The Drama Group of Monaco
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The Drama Group of Monaco is a non profit making organisation based in Monaco dedicated to performing English language plays and musicals on the Cote d'Azur.

A brief history

The Monaco Drama Group has its origins as early as 1965, when founder-members Joan Hall and John Simpson started play-readings purely for the enjoyment of the readers themselves. Dues were one franc and readings, the first of which was Dear Octopus, were held in the old Hotel Metropole.

Soon many people were asking to attend and the first public reading was Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, the role of Lady Bracknell being played by Marie Burke, darling of the London stage and a local resident. It was a 'sell-out'!

In 1970, Joan Hall set about formalising the Group. Baroness Jeanne de Rothschild became the first president and other highly successful readings followed including The Constant Wife, Candida and The Chalk Garden in which the lead was taken by Harriette Johns - a Korda film discovery and leading lady on the West End stage.

The first stage production, the popular comedy Love's a Luxury, was in 1974 at the Salle des Variétés and the actors were honoured by the attendance of SAS Prince Rainier and SAS Princess Grace. Subsequent triumphs included When we are Married, The Cherry Orchard and Blithe Spirit.

Even wider fame came in 1981 when a BBC Television team produced a documentary on the activities of the British community in Monaco and an important part of that programme depicted the Drama Group's rehearsals and performance of The Heiress.

1976 saw a new format when John Bromley was brought from the London stage to produce two contemporary plays every spring and autumn and, eventually, a summer Shakespeare production.

In 1983, the Group moved into the newly-opened Princess Grace Theatre with Breath of Spring and continued to play there until 1993 when they moved their productions to the newly built Salle des Variétés. 1985 saw the first performance at Fort Antoine and 1986 at the old Chateau de Roquebrune - both breathtaking, spectacular venues for outdoor theatre. It was in 1985 too that the Principality offered the 'Green Room' in the Stade Louis II for rehearsals, workshops and play-readings.

In 1990, The Elephant Man was directed by one of the members, Pat Lo Verde, and received an outstandingly enthusiastic reception.

Then in 1991 the Group truly came of age with play direction in its own hands. In July, Dracula, directed by Ann Batt, was performed at Fort Antoine and at the Chateau de Roquebrune to a full house every night, and in November, Alan Ayckbourn's popular comedy How The Other Half Loves directed by Pat Lo Verde, was unquestionably a resounding contribution to a continuing string of theatrical achievements. Subsequently Roger Batt directed successful productions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Henry V at the Chateau in Roquebrune, while Anne Batt not only directed The Merchant of Venice and Blood Brothers there, but also wrote and directed her adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

In 1996, aided by generous sponsorship from the Baroness, the group dared to fulfil a long held wish and produce a traditional pantomime. Happily Aladdin, directed by Doreen Higginbottom (aka Anne Batt), was a great success and they have produced a Panto every year (apart from 2004) since. These events, produced and directed by Anne have become an essential part of the English Christmas on the Cote d’Azur.

The group also produced two costumed play readings in St Paul’s Church to benefit the Church’s roof fund and a number of lighter café theatre evenings in association with the British Association of Monaco.

Chronological list of Plays Director
1983Breath of SpringThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1984Day in the Death of Joe EggThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1985A Bedfull of ForeignersThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1985Twelfth NightFort AntoineJB
1986The Chalk GardenThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1986Midsummer Nights DreamFort Antoine & RoquebruneJB
1987The Killing of Sister GeorgeThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1987Wisdom of EveThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1988As You Like ItThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1988Play OnThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1989Comedy of ErrorsThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1989 Night of 16 JanuaryThéatre Princesse GraceJB
1990 All’s Well That Ends WellFort Antoine & RoquebruneJB
1990Elephant ManThéatre Princesse GracePlV
1991DraculaFort Antoine & RoquebruneAB
1991How the Other half lovesThéatre Princesse GracePlV
1992Wuthering HeightsRoquebruneAB
1992Arsenic & Old LaceThéatre Princesse GracePlV
1993The ForeignerSalle des VariétésJB
1994MacbethFort Antoine & RoquebruneRB
1994Run For Your WifeSalle des VariétésJB
1995Talking HeadsSalle des VariétésPlV
1995The Merchant of VeniceFort Antoine & RoquebruneAB
1995Evening of Wit, Humour & ComedySalle des VariétésJB
1996Dangerous LiasonsSalle des VariétésRB
1996AladdinSalle des VariétésAB
1997Blood BrothersRoquebruneAB
1997CinderellaSalle des VariétésAB
1998Goldilocks and the 3 BearsSalle des VariétésAB
1999Henry VRoquebruneRB
1999Sinbad the SailorSalle des VariétésAB
2000Cinderella gets a fellaSalle des VariétésAB
2001Treasure IslandSalle des VariétésAB
2002Golden HaggisSalle des VariétésAB
2003BluebeardSalle des VariétésAB
2005Snow WhiteSalle des VariétésAB
. and sometime there was Café Théatre ….
1998FaustusSt Paul’s ChurchRB
1999‘Allo ‘AlloBistroquetAB
2000A Man for all SeasonsSt Paul’s ChurchRB
2003Abridged ShakespeareBeaulieuSRK
2004Abridged BibleBeaulieuSRK
2004Feathers and BoasBistroquetCMN
2005An Evening with PanacheCafé de ParisCMN