I received an email from a Mrs Ponsford from Chipping Onger who told me an interesting story about her grandfather who worked for a travelling group of players who toured British seaside resorts with his Whodunnit, Cludoesque show.
Giles Ponsford was not only stager manager and actor but also a madcap schemer in generating audiences for his show. As a publicity stunt, Giles encouraged local vicars from the towns he was touring to appear in each show. The vicars would of course plug the show on the preceeding Sunday at their church service.
They would then perform at the show the following week. Giles had a large hook as a stage prop, and depending on the acting ability of each Vicar, he would let them entertain or literally hook them off the stage if they went on too long. This word of mouth marketing brought in audiences far and wide.
One Vicar , Reverend Stoats, from Southwold was so excited about performing on stage, he decided to invite the Bishop along to his performance. Stoats was dreadful and got hooked off the stage very quickly. The Bishop, who had long since renounced the sin of vanity, saw through the whole ruse, and immediatly issued a statement to all his parishes forbidding them to take part in anything like this again.
Ponsonby then told the press his show had been boycotted by the Bishop and all his parishes, which in turn created more audiences and profit for his show. So although Ponsonby was not a publicist, he truly understood the power of publicity.