreen-Bellerby-3-480 Bellerby Presentation
Bill and Doreen at the opening of the G-Live Bellerby Studio The Bellerbys attend Guildburys ‘Playhouse Creatures’ in 2007

 

 

 

Published on: April 1st, 2015

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