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Gryphon Gallery: Remembering The Happiest Days of Your Life

Gryphon Gallery
In May 1977, members of the Glenlyon staff put on a full length play named The Happiest Days of Your Life.

One of the greatest achievements a school can boast is that long after their students have left, they will be able to reflect back and say, “those were the happiest days of my life!” Valuable and important sentiments that, in this case, were possibly true for staff as well and serve as an easy segue to an event that happened almost 50 years ago.

In May 1977, members of the Glenlyon staff put on a full length play named The Happiest Days of Your Life. It was a British farce written by John Dighton, and it depicts the complications that ensued when, during World War II, an all-girls school is evacuated from London to avoid the Blitz. Due to an administrative error the female students and staff are relocated to a boys school. 

On staff at the time were a group of keen performers who were able to persuade others on staff to join them in this dramatic adventure. It was promoted as a wonderful opportunity to use their talents and show the students and parents another side of the staff who taught at the school. The project was under the directorship of Dougal Fraser, an alumni of Glenlyon ‘59 who had returned as a Grade 7 English and Drama teacher at the school.


The cast for the play that ran for three very successful evenings included: (left to right) Graham Hunter (Grade 10 Science), Evelyn Hunt (Lower Primary), Hamish Simpson (Headmaster), Margaret Gwilliam (Upper Primary), Madeleine Groos (Choir), Diana Walker (NHS student), David Bennett (Grade 5), Margery MacQuarrie (Lower Primary), Jenny Charlesworth (Sailing), Martin Walker(Glenlyon student) David Auld (PE), Keith Walker (Gr.9, Assistant Headmaster), Alastair Glegg (Grade 8, French/Latin), Production Staff included: Stuart Brambley (Grade 4), John Crawford (Grade 6), Dorothy Murray (Secretary), Vicki Bennett, Brenda Brambley, Peggy Glegg (wives), Tim Anderson, Kevin Bertles, Andrew Harmsworth and Jevon Thow (students).

The photo is of the final moment in the play, after an external inspector is misled by staff to believe this is a fine example of a co-educational school and announces that another co-educational school is about to join them to escape the bombing with understandable reaction from the cast.  There certainly have been other productions by NHS, Glenlyon and GNS when staff have been included with a predominantly student cast, but to the best of my knowledge, The Happiest Days of Your Life has been the only production in the school’s 110 year history of a basically all-staff full length production up to now.