and Jill at the Diamond Jubilee of the SCDF
Owen - Patron
is a well-known journalist and TV presenter of the news, on the BBC News Channel
and BBC One. He was born in London and initially educated at Hamsey Green Primary
School just up the hill from the Barn Theatre. He began his journalistic career
at the Surrey Mirror in 1964, soon moving to Fleet Street and thereafter switching
to television reporting in 1981, since when he has become a household name. He
moved from the BBC to ITN and after having been there for over 20 years he returned
to the BBC in 2007 where he continues to present news and current affairs programmes.
As a Strictly Come Dancing contestant he was voted off in the first week of the
show in 2006 which he felt confirmed the news desk was the best place for him.
a member of Reigate Amateur Theatrical Society (RATS) he enjoyed the live stage
and has taken part in this festival and on the Barn stage, as a competitor, when
in 1977 he won the Best Actor Award in Two Gentlemen of Soho.
Perry - Vice Patron
was in her final year at school when she became a founder member of both the then
Student Players (now known as The Oxted Players) and the Oxted Operatic Society.
She met her husband Brian Styles when he was in charge of lighting for the Pantomime
in 1950, they were married in 1952 and continued to work together at the Barn
for many many years. During those years Jill played most of the leads in the Operatic
shows until a production of Iolanthe in 1957 when she was seven months pregnant
- definitely unsuitable for the part of Phyllis, a ward of court!
Betchworth Festival was always a highlight of the year and Jill was fortunate
to be mentioned in the runners up for Best Actress many times. Then in 1979 she
received the highest accolade as Best Actress for her portrayal as the maid in
A Respectable Establishment. The opening of the play was a solo performance by
the maid with two pages of monologue.
Jill still delights in being present as part of the audience in the many productions
staged at the Barn Theatre and is delighted to be Vice-Patron of this festival
which has been brought back to the high standard that we enjoy today.