59 thoughts on “Dovecot Art Centre

  1. I currently have an exhibition in Stockton Central Library. Some of the photographs are of staff performers and Level Theatre group, I was resident photographer there towards the end of the 70’s

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  2. The first time I saw Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same” was in The Dovecote Arts Centre – 1980, if memory serves me well – which it probably doesn’t. I remember going in there to the cafe in the early mid 1970’s with my mother when on the way out of Stockton – happy days! I think it was painted predominantly yellow and/or orange?

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    • Well, distant memories, Al Cox on Broadway well I never, but no surprises to those who knew you, meme, meme certainly, certainly.

      A few idle reminiscences hands up all those who remember:

      The Caucasion Chalk Circle
      The Italian Strawe Hat
      Lysistrata
      The legendary ‘Ethel’ Master Mcphail’s slightly camp, but ever so chic whire afghan coat.
      The stacking of chairs and the endless putting up and down of rostra, moving ‘blacks’ and preparing the studio.
      The strange ‘calm’ of the control room and that wonderful mixing desk and old reel to reel taperecorders!

      I often remember Al Cox, stuck up the taliscope fiddlling with a freznel, battling with a barn door all in the aid of setting the right ambiance.

      My weeks often consisted of every night Friday film nights, who remebers that damn makeshift editing desk, where would check the dodgy splints and repair them before setting up the projector?

      Then preparing for the kids and on Saturday moring and the Saturday afternoon disco before some evening often an elcelctic mix of culture and craft.

      Some other names I remember in no particular order:

      John Remmer, Dave Beeton, John Beaument, Jez Diggle, John Marsh, Ian McPhail, Linda Carr, Alan Sawyer, Bill ? who did remarkable charcoal drawings that I have been trying to emulate ever since…tall John ? who was trying to get into one of the London drama schools, who I once had the delight of listening to his attempt at the Queen Mab speech.

      A few others I can vaguely recall, but not with much clarity Dave the dancer? Pat, who I enjoyed escorting to the bus stop on several occasions, Ken and Irene? And, not forgetting the ‘van’.

      The Dovecot was an strange alchemy of slightly bizarre people, odd experiences, bad food all washed down grim coffee but always with a side helping of laughter and self deprecation.

      Who can forget the evening’s spent in the upstairs bar, or along the road at the ‘Clarry’ or the more raucous afternoon’s and night’s spent downstairs in the Talbot, and the occasional sophisticated evening in the swallow hotel bar?

      Fond memories indeed of more innocent times. To all who’s path I crossed, I hope that life is good and that the world has given you what you wished.

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      • Well I fondly remember many a happy hour at the Dovecot. Every time I see Judy Dench I think of Johnny Marsh.

        I was in two of the productions you mention, a certified Herald from Sparta in Lysistrata, and Asdak in Cauc. Chalk with the guys and gals from Youth Theatre Workshop, directed by the absolutely fabulous Anne Pierson. Other productions I appeared in we’re as follows:- The Hostage, Peer Gynt, Canterbury Tales(a tour de force by Anne), Habeus Corpus.

        Oh and not forgetting the Wine and Food nights I organised along with Tom Langton. I will ever forget the medieval banquet, the prohibition night with a genuine police raid and all alcohol served in tea cups, the Blazing Saddles night, Caribbean night complete with harbour, and the Geordie Night with John Cunningham and Chris?

        I now live in York and after a 30 year absence back doing drama; currently rehearsing for Hamlet as 1st Clown.

        Love to anybody who remembers any of the above events.

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        • Yes Bill, a ‘certified’ Heraldl. “I have a message from Sparta” in a strong Geordie accent with a scroll carried beneath your tunic in a very provocative manner.

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  3. The Dovecot Arts Centre was a brilliant music venue. William Jones was responsible for their booking policy. What I loved about the place was there were no bouncers and everyone was fairly relaxed. I saw some cracking bands there: Age of Chance, Asphalt Ribbons (pre-Tindersticks), Band of Holy Joy, The Bodines, Edwyn Collins, Felt, Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, The Housemartins, Jack Rubies, Jamie Wednesday (pre-Carter USM), June Brides, Martin Stephenson and Daintees, Mighty Lemon Drops, The Shamen, Shop Assistants, Television Personalities, The Triffids, Voice of the Beehive, Weather Prophets, The Wedding Present, The Wolfhounds and Yeah Yeah Noh, the latter two both playing in Manchester just last week performing in memory of the late John Peel. Of course he had his own band Friends and record label Summerhouse. It was also a great venue for local bands to play. It’s not the same at The Arc.

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  4. Hi Pat! – Filling in the blanks – John Remmer, Jimmy Murray and Dave the plumber – occasional apperances by Hank and Jack. The weekends spent with an arthouse film showing on Friday – usually way over my head – turning the studio round for a Saturday afternoon disco and again for wine/folk or whatever Saturday night. The combination of hard work, great company and the odd beer made for some of the best times. After I took a full time job at the place some of the gigs were truely bonkers – TIE shows, back room of the Horse and Jockey and the epic Taste of Honey Tour including nursing a very knackered ex GPO van accross the A66 to take the show to the Brewery. JP – thanks for the tip about always taking your own loo paper on tour and I did learn to play the guitar eventually, did you keep that Fylde you had?

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    • Alan- I went to Hardwick sec with Jimmy and John, I think Jimmy moved to London and got some sort of a job in television, John sadly passed away a few years ago, he can’t have been much more than 50.

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      • Hello Peter

        Sadly I don’t remember you from either Hardwick or the Dovecot, but I do remember John Remmer and I am very sad to hear that he has passed away.

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    • Well, distant memories, Al Cox on Broadway well I never, but no surprises to those who knew you, meme, meme certainly, certainly.
      A few idle reminiscences hands up all those who remember:
      The Caucasion Chalk Circle
      The Italian Straw Hat
      Lysistrata
      The legendary ‘Ethel’ Master Mcphail’s slightly camp, but ever so chic white Afghan coat.
      The stacking of chairs and the endless putting up and down of rostra, moving ‘blacks’ and preparing the studio.
      The strange ‘calm’ of the control room and that wonderful mixing desk and old reel to reel tape recorders!
      Not forgetting the social relism of Peter Terson, Edward Bond and Arnold Wesker, we did indeed have chips with everything!
      I often remember Al Cox, stuck up the taliscope fiddling with a freznel, battling with a barn door all in the aid of setting the right ambiance for some exotic production?
      My weekends often started with Friday film nights, who remembers that damn makeshift editing desk, where we would check the dodgy splints with deft hands of Al Cox able to quickly repair them before setting up the projector?
      Then preparing for the kids and on Saturday morning and the Saturday afternoon disco before some evening often an elelctic mix of culture and craft.
      Some other names I remember in no particular order:
      John Remmer, Dave Beeton, John Beaument, Jez Diggle, John Marsh, Ian McPhail, Linda Carr, Alan Sawyer, Bill ? who did remarkable charcoal drawings that I have been trying to emulate ever since…tall John ? who was trying to get into one of the London drama schools, who I once had the delight of listening to his attempt at the Queen Mab speech.
      A few others I can vaguely recall, but not with much clarity Dave the dancer? Pat, who I enjoyed escorting to the bus stop on several occasions, Ken and Irene behind the ‘coffee bar’? And, not forgetting the ‘van’.
      The Dovecot was a strange alchemy of slightly bizarre people, odd experiences, bad food all washed down grim coffee but always with a side helping of laughter and self deprecation.
      Who can forget the evening’s spent in the upstairs bar, or along the road at the ‘Clarry’ or the more raucous afternoon’s and night’s spent downstairs in the Talbot, with the occasional sophisticated evening in the Swallow hotel bar thrown in for good measure?
      Fond memories indeed of more innocent times. To all whose path I crossed, I hope that life is good and that the world has given you what you wished.

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      • Didn’t get into drama school but ended up at Wimbledon School of Art where I studied theatre design which I have been doing ever since. I fondly remember the Dovecot. “The Italian Straw ” and “Lysistrata” for which I painted back cloths and made cardboard friezes for the “Acropolis”.

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  5. I redesigned the Logo when at college in Middlesbrough in 1986. I said the old one looked like three crows shot with a gun. So designed a new one. Sorry to see it is closed now.

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  6. I spent the last couple of years of school practically living in the Dovecot and did a bit of work in the coffee bar in the hols and evenings. Remember learning how to make omelettes to feed the staff when the coffee bar was closed and the only thing Irene had left out were the eggs. We used to help Tom the Chef and his mate who ran a wine shop (Bill?) run wine evenings with matching food and did some waitressing in Crathorne Hall for a summer fete while Lord Crathorne still lived there. (He was one of the patrons)
    Staff I remember were Phillip Ellis , Anne Pierson (who went on the run the Brewery in Kendal) Linda Carr and John Marsh, then John Pierce, Malcolm McGivern and Ann who married one of the amateur actors. Irene who was Irish and ran the coffee bar and of course Jose. Some of the young people’s theatre guys I remember are Alan Cox, Steve ? and John (Remmington)? and Jimmy? They were probably a year or two younger than me but we had fun!
    Then there were the theatre productions by staff and Actors Workshop – still have a number of programmes for those.
    Later, after I was working, there were the folk nights and that led to a whole other life… Good to see some names I recognise on here – Alan Cox – hi Alan! – John Pierce, Jose and of course John Bond.
    When I retired from librarianship last year I picked up a casual ushering job at ARC so I’m now back where I started!

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    • Hello Pat, I do remember you very well you were a very active supporter of The Dovecote Arts Center. I remember the charity night at the Crathorne Hall. As part of the fund raising activities I had to carve a donkey to be raffled at the end of the night. Great memories.

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  7. I was the Dovecot’s Drama Officer from 1985 to 1992. I had been a brief member of Doff Pollard’s youth theatre group around 1980, and after doing a performing arts degree sort of drifted into working at the old place, working freelance initially before being asked to join the permanent full time staff. William Jones was Music Officer, and he had a fantastically vibrant programme of music in the place, full of local and indie bands. Frank Wilson was then the director, and was responsible for booking the touring theatre programme in the centre. I meanwhile ran and taught drama and theatre classes, groups and companies for all ages, 5 years upwards, youth theatre company, three adult theatre companies and so on. We also founded the original Stockton Riverside Festival, still running in a different format to this day. I think I worked on the first 6 of them, putting theatre on the streets in August, a big swan lantern on the Tees, and thousands of people from community groups on the Saturday morning pageant, as well as international street theatre companies (Malabar for instance), as the big culmination events on what was Riverside Park. Lindisfarne and Alan Price played on Saturday nights, as did Maddie Prior and many many others. An unsung hero of the Dovecot was Bill Crudgington, our theatre technician, without whom no show would ever have had lights, sound or much else that kept the place running. Wynn Thompson in the office was also vital to the smooth running of the place. Nowadays, I still get a little thrill whenever I spot another of the children I taught in my various classes appearing in another TV show or film. There was huge talent around, and the Dovecot had a magical way of nurturing and improving it. There was an enthusiasm in the place which I have literally never found in any other place I have ever worked. Happy days.

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  8. Hello John. It has been a nice surprise to hear from you. Thank you for your comment about me. Although I am suppossed to be retired I am still doing interesting carvings and enjoying doing them with the added bonus that I am also carving stone and marble. It is thirty two years since I left The Dovecot Arts Centre and I still feel like you, that I was privileged to have been part of such a tremendous, talented and dedicated team. So many nice memories. On the other hand, when I see the photo of the Dovecot I feel a tremendous sadness that the place does not exist anymore. Such a magnificent building and such a magnificent centre of life, of activites, all in one place yet so many many facets of the Arts. It has been fantastic reading all the comments about the Centre and the kindness towards me. Thank you. Alex, here are some more names for you: Vera the cleaner, a Stocton character. Bell, she was the first manager of the shop, she was a very demure and delicate lady who I think was half French. Mrs Wright, she took over managing the shop. I do remember Fran, he was the maintenance man and he married Jenny who was a very good supporter of the Dovecot Arts Centre. Mel, I am glad you and Jacquelin are still together – I hope you have learnt some Spanish. I do remember the mini van as I remember going to craft fair in Alnwick and I will never know how I took so many carvings, clamps, a carving bench and many more things. Greetings to all of you that loved and supported THE GREAT DOVECOT ARTS CENTRE. 15/02/2012 20:37:03

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  9. Having stumbled over this site a year or more ago I finally decided to join in. Firstly hi to all – John, Jose, Mal and Linda in particular. Adding a few names to Jose’ excellent memory – Ian Mcphail, Jon Cummings, Fran, Ma Floyd. I started as a volunteer and ended up taking my 1st job there in 76 for a year or so. A particular highlight that I’m sure JP will remember was our touring productions – encompassing a clapped out overloaded minivan, snow, no loo paper and at least one venue that had a coin electric meter that we had to feed to keep the lights on! I owe a huge thank you to the place and the people. It gave me a sense of purpose, all of the growing up I could possibly handle, great times and friends and ultimately my career – the spotty kid with terrible fashion sense has even got a show on Broadway.

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  10. I remember John Pierce well and his songs at the monthly folk night. I seem to remember there was a song which included the names of all brands of cigarettes (it wouldn’t be PC now). I also remember the house at Norton and recording a comedy show for Hospital Radio with the Jill Howells and the Outreach Team.

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  11. Might interest you to know John, that two former Dovecote/Radio Tees stalwarts, to wit, myself and Jonathan Nibbs (the Lacklustre brothers) are now living in the same Wiltshire village, where we occasionally have a visit from one Peter John Bergg.

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  12. I remember all the amazing events and classes and people in the mid to late 70’s, because it was my privelege to be there. Jose, a wonderful man and a consummate carver. Malcolm, a willing accomplice. Mike ‘the Mouth’, funny funny & funny etc etc. Looking at the photo I’m remembering the many hours spent in that wonderful warren of a building. Too many highlights, but booking and entertaining Ted Hughes & Roger McGough is a personal favourite (especially as McGough stayed the night at our house in Norton). Then I left & moved up the street to Radio Tees, but that’s another story…

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  13. I was a regular supporter of the Dovecot. The monthly folk night with Mike Elliott was always something to look forward to in the 1970’s. I also remember the Outreach Team to which Malcome Cudmore refers. I worked for the hospital radio service at North Tees Hospital and featured the Outreach comedy show (called ‘Itches and Stitches’) in one of my weekly prorammes. I remember many of the people mentioned by Malcolm (including himself), notably Jon Pierce, Phillip Ellis, Doff Pollard and Gill Howells. I also remember Steph Wilson who took over as Director from Mr Ellis. My aunt, Wynn Thompson, was also a staff member and was responsible for writing a script for an annual pantomime performed by the staff for a specially invited audience. It was at one of these events that I met my wife, we have been together now for 27 years.

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  14. In September 1977, I joined the Community Outreach Team with Jonathan Nibbs, Gilly Howells (now Dimon), Joan Cordingley and Duncan ? (who had previously worked with Brothers Theatre Co in Newcastle). Most of our rehearsals were in the empty (and freezing) Methodist church across the road where there was also Jose, the resident woodcarver! Later we were joined by Doff Pollard. Mal Floyd, John Pierce and Malcolm McGivan were on the main staff together with Lesley ?, and two other guys (art/printing and photography) who’s names I’ve also forgotten. All this was under the leadership of Philip Ellis. Jim Moody joined later I recall. Amongst many other things, we did shows on the estates and pubs in and around Stockton. I taught some dance classes and a songwriting group and did quite a lot of recording in the lighting/sound booth – including a load of John Pierce’s songs which I still have on reel to reel somewhere as well as extracts from a play we did and an interview with Radio Tees. We did regular shows for hospital radio and when Gilly left to work at Radio Tees, Jonathon and I did a lot of voice over work for them as they were just up the road. I still have a cassette of some music I wrote for an ad for a local night club at the time! Later, after a couple of years, I followed Jonathon who went to work at Billingham Forum Theatre in Education Co (later to become Cleveland Theatre Co). Much later in life, while living and working in the Midlands, I became very friendly with a woman (now a potter) who used to attend groups at The Dovecot and who’s best friend was Pat who worked on the reception desk. I’m still in occasional touch with Mal Floyd (as was!), Gilly and Elizabeth and during the 1980s worked with Malcolm McGivan at West Midlands Arts and, while there, also met up again with Carol Gibson who had moved to Birmingham!

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  15. I used to love this place!.. My Mam worked there during the late 70’s and early 80’s. I used to go there Staurday mornings for art & drama, it was a hell of a journey up the stairs to the top of the building where the art room was, but a fantastic place.. loved every minute of it!

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  16. Thank you, Jose, for correcting me – for the last 20 years I’ve mistakenly belived the Dovecote opened in 1970, but your comment made me think again, and I realised I’d got it wrong, it WAS 1971.

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  17. I was in both zigger zagger and the golden pathways annual. I have fond memories of the dovecot I remember trying southern comfort for the first time in the bar and thinking it was cool.

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    • I was in the production of zagger zagger along with a few other I can remember, Barbara (Phils sister) Kevin Mchale, Helen Canwell (who I have recently got back in touch with, I recall a trip to Redcar after one show in Gilly Howells Peugeot… very cramped but fun with about 6 of us in it.

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      • I seem to remember that other people in Zigger (that we were buddies with at school )were Ian Ingram and Graham Sowerby.. eehh them were the days… it would be cool if you could tip us a nod on Facebook. Keep well..

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    • Crikey Phil
      I was also in both Zigger and Golden Pathways, In Zigger I played “Uncle Les” the Yang to Ziggers Ying and remember my fave scene of telling My “wife in the play “Edith” that I had had a Zed in my collection of letters in a game of Scrabble and her basically thinking it was the bravest thing in the world. In Golden Pathways I played “The Head (later to become Ze ‘Ed) in the James Bond sequence. Malcolm McGiven directed and taught me how to do the “sex” scene” with “Ophelia Plenty” without actually fondling her breasts..but looking like I was..Also “Mowgli” anyone remember that Leslie Oates directed and I played Mowgli..Great memories of the “Dovey”, Bill “Crudge”, Chris “the barman”, Frank “lucky bastard” Wilson taking over from Steph (his wife” as she was about to go onto maternity leave.. went to see a play that Frank W wrote called “Sang Fraoid”…

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  18. I remember the Dovecote very well, if I remember correctly in my senile old mind, I went in for the first time on the second day it opened. Jose carving in the lobby, Bill Crudginton running the technical side of the theatre (lights etc), Phil Ellis in overall charge, Ron Berriman doing much Am Dram and the truly wonderful folks who frequented the bar upstairs. Bill Crudgington, Tony the barman (finest ploughmans in the UK), Tony the ex para, the eternally gorgous Dianne, Sue, Dean, Sarah S, Dean’s younger and wiser sister. The most excellent discos on saturday afternoon were another joy. Great times great memories

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    • I remember you and many others you have mentioned. I worked on reception and helped out in the bar or wherever needed. What a wonderful, creative, fun place to work. Some of the happiest days spent in that amazing place. So sad it is no more.

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  19. I too was taught Ballroom, ballet and tap by Miss Whitney and Mr Dorman but this dance studio was up the side of a pub in the High Street but I cant remember the name of the pub – a little along from the Odean.

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  20. The Dovecote open on the 29th of April 1971. There was a photograph in the Gazzete of me carving the figure Christ. The original staff as Irember were: Philip Ellis the Director, Anne Pearson the assistant director ,Linda Carr(the lady you had a big crush on Dave Brown). The secretary was Pat(a very gentle and nice person). She was ably assisted by Carol Gibson, a great girl with a fantastic sense of humour and also a very good Boro supporter. There was John Marsh a very talented and nice human being. Upstairs there was the silk screen printing room wich was run by Chris Parol and Anne Pennington. On the top floor there was the weaving department wich was run by Glen. There were three other girls doing the weaving.
    There was also a very talented silversmith called Sue Litle.
    Downstairs the coffeebar was run by a georgeous and very good cook called Irene.

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    • I have only just found this site so I am somewhat late with my response. My name was Denise Little at that time not Sue but thank you for the compliment Jose. It seems a long, long time ago now although I still have fond memories of my short time there and being part of such an interesting venture.

      I also seem to remember you gave my hair an unusual ‘trim’… I forgive you!

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      • Thank you Denise for forgiving me first for giving the wrong name and second for giving you that “trim”. Nice to hear from you. I hope you are still making beautifull jewellery.

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  21. I have many happy memories of The Dovecot. Back in early 1970 I was 16 going on 17, and a group of us used to hang out at the YM (where the CAB is now) and we somehow got involved with helping the staff at the Dovecot in the last couple of weeks before they opened (I think it was in April of that year).

    I remember Jose Sarabia (lovely guy), Philip Ellis, Susan Pearson, and Linda Carr (though I don’t think I ever knew her surname at the time). I had an incredible adolescent crush on Linda – I was just about to turn 17, she was in her twenties in those crushed velvet pants…..I remember us singing along to The Beatles White Album while we worked in what was becoming the studio.

    Other names I remember: John Marsh, Ann(e) Pennington, Chris Parole (forgive my spelling if it’s wrong)
    Anne had a flat in Wellington Street (remember that?), Chris had one in one of the side roads off Yarm Road.

    The delicious snacks that Mary Scott mentions – oh, the world’s best ham sandwiches, thick cut ham, crusty French bread and mustard, all for 10p! I was an addict!

    I remember Mike Elliot doing the folk club – I also remember towards the end of the 70’s it was done by Dave Cousins (of Strawbs fame) who at the time was Programme Controller at Radio Tees just a few doors away – and a regular at the Clarrie!

    I was sad to see the changes – making it a members only place for a while, and then levelling it to make way for ARC…..for me, The Dovecot was always a more friendly and intimate place.

    Dear me – all this reminiscing is affecting me – Peace and Love to all who remember The Dovecot!

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  22. I was there 1979-80, working mostly with Jim Moody, Nobby Dimon (mostly work with schools) and Doff Pollard (outreach circus project). A great deal of combined arts work, me making sets and props and doing Saturday morning happenings in the Window space of the Dovecot (see photo). Delightful moments: Jim leading an Egyptian Mummy session for primary children; Nobby as WW1 soldier reciting poetry before surly secondary students; flame-throwing Doff on my shoulders in the panto; My huge 3D jig-saw skull held up by a dozen youth theatre members, who hid inside – all done outside the Dovecot entrance as publicity for a performance of Stanislaw Lem’s ‘Solaris’

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  23. I was based at the Dovecot from September “79 to August “80 working as the photographer in residence and contributing graphics to help promote activities at the centre. I worked mostly under the direction of Howard Romp but I was happy to be involved with anything and everything that was going on at the time. It was certainly a diverse and creative team that I was associated with and working alongside them was always a great pleasure. I regret that I didn”t keep in touch with people after I left for Nottingham, Nobby Dimon and John Parkinson in particular, both great comedians. The only person that I do still see from time to time is Doff, who instigated and toured the outreach activities whilst I was there. I”m currently scanning all the photographic negatives that I have of that time onto disc with a view to possibly finding a place to screen them on the internet, but it”s early days. And to finish, hola! to Jose, Jacqueline and I are still together and she continues to speak Spanish fluently.

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    • Hello Mal I shared the top floor with you. You had your dark room on one side of the top floor and I had the other side. As well as teaching wood carving I was teaching senior citizens painting and drawing. I hope you have learn enough Spanish to hold a nice conversation with Jacqueline.

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  24. I was working at the Dovecot in the late 70s, when some of the touring drama productions excited the attentions of local guardians of public morals! – there was a superb programme of events including RSC and Hull Truck, Bread & Puppet, live music and dance, cinema, photography, meet the writer evenings (Roger McGough etc) Despite the dire economics of the time, it was a great place to be – where people came to be entertained, lifted out of themselves or just to hang out with friends – one of whom is now running the arts council, having been a young frequenter at the Dovecot. Often a hilarious place to work, often rocked by melodrama because of the huge personalities ..as well as the quiet ones..a hot house of talent, and a lot of fun.

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  25. Jean,I remember Mrs Joan Walsh very well, she used to make me laugh a lot. She loved the carving clases. You are right, she came to the carving classes from 1978 to 1988. In 1988 I left Stockton to work in York.

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  26. Jose – my late Aunt – Mrs Joan Walsh attended your wood carving classes in the late 70″s/80″s ( might have got years wrong). I still have a lovely carved box that she made there.

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  27. Jose, thanks for the names – you have an excellent memory. I went to your website and your work is exquisite.I remember going into your studio at the Dovecot and enjoying the smell of wood shavings and your obvious love for what you do.

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  28. The best thing about the Dovecote in the early 80″s was that it was a great drinking venue! However it was later changed to a members only bar, so us outsiders decamped to the Stockton Arms and The Green Dragon.

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  29. John, When I was there Boff was outreach drama teacher. She was a lovely girl. She was very popular with the scoolchildren. Linda, The cooks were an Irish girl called Irene and a girl called Sarah who was the sppitting image of the blond girl from Abba. Like I said before I am still making beautiful carvings. You can see them on the internet.

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  30. Linda, The name of the Director was Philip Ellis and the two nice and exotic ladys were Anne Pierson(assistant to the director)and Linda Carr. I am still doing beautiful carvings.

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  31. Jose Sarabia – Were you at the dovecot when the Outreach drama group had characters like Jonathan Nibbs and Howard Romp, both of whom I am still in touch with. Malcom Mcgivern directed my play Barbarian there, with the Dovecot Youth Theatre, and of course I remember you very well. Perhaps you remember those great stalwarts of the dovecot Folk Club, Ye Comfee Travellers, and the Lacklustre Brothers. Indeed my brother Nigel [from Blue Anchor] hosted the folk club there for some time before Mike Elliot took over. It was a funny old place, and I was glad to see the head of Johnny walker just making an appearance still, amongst the greenery in the square named after him, last time I was in the old home town, which certainly doesn”t look the same. Hasta la vista.

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    • John when I responded to your question About the outreach I mistakenly called Doff ,Boff. The reason for that is that when I went to work in York the wife of my boss was called Boff.

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  32. I remember being taught tap & ballet by Miss Whitney but at what I think was the old Congregational Church on Norton Road. This would have been around 1950, she was quite a character, very theatrical! Charles Dorman was her companion I think, she must have moved on to the Dovecot to teach before she retired.

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  33. I remember happy Saturdays at the Dovecot. My first “serious” boyfriend was Ian MacPhail who was a drama teacher there and it was always a lively and interesting place to be. I remember Jose, the woodcarver and I am trying to recall the name of the director at that time and another drama teacher there, a tall and exotic woman – they weren”t from the area and seemed so artistic and flamboyant to a teenager from little old Stockton. The snack bar also made the best cheese sandwiches on crusty French bread!! I also remember it in its earlier incarnation as the YMCA – I used to take ballet lessons there with Miss Whitney (she used to wear gold lame knee length boots) – her husband(?) Mr. Dorman (?) taught ballroom dancing I think. I remember it as rather a dark and scary building at that time.

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  34. I remember The Dovecot as a very creative,exciting and a great place to meet people and do a lot of activities.You could see a film or a play or simply go to the bar for a nice drink. Mary, the scones and dishes were fabulous I know I ate plenty of them. I was the resident Woodcarver.

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  35. At one point the Dovecot had a resident woodcarver, Jose Sarabia, who made beautiful carved portraits of figures associated with the town such as Harold MacMillan and John Walker, which were on exhibition. That made quite an impression on those of us whose only experience of woodwork was two hours a week design and technology at school.

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  36. In the mid 80″s my son was in the Town (Schools) Classical Jazz Band. They played at the Dovecote each Saturday morning. The entrance to the small hall where they played was where the dark double doorway is shown on the photo. Does anyone know who taught these youngsters at the Dovecote?

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  37. Used to work across the road from here, at Sheraton House, on loan from the telephone exchange. Is it my imagination but did they sell rather delicious snacks? I seem to recall buying treats from here on pay day.

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  38. Happy memories of the Dovecot. The monthly folk club was outstanding, hosted by Mike (the mouth) Elliott who managed to attract the top stars from the folk world. In later years, the staff used to perform a pantomime for an audience of invited guests, it was at one of these shows that I met my future wife.

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  39. There was always a great atmosphere there. As a ten year old in the mid-70s, I went to art and drama classes at the Dovecot after school on Fridays. Later, in the 1980s, it was the centre of a lively local music scene and was a regular spot for alternative or “indie” type bands. The music officer then was William Jones, who booked lots of extraordinary bands that you might not usually see in the North East – and was himself a member of a fairly successful band called “Friends”.

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  40. The Dovecot, in the 1970s, on Saturday afternoons, used to have a “disco” in the far room on the ground floor. One”s hand was stamped with the date in black ink on entry to enable easy re-entry to the room, if needed. We thought we looked great in our maxi (ankle length) skirts and white platform shoes, dancing to Roxy Music, Gary Glitter and other glam rock and pop. Our group were friends from our year at school and we taught each other line dances, discussing usual teenage concerns such as who fancies who. Innocent, carefree days.

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