DAVID CLARKE OF CHILWORTH, THEATRICAL DESIGNER, DIRECTOR AND PAGEANT MASTER: RECORDS OF SURREY PRODUCTIONS
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- Ref No: 8147
- Repository: Surrey History Centre, Woking
- Date: 1973-1995
- Format: Archives
- Admin History: David Clarke was raised and educated in Surrey (at Godalming Grammar School and Guildford School of Art, where he studied theatre, costume and tapestry) and he has lived in Chilworth near Guildford, acting as a major force in the theatrical life of south west Surrey, for many years. After obtaining his teaching qualification from Goldsmith's College and completing his National Service, he headed the art department and was responsible for drama at a Surrey co-educational grammar school from c.1958, and later worked for a College of Education in Hampshire.
David Clarke was actively involved with theatre work from an early age: his first pageant was an acting role in the Pageant of Farnham Castle in 1950. While still in the Army, he was appointed a production designer for the Pageant of Guildford in 1957. He also acted for the Chantry Players, the Richmond Shakespeare Society, the Surrey Community Players and Polesden Lacey Open Air Theatre. While teaching, he founded the Cloister Players, which specialised in large scale costume productions in settings such as cathedrals and castles. He designed and directed for them over many years (venues included Guildford Cathedral, Guildford Castle, Loseley Park, Farnham Castle, Salisbury Cathedral, Cowdray Castle, Sussex, and Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Cornwall).
In 1973, Mr Clarke was appointed as artistic director of the Guildford Festival, and left the teaching profession to further his theatrical career. He was Pageant Master of the Guildford Pageants of 1968 and 1977 (and was awarded a Silver Jubilee Medal in the same year) and 1995 and Pageant Master of the Farnham Pageant of 1988. Mr Clarke was Guildford Festival director until 1996. Aside from his work in Surrey, he has staged productions in York, Winchester, Salisbury, Exeter, Chichester, Newquay and Carlisle among other places. Mr Clarke has also researched the history of pageants and the history of English tapestry, and produced several films.
- Level: Collection
- Related Material: For other records of David Clarke's work, 1957-2000, see 6798/file4 (Pageant of Guildford, 1957), 7523/file2 (A Pageant of England, 1968), 7523/file1 (Guildford Festival Pageant, 1985), 7523/file1 (Farnham Pageant, 1988), and 7603 (The Violent Valley, 2000).
- Access Status: Open. There are no access restrictions.
- Provenance: Presented by Mrs J Clarke of Chilworth on behalf of Mr Clarke in June 2007. -/6 was presented by Mrs Clarke in September 2010.
- Bibliography: Information in the introduction is drawn from fuller accounts in the programmes, in particular, -/4. -/2-4 include a brief introduction to the history of modern pageants by Mr Clarke.
- For more information contact: Surrey History Centre Collections Catalogue
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