Some extracts from the many letters of appreciation and thanks sent to Fred and Val over the years of the theatre…
“I felt I must write and express our admiration for the superb production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My wife and I have seen the play in large theatres but none of the performances captured the intimacy of last night when we felt ourselves involved in the dream world created by the cast’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s vision and the wonderful set which was outstanding. Such a memorable evening!” May, 1989.
“….how very much I enjoyed the production of Flare Path. The aircraft taking off sounded as though they were flying right over the Grange itself – it really made one feel ‘prickly’ all over!” November, 2003
“I write to thank everyone concerned with the production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for such an enjoyable evening on Saturday. The setting, the acting, behind the scenes activity, the food, drinks – everything quite perfect. Above all else though the thorough professionalism and yet extreme friendliness of everyone.” July, 1983.
“Wow! You have a great band of people around you…”
“Just to let you know how much I enjoyed Thursday’s performance of Flare Path. It was refreshingly ‘up-beat’ and absorbing, and altogether it was a lovely evening.” November, 2003.
“I had to write to congratulate the whole team for the wonderful performance of Under Milk Wood last evening. The adaptation, the set, the lighting, the acting, speaking and singing all contributed to a splendid production. I think it was the best yet. May there be many more…” June, 2000
“You really are quite amazing, staging consistently high-standard productions within a magical setting – many congratulations yet again. We all thorough enjoyed our Saturday evening and Flare Path and now look forward to next year’s productions….” November, 2003
“…you really are splendid, putting so much effort into your productions and then donating the profits to charity. If there were more people like you around, the world would certainly be a better place….” (undated)
“….we still speak with disbelief of the staging for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I suspect that (shades of Macbeth) you arranged for Cornbury Forest to move to Little Tew!” April, 1993
“…letting you know how much we all enjoyed On Approval and – as always – our whole evening at The Grange. The play was so charming and The Grange, as always, was gorgeous. Our guests were very impressed, as they should be!” May, 2005
“….I hope you know how much we appreciate being on the booking list and the trouble you take to contact your patrons with production details….”
“A note to congratulate you and your company of players and helpers on your excellent production of Flare Path. As always, it was another professional success and we all enjoyed the evening very much. Looking forward to next year’s productions.” December 2003.
“Just a quick note to congratulate you and your company of players and helpers on your excellent production of See How They Run. As always, it was another professional success and we all enjoyed the evening very much.” (undated)
“I would like to say how very much our whole group enjoyed your recent production of Under Milk Wood and we had a Welshman amongst us who said that the Welsh accents were faultless. So, congratulations again!” June, 2000.
“Yet again you have given us the joy of an outstanding production. The lack of individual applause was because we did not want to break the spell, but I’m sure you could sense that we were all with you around the village pump…” April, 2000.
“We so enjoyed and admired the play last night. The play itself is an admirable distillation of the main phases of Disraeli’s life, not an easy one to condense. I had not previously realised that you, Val, had read Victoria’s letters to Disraeli. One knew that he was her favourite and that she detested Gladstone, but I had no idea that her actual letters were extant. And what an excellent cast you assembled. Both Disraeli and Mary Ann could hardly have been better portrayed…..” May, 1994.
“…during the production, my hearing aid failed but my disability meant that I could concentrate on the way the play was being staged. I felt it was as perfect and complete a production as one was likely ever to see. Not only was the casting so admirable but the staging virtually told the whole story and the personalities of the individuals involved. Running it over in my mind this morning my recollection is as vivid as it was at the time…” 22 May.
“Another, without doubt, inspired production. Under Milk Wood is far from easy, yet you kept and maintained the simplicity, the humour and every character grew in front of our eyes. I loved the voices and all the personalities were so well described and painted. My interest never wavered and I think the production was marvellous: creative and lively.” June 2000.
“I would like to congratulate the people who design and build your sets. It never ceases to amaze me how much you achieve in such a small area.” (undated)
“I wish to express my enjoyment of – and admiration for – your biographical play on Disraeli. It gave one a most convincing picture of the man, and was most ingeniously constructed. The production and the casting were also most effective and I much admired your back-cloth of Hughenden. It provided an evening which I shall recollect with pleasure for a long time to come.” December, 1984.
“We consider ourselves fortunate to have seen your latest play on its opening night – Chekhov’s Wild Honey. It was most enjoyable. The cast came over very well and the scenery and sound effects added to the enjoyment”. May, 1996
“Congratulations on the production of Flare Path. ‘Professional’ is a horrid word and often means inferior to amateur, but your production had that right kind of professionalism which means competent performance (except that some of your actors and actresses went far beyond mere competence). A superb set, and fine production, which meant that the play never faltered and the action kept going well all the time…” September, 1974.
“We have just got back from the Grange Theatre and felt I must write straight away to thank you and your group of actors, actresses, technicians and helpers for another superb evening’s entertainment. We thorough enjoyed The Barretts of Wimpole Street. The performance maintained the high standards we have always come to expect from the Grange Theatre. I must tell you that the lady at the end of our row was sobbing uncontrollably during the last act when Mr Barratt was confronting Elizabeth!” December, 1989.
“To all performers and helpers at The Grange Theatre. Just to say a very big thank you for the wonderful performance you gave last Saturday. I really enjoyed Night of the Iguana and would love to have seen it again if I had the chance. I’m sure you all loved doing it and working together. I thought the choice of play was fantastic and I am sure everyone felt like having a little weep at the end. Thank you again.” July, 1986.
“Just wanted to write and say how much we all enjoyed A Touch of Spring on Saturday. It’s a super play. I would love to think our Players could do it some time, but I fear we would not be able to sustain the accents! The Grange players were first-rate and I thought Baldo the finest piece of characterisation I have seen in a long time.” November, 1990.
“This is to express our appreciation of the joy that you bring into so many lives with the theatrical productions at The Grange Theatre. The rendering of The Barretts of Wimpole Street was superb and we would be most grateful if you would kindly convey our delight and best thanks to all concerned. We count it a great privilege to be so warmly welcomed into your home for these entertainments. We consider them to be on a par that anything Stratford or the West End can offer.” December, 1989.
“…these evenings we compare to the old Country House parties of a bygone age.” December, 1989.
“A note to say how much we enjoyed watching See How They Run. Your standards by far outweigh some recent productions in the West End Theatres. Your theatre is known far and wide, and we felt quite privileged to come with a friend last night. May there be many more.” November, 1994.
“We all enjoyed ourselves so much on Wednesday evening. The production of Key for Two was such a delight. I haven’t laughed so uninhibitedly for a very long time! The acting was excellent and the whole set a pleasure to look at. We look forward to the next production.” November, 1985.
“It is so enjoyable having a theatre just up the road and my friends and I have so enjoyed your magnificent production of How Green Was My Valley…””…” May, 1991.
“Dropping you a line to say how much we enjoyed The Darling Buds of May. The television version was a hard act to follow but your company did the job superbly. Many congratulations to Valarie for a first-class job.” November, 1991.
“I must tell you how very enjoyable I found your production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was. The casting, acting, direction were all excellent, the scenery superb, and I have never enjoyed any production of ‘The Dream’ so much. What next wonders will you give to us?” May, 1989.
“We so enjoyed last evening’s performance of Who Goes Home. Disraeli and Mary Ann were marvelous and the supporting cast were good too. The set and scene changes were excellent and we sat entranced by the whole show.” December, 1984.
“Writing to let you know how very much we enjoyed the production of Wuthering Heights. The sets were fantastic and helped so much to evoke a genuine atmosphere of the period. I am sure, Val, you must have felt satisfaction with this incredibly good production and we can but send you our heart-felt thanks for having adapted the story into a play for the stage. I am sure a very demanding and painstaking task, but it certainly has paid off! I’m sure Emily Bronte (where she alive today) would agree….” October, 2004.
“Many thanks again for such a wonderful evening yesterday at Blithe Spirit. We all enjoyed the play in the lovely setting of The Grange so very much. What a great talent you have to bring happiness to so many people – we feel very fortunate that you live in Oxfordshire! We are already looking forward to your next production and I know that now, whenever I hear the song “Always” I shall remember Blithe Spirit at the Grange Theatre. From your very firm fan!” May, 2002.
“I had the pleasure of attending your productions of Harlequinade and Sweet Echo having been invited by some very good friends. I felt I must write and tell you how much I enjoyed the atmosphere, the venue, the cordial welcome I received when I arrived and the parting smile when I left. Let alone to say the wonderful performances of all concerned and no doubt, enormous efforts from those off stage.” April, 1984.
“The memory of an evening at The Grange Theatre lingers with impressive effect. No wonder your audiences keep coming and your mailing list is fully subscribed!” (undated)
“I write to say how very much enjoyed Night of the Iguana. It was a splendid production, in a brilliant setting, which gave a remarkable feeling of heat and tension. And the acting was admirable – as we have come to expect from the Grange Theatre.” July, 1986.
“My wife and I had the privilege of attending the Grange Theatre on Thursday last and immensely enjoyed the performance of Who Goes Home….”….” December, 1984.
“We had such a delightful evening at your production of Absent Friends and felt I must write to say how much we enjoyed your play. Your theatre was small, so we in the audience felt part of the production. The acting, the staging, the costumes, in fact the whole production was of the highest order…” December, 1984.
“My husband and I enjoyed your recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream so very much and would like to thank you, and all the members of your team for such a wonderful evening’s entertainment. We were really transported into a fairylike world and were very impressed with the illusion of space created by the stage setting, not to mention the many entrances and exits from different parts of the stage, which added an unexpected note. A truly memorable performance.” May, 1989.
“Congratulations on yet another fabulous show. Best wishes to the company. (Contract arranged for an extended run at the Barbican!)” (undated)
“Thank you so much for enabling us to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As with all your productions, it was pure joy. We both enjoyed the theatre so much; the pace never flagged, it was so funny and the scenery delightful – a mysterious forest with hidden entrances and a hollow tree for Puck to conceal himself and make more magic. The lighting had done much to depict a large forest and the set was superb.” May, 1989.
“After meaning on several occasions to attend a production at the Grange Theatre, we finally managed to get to the Christmas production about the Barretts of Wimpole Street. We thought everything about the Theatre was as delightful and unique as we had heard, and your personal welcome made it seem more like a gathering of friends than anything involving formal arrangements. Thanks to you and your wife for providing so much real pleasure, which I heard echoed by many people in the audience. We would very much like to come to future productions, and I ask to be put on your mailing list….” January, 1990.
“Thank you for such an outstanding evening. We are full of admiration for Who Goes Home. Many congratulations. We look forward to next season!” December, 1984.