Q. How long have you been involved in the Centre?
A. I first joined in 1984 after having attended what I thought was a play-reading of “Anastasia” but which actually turned out to be an audition. Much to my surprise I landed the part of the Grand Empress and so began my long and happy involvement in an organisation that has so much to offer.
Q. Did you go on to be in other productions?
A. Oh yes. Following my surprise initiation I appeared in countless productions and in a variety of roles. I’ve had several parts as ‘old lady’ characters, even when I was quite young. Obviously I was never destined for glamourous parts! However, ‘old lady’ parts are great fun to portray and I think I ‘peaked’ when I had to play dead and fall out of a cupboard! But being part of the chorus in musicals and pantomimes has also been huge fun.
Q. Where else do you help out?
A. Over the years I’ve been involved in most areas including back stage, prompt, props and costume – but not lighting or sound as my aptitude for anything technical is non-existent!
Q. Have you ever directed?
A. Yes, in 1994 I thought I would have a go at directing and chose the pantomime Humpty Dumpty as a starting point. It was a huge learning curve but I really enjoyed it and went on to direct several pantomimes, a couple of musicals and a few plays. I must admit to being incredibly nervous during performances, whether in a production or watching something I have directed. I had deliberately not had a speaking part in anything for several years but recently decided to test if I was still capable of learning lines and am delighted to say I’ve managed to get several parts since. I was still nervous but really enjoyed the challenge.
Q. How has the Centre changed over the years?
A. I’ve been on the Board of Directors for many years and have seen many changes, some of which have involved very difficult decisions and some calculated risks. Certainly the Centre has changed beyond recognition since I first joined, not only in its physical appearance but also in the way it’s run and the number of activities now available. It’s a place that offers so many different opportunities for all ages and all abilities and it’s developing all the time.
Q. And where else have you contributed?
A. For several years now I’ve also been joint Chairman of the Fundraising Committee with Rosie King. We have a great team of volunteers and together we’ve organised and run an extremely diverse range of activities, not only to raise money but also to attract as many different people as possible to a varied and enjoyable programme of events. We often provide the catering for in-house events and we pride ourselves on the fact that all our food is home made.
I’m also on the bar rota and have been a member of the Music and Drama Committee (on and off) over the years.
Q. How has the pandemic affected life at the Centre for you?
A. Obviously at the moment everything is different and due to my lack of technical ability and the need to self-isolate I’ve been unable to help out with all the online activities currently happening on the website. But as soon as we’re able to open in some way, shape or form, I’ll l once again resume all the roles that I so much enjoy.
Q. Any final thoughts?
A. We have a fantastic group of volunteers on the Fundraising Team but we’d really love more helpers. So, if anyone is interested in joining our team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your details.