Play scripts and programmes dating from the early to mid 1920s show that Sherriff had begunlearning the art of writing plays several years prior to Journey’s End. He wrote at least six plays on an amateur basis, often as a means to raise funds for local causes and organisations, including Kingston Rowing Club. His first play, a one-act farce called A Hitch in the Proceedings, premiered at the Gables Theatre in Surbiton in 1921. In this play a motley crew of would-be day trippers fuss and argue while they wait for their motor coach to leave.
Surviving cast lists indicate that Sherriff acted in several of these early plays, including a turn as the bumbling Reverend Cuthbert Muffitt in The Woods of Meadowside, first performed in 1922. Muffitt plans to bring two wealthy college friends to a picnic, at which the ambitious Mrs Pepper hopes to matchmake her daughter with the two men. These plans go awry when Muffitt bumps into three fugitive racecourse thieves who easily manipulate him into letting them impersonate his friends. Chaos ensues, and one of Mrs Pepper’s daughters falls in love with one of the thieves.
Click on the links below to see the exhibition text and images: