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Loud Music for Silent Films

Sunday, 15 May 2005
The Cecil Hepworth Playhouse - Walton On Thames, Surrey


Loud Music for Silent Films

Surrey Brass
Musical Director Tom Hammond

Browse the lobby exhibition of local film-making history by Elmbridge Museum

Doors open 6pm
Pre-Concert Talk Starts 6:30pm
by Nick Molteno of the Elmbridge Museum.

About the Concert

Cecil Hepworth was a pioneering film maker who lived and worked in Walton on Thames at the turn of the 20th Century.

The concert will feature several of Cecil Hepworths' rarely shown films, together with other visual material to complement the music. We feature the World Premiere of an original soundtrack by Rob Davies for the film "Oh'Phelia" (1919) commissioned by Surrey Brass. This early cartoon has not been shown in public for many years and a copy has been provided by the British Film Institute specially for this performance.

More films from Hepworth are featured with soundtracks previously commissioned and performed by Surrey Brass in 2004, from local composer John Hughes are given a well-deserved repeat performance - they were very favourably received by the audience at their world premiere last year!  

Information about the life and films of Cecil Hepworth can be found here. The Surrey Brass page about Hepworth is here.

Surrey Brass are delighted that Nick Molteno, Director of the Elmbridge Museum will be presenting a pre-concert talk starting at 6:30pm. This will be a fascinating glimpse into local history as well as a sneak preview for the show. Between the talk and the show, you can enjoy a drink from the bar while browsing a fascinating foyer exhibition about Hepworth, also presented by Elmbridge Museum, who maintain a large amount of memorabilia about the local film industry.  

Modern film music will be featured too, with tunes from favourite blockbuster movies! See below for details.

This is Tom Hammond's second appearance as Guest Conductor with Surrey Brass. Surrey Brass have rapidly developed a keen audience following numerous local events since their formation including Golden Jubilee Fanfare contest, airplay on BBC Southern Counties Radio, and appearances at RHC Wisley backing Alan Price and The Bootleg Beatles. 

This concert will be attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Elmbridge.


silent music




Music by Rob Davies 

Films by Cecil Hepworth
More information about the films here.
 links to film clips here ...



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Last year's Show.....

"Local Hero: Hollywood on Thames" 
Surrey Brass - Walton on Thames Playhouse 
Sunday 21st March 2004

Sunday evening saw the nostalgic return of Walton on Thames to those heady days when it was "Hollywood on Thames", the hub of the British film industry.

Walton Playhouse (the last surviving building of the original Walton studio complex) hosted an enthusiastic audience who were treated to a showing of previously unseen films by local hero, Cecil Hepworth - a driving force behind British film-making of the early twentieth century.

Reactions in the hall proved that the five films dating from 1899 to 1915 were just as fresh and entertaining today as they were with the original audience, but this time accompanied by wonderful brand new scores composed by local composer John Hughes and premiered by Surrey Brass, who were directed by Tom Hammond. This "innovative and entertaining brass ensemble" perfectly captured both the spirit and whimsicality of "The Dog Outwits the Kidnappers" and the moody magnificence of "Burnham Beeches".

The movies featured either Hepworth himself (as the dastardly villain seizing his young daughter Elizabeth only to be outwitted by the family dog, Blair - who undoubtedly stole the show!) or renowned actresses of the silent movie era Chrissie White and Alma Taylor, both of whom lived in or around Walton. Many of the scenes were shot in the locality and places such as Church Square, Shepperton were still recognisable today, adding to the considerable local interest. The pre-concert talk by Simon Brown, the eminent early film expert from the British Film Institute, gave a fascinating insight into the life and times of Cecil Hepworth and his film company. The show was particularly appreciated by VIP guest Valerie Williamson, Hepworth's daughter, who had not seen any the films before and particularly liked "Burnham Beeches".

John Hughes captured the essence of the films, never detracting from the films themselves but complimenting them with music that, as one 12 year old in the audience remarked "seemed as if it had always been there".

After a short interval, the audience was treated to only the second performance ever in the UK of a Phil Snedecor arrangement of "Sing, Sing, Sing" previously made famous by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra. Surrey Brass, now risen like a mighty theatre Wurlitzer from the Playhouse orchestra pit to the relative comfort of the Playhouse stage, demonstrated their musical versatility bringing to life film images ranging from the tumbleweed from Enrico Morricone's "Once Upon A Time In The West" to the light sabres of "Star Wars" dramatic musical score.

The appreciative audience, including a encouragingly large number of young folk, local film buffs and historians, the Deputy Mayor and several Councillors thoroughly enjoyed the evening and demanded an encore - Surrey Brass duly obliged with "Those Magnificent Men in the Flying Machines".

Steven Bishop

Contact information

Surrey Brass Secretary


The Cecil Hepworth Playhouse
Hurst Grove
KT12 1AU
Walton On Thames
United Kingdom
Venue Capacity:
Facilities for Disabled:
Contact Venue
Nearest Train Station:
Walton On Thames
Cycle Access:
Sainsbury's multi-storey carpark about 100 metres nearby


The Playhouse is the last surviving building from Cecil Hepworth's film studios which flourished in Walton on Thames between 1986 and 1924. Formerly the Hepworth studio electricity generating house, using diesel generators taken from captured German WW1 submarines, it was bought and turned into the home for the local amateur dramatic society and is now operated by Elmbridge Council.