"I have a circus-horse instinct. If there's an audience, you might as well use it." Joyce Grenfell
I've been - unusually in my family - a performer all my life. From the ubiquitous nativity plays and school concerts, through my first experience of musical theatre in a joint schools' production, via concerts, musicals and straight plays - I find it hard to stay away from the roar of the greasepaint for any length of time.
While I trained in Drama & Theatre studies to degree level (at that beautiful, sadly now closed, seat of learning known as Bretton Hall College) it didn't take me long to work out that I just didn't have the competitive and determined nature [I never enquired too closely about the talents...] required to make my living from the second oldest profession. I settled instead for a career which made best use of my organisational skills, and kept my stage work for my leisure hours.
Since I took part in my first production, aged 11 (a dramatisation of the life of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army) I have been privileged to work with some of the finest performers and musicians. Most have been in an amateur context, but I've never viewed this in any other light than its literal translation: a lover of what we do. The standards achieved by all these groups and societies have given me great joy and developed huge learning about the skills involved in drama and entertainment.
Some of my proudest stage creations have been the concerts of Chimes Musical Theatre (1987-2007) and now Vocal Score (from 2008). However, they are only part of the story, and I've spent many happy shows working with a wide variety of local operatic and dramatic societies, in East London (where I spent my early life), Yorkshire, South London and Norfolk. Click here to view the complete, terrifying list, right back to schooldays; and click here for an egotistical set of character photos.
Finally, there's a small page in memory of some wonderful performers who are no longer with us, but with whom I've had the privilege to work.
Share the memories
Do any of these stage experiences coincide with your own? Please get in touch! You'll find instructions on my business website.