Priscilla Davis was the first Director of Dramatics for the Sudbury Savoyards. Also a member of the Sudbury United Methodist Church, she directed the first five shows along with Betty Farmer. When Betty announced her plan to stage "Trial by Jury," but was most familiar with the music angle, Priscilla allowed that she had some experience in stage work. That experience proved invaluable, and together they collaborated on five productions. Priscilla indeed brought with her considerable experience. A graduate of the Leland Powers School of Theatre in Boston, Priscilla was experienced in both amateur and professional theatre. She had taken part in G&S productions in Boston and she performed with The Village Hall Summer Stock company and the Portland Maine Winter Stock Company. She portrayed leading roles in several productions of the Framingham Community Players, and also directed plays for their children's wing.

Together, Betty and Priscilla broke new ground for the established group we take for granted today. As might be imagined, many members of the church were opposed to adopting a Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire for a church affiliated group, preferring a more religious bent for the fund-raising endeavours. Priscilla was a strong proponent and staunchly defended the G&S operettas, and the end result is what we have here today. While we are familiar with a lengthy list of active people undertaking the numerous roles, in those early years Betty and Priscilla assumed far more roles than their titles imply. There was no Board of Trustees then, so together they directed the show in their respective areas, decided policy, produced the shows, stage-managed, recruited staff, organized refreshments, and closed down the rehearsal space, amongst others. Betty says that their talents were complementary, so they supported each other extremely well in all these roles.

Betty told me one story when one of the leads (Laurie Haworth, in fact) could not make it back from a business trip in time for a show and there were no understudies. Priscilla found that a minister from another Sudbury church had sung the role sometime before and he went on stage unrehearsed, with Priscilla giving him blocking instructions in the wings each time he came off after a number!

Priscilla's daughter, Susan Cincotta, recalls that growing up with all that G&S meant that Priscilla's husband, Charlie, and the three children had little choice but to know all the repertoire. Later this meant always being able to answer all G&S related Jeopardy questions! As children they loved being able to go backstage at the Sudbury Town Hall (where the performances were staged until 1968 before moving to LSRHS) because "Mum was the director!" In 1966 the Davis family moved to Connecticut, but Susan has fond memories of the G&S years and of SUMC. She tells of skating on the pond on the side of Hawes hall, and of the bowling alley built beneath the hall for the youth! They were here through the years when the church was "always adding parts", thanks in part to funds garnered from the success of the Gilbert and Sullivan productions and the extraordinary contributions of time by folks like Priscilla Davis and their families. Thank you and congratulations!

Marianne L. Hatton 2003

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