Tony Kilshawe moved to Deal after a successful stage career and lived in Keppel Cottage, 146 Middle St. He was involved with The Guild Players from 1963 up to his death in 1978.
His arrival was something of a landmark event in The Guild Players’ history and he rapidly became the driving force inspiring it to continually raise the standard, scope and sheer number of productions. He transformed The Guild from a very modest church-related group with limited aspirations to a much more serious minded organisation with ambitions to be the very best it possibly could.
He was at the forefront of everything The Guild did and was often the Director and the lead actor. During the 1960s and 1970s there were seldom fewer than 4 productions a year, rising to 6 in the 2 years after his arrival (1964 and 1965) and reaching an astonishing peak of 7 in 1967.
In December 1978 an Extraordinary Guild Players Meeting decided that, as a tribute and memorial to him, the theatre name would be changed from The Little Theatre to The Kilshawe Theatre. The name change is honoured to this day in recognition of an inspirational and much loved figure and an acknowledgement that without Tony Kilshawe's significant involvement with The Guild Players at a crucial early stage it most likely would have faded away like most small amateur theatre groups inevitably do.
Although no-one currently involved in the group met Tony, we always proudly erect The Kilshawe Theatre sign above the door of St George's Hall during our show week.
The War Years
One Wild Oat
The Tony Kilshawe Archive