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Local Hero: "Hollywood on Thames"

7:30pm Sunday  
21st March  2004 

Doors open 6pm
Pre-Concert Talk Starts 6:30pm

The Playhouse
Hurst Grove
Walton on Thames
Surrey KT12 1AU

Surrey Brass
Musical Director Tom Hammond

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

Click on poster to download A4 version

Film Music Concert Poster 21 March 2004

Surrey Brass present a unique multimedia show to celebrate the local film industry, its people, and music for the closing concert of Sonic! the Elmbridge Music Festival featuring New Music to acc - original compositions and new arrangements by John Hughes  commissioned by Surrey Brass are given their world premiere. The concert will feature several of Hepworths' rarely shown films, together with other visual material to complement the music. More 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 Simon Brown, from the British Film Institute, an international authority on Cecil Hepworth and his films, 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, presented by Elmbridge Museum, who maintain a large amount of memorabilia about the local film industry.  

This is Tom Hammond's first 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. 

Surrey Brass acknowledge the generous support from the sponsors of this 
Sonic Festival



Silent Movie Music
ilms by Cecil Hepworth
Music by John Hughes
More information about the films here.

 links to film clips here ...


Noisy Movie Music

  • "Sing Sing Sing"

  • "Spitfire" Prelude and Fugue - William Walton as featured in 
    "The First of the Few (1943)

  • Music from James Bond films

  • Music from Spaghetti Western films

  • Star Wars Medley - John Williams

  • more...

Note: Although we anticipate to play the listed music, the musical programme may be subject to change. 
Expect unprogrammed additions for your enjoyment!

Tickets and Programmes

Past event so ticketing information deleted.

Venue Information

The Playhouse

Hurst Grove
Walton on Thames
Surrey KT12 1AU

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.

Pre-Concert and Interval refreshments are available at the Theatre Bar. 

Public Transport

Click the button for Train information. 

  • Rail: Nearest Station Walton on Thames. 
    Frequent service from Waterloo 27 minutes.

  • Tube: Nearest tube Wimbledon then Rail as above.

 Click the button for Bus information.


Very limited parking is available at The Playhouse and on the surrounding streets. 

Try parking in the Sainsbury's multi-storey carpark which is about 100 metres nearby.


"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

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