In a funny frame of mind at the moment due to a strange fluey type virus…two, in fact, one after the other…so I am being lazy and giving myself a real break to get over it all. So this is a just a quickie blog to stay in touch. This seems to be the time when people keeping leaving us…”falling off their perch” as we say in the UK. I just heard that lovely actor John Stride has just gone. He started his career at Alleyns School in Dulwich about the same time as Michael Croft started the National Youth Theatre. I met John when I was going out briefly with actor Ken Farrington…he had been at Alleyns with John and we would go and meet him after he finished worked at the Old Vic in the days when he was playing Romeo to Judi Dench’s Juliet in the classic Production by Franco Zeffirelli. (Think I was still at RADA).
It’s frightening how quickly life rushes by and people you remember as young and so alive are suddenly gone. One really has to grab it all as much as you can. Told you I was in a funny mood. Still, those early days of knowing the actors who were the core of the National Youth Theatre are memories to treasure and I am thrilled and proud to have been a part of it. Mary Grimes and I were the first girls to appear on stage at the NYT in Julius Caesar. Ken had moved on to his career by then…..we met when he was playing Claudius in the last all male Production of Hamlet and I was helping out as Assistant Stage Manager….sound effects and all that stuff. At that time I was sharing a room with Patricia Doyle, while we were both at RADA and Pat also worked back stage at the NYT. Pat moved on to directing after acting and now is co-directing and working as Dramatic Associate on ballets for the Northern Ballet, most recently The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and the Slovak Ballet, the latter with music by the great Carl Davis.
So this is a little “homage” to John and all those wonderful people I knew and worked with in the early days. We lose touch and then suddenly see people again…saw many of those early NYT people at a little party last year honouring founder Michael Croft and then people leave us permanently and all we have are the terrific memories! Thanks for those.