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Memories of The Young Theatre
Sarah Bamford Jilly Chandler (Spurrier) Ceris Feakes (Challenger) Clare Cid-Fuentes (Deeley) Louise Gill (Brooks) John Grantham (Graham) Jill Hartman (Horrocks) Alan Highet Andrew Kitchen Phillipa Kitchen Kay Locker (Koré) Paul Moran Tim Smith Claire Toeman Tricia Wardle
Note: with effect from May, 2014 new entries are placed at the top of this page.
After leaving the Young Theatre I went to the Central School of Art and Design in London, where I studied painting. It was a wonderful time, with such easy access to all the London art galleries. I've exhibited ever since, mainly locally in East Sussex but also in Art Fairs in London. I lived in Germany for a couple of years after graduating, where I met my husband Michael. We've lived in Hastings now for over thirty years, where there is beautiful scenery and a thriving arts community. We have three grown up daughters, two of whom also went to art school in London, and four grandchildren! In 2011 I was ordained as a deacon in the church of England and I now split my time between painting, working for the church and teaching art, all of which I love.
Following many years in hospitality management I gained a university degree at the age of 41 and embarked upon a teaching career. I now run a unit for students who have been excluded from school. The Young Theatre was my last experience of acting, but I use many of the performance skills learned there as a member of the East Kent Chorus. Singing Barbershop is my new passion, and I have become a Man of Kent, living in Folkestone and working in Ashford.
After leaving Young Theatre, Harrow, back in 1975, I went to university in Swansea. After graduation I returned to London, working for some years for Faber and Faber (publishers). I met my husband, Les (we have been married for almost 32 years) and moved to Sheffield, South Yorkshire. We spent eight years there, and then moved around the UK often, changing jobs and having children! We then got the opportunity to live in Tokyo, Japan. We had a fabulous three years there, before moving to California, where we have been for fourteen years. Over the years I've worked in a variety of fields, from publishing to university administration to executive search to high school counseling. We have two sons, Ben age 26, and Jon age 22. Both went to university here in California. Ben still lives in California (he has spent time in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and is now back in the San Francisco Bay area). Jon graduated from university this June and has moved to live and work in Seattle, Washington. We now live in a wine producing area east of San Francisco, surrounded by vineyards and wineries. We love the beauty of California and, of course, the weather!!
I went on to study the Performing Arts in Leicester and now teach, write scripts and run projects in UK and Spain. One is a children’s Summer theatre project running for the past 11 years: On With The Show. I blame it all on Young Theatre´s profound influence on me as a child! I loved it.
After a successful acting career including such films as Shock Treatment (1981), Moonlighting (1982), Jack & Sarah (1995), as well as numerous TV appearances and of course the series Comrade Dad where she played George Cole’s daughter, Zoë (!), Claire established her company Crocodile Casting with her business partner Tracie Saban in 1990, and it has become one of the UK’s largest Commercial and Corporate Film casting companies. Her daughter, Holly Gibbs has appeared in Nanny Mcphee (2005), and Tracy Beaker (2005-6), and won Best Young Actress at the International Short Film Festival for her performance in When The Rain Comes (2010).
John followed a successful acting career in film, TV and on the stage by setting up a successful agency in 1985. In 1996 he was joined by Caroline Hazeldine who returned from nine years working in the industry in Los Angeles to form the partnership that is Grantham Hazeldine, a London based talent agency, which prides itself on being one of the very few agencies in London who successfully represent artists in every area and aspect of the Industry.
After leaving the group I started work for my father in the family motorcycle business. Whilst I would have loved to work in theatre I had no real idea of what I wanted to do. Young Theatre had shown me an acting life was not for me.
It was a few years before Andy Kitchen rang me and told me that there was an assistant carpenters post advertised at Watford Palace Theatre. I had never considered carpentery as a career but applied. I was lucky enough to be offered the post and I never looked back. My only regret was that I'm sure my father hoped I would run the family business. However he was always first in line for theatre tickets! After three years in Watford and meeting my now wife, Sarah, who made the costumes I moved away to try out a number of jobs in London and surrounding areas including a few weeks in Italy on an open air opera. After a horrendous tour with a ballet company I found myself back at Watford as master carpenter. By now my partner was working for ATV and when they moved to the Midlands we moved with them even though I was not employed.
I soon got casual work with ATV as the company was rebranded Central. After a few months I applied for permanent job as scene hand and was offered the job as prop hand.
I enjoyed the variety of working on studio productions as well as location work but didn’t enjoy the hours. Eventually I moved into an office position as scenery estimator. With cut-backs and sideways movements I ended up as construction manager. During this period we finally got married and my wife produced a lovely daughter, Hannah.
With the demise of regional broadcasting and the formation of a national ITV company the studios closed and I was made redundant. Shunning the idea of moving back south for work I took a job locally as an office manager for a small double glazing company. That is it to date and retirement is the next big thing. Theatre is still in our blood and we go to watch live shows as often as possible. Our daughter also loves live theatre and even joined a local amateur group in her early years. Funnily enough Young Theatre came up recently in our usual 'what would you do if you won the lottery' conversation. I would love to help expand the Young Theatre concept to the rest of Britain. I think it was the making of me socially and I remember my days with great affection.
Back in the Harrow days, I was Pat Maskell (David Maskell’s sister, if that helps to jog the memory!), but now go by Tricia Wardle. I moved to the Midlands at the end of 1967 - firstly to Lincolnshire, then to Leicestershire - then, in 1985, transferred to the States on a three-year contract. After nearly 29 years, we’re still here, in North Carolina; it's on the east coast, in the southern half. We love it here: the climate, the space and lack of crowds, the outdoor life, the scenery..... although we still miss family and old friends in England. We are both fine and now retired. Life is good - lots of travelling, voluntary and community involvements, golf and tennis, and masses of Skype time with Barry's grandchildren.
We deliver meals-on-wheels, help at a food pantry, serve meals at the local homeless shelter, I’m a member of the Friends of the Library and we help every summer at two week-long Arts Discovery Camps for 7 - 9 year-olds. I'm just a general dog’s body, doing whatever’s required, but Barry is one of the piano teachers - the camps also offer violin, guitar, harp, drama, dance, painting and jewellery-making.
(In 2009 Tim wrote…) I live in Rickmansworth, and am married with 2 teenage children. I'm a music teacher, presently dividing my time between Cannon Lane Middle School (Pinner) and Roxeth Manor (South Harrow), and am also Director of Music at St Mary's Church, Harrow on the Hill.
(In 2008, Ceris wrote…) I moved to France in 1974 and worked as an au pair for three different families, two American and one French. I left there in ’76 and came to the US to stay with some dear friends for the summer in Oklahoma. I ended up marrying my friend’s brother and stayed for the next 21 years. In that time I married and divorced three times, producing four children along the way. Andrew is almost 27, lives in Oxford but is moving back to the US to live with us, at least temporarily, next month. Travis is 25, a police officer, living in Reno with his fiancée. Tyler is 21 and also lives in Reno and is going into the US Army in September and Emma is 15 and the only one living at home. My husband, Nick, was my first love, back from 1968. We reconnected in 1996 by chance and he moved us back to the UK, lock, stock and barrel in April 1997 and we married that November. He has two sons Alex 27 and Edward 23 who live in Leamington Spa. So we have quite a family.
We moved to France in 2001 for 4 years and Nick commuted back to the UK to work. (He was a pilot for BA and retired in 2005 at age 55). We didn't want to stay in France nor return to the UK so we looked further afield. As I am a US citizen it was an option for us to live here and after much deliberation, decided to give it a try. Florida is new for me as I lived on the West Coast from 1976 until 1997. Nowhere is perfect and there are things about the US which give us concern, but for now, it works and the exchange rate helps us to live a decent life. Plus the weather is great all year round - something that was an important factor for us. I am lucky enough that I don't have to work but we both keep busy with volunteering plus having a 15 year daughter at home is a job in itself If you are curious about where I live, google Amelia Island, Florida - it's at the north-eastern tip of Florida close to Georgia. (Here) 10 minutes from the beach, surrounded by rivers and salt marshes and not what people think of when they think of Florida. Life here is good and we enjoy wonderful weather. Winter here is always brilliant. Warmish sunny days when you can walk on the beach in shorts and t-shirts.
(In 2007, Phillipa wrote…) I have been surfing through the YT web site. Oh we were so young! I got quite nostalgic. I was fascinated to see what has happened to people and how many have made their way in stage/TV careers. I haven't! However, it could be said that I put on a performance most days because I have been a secondary teacher for the last 14 years! My subject is Design & Technology so I have also continued to encourage young people to be creative and have been involved in various school productions - mostly with costumes, props and stage design - never with acting - and produced a fashion show, so, the knowledge gained at YT has been put to good use over the years!
(In 2006, Sarah wrote…) Although I did not continue the acting, I am sure that the self confidence that came from particpating in something as dynamic as the YT was the best start that my work life could possibly have had. I've retained my fondness for the theatre (my locals are the Everyman and the Playhouse in Cheltenham), I've yet to reach the next phase of life when the pressures of work and children ease and I can participate again. In the meantime, I just enjoy spotting the other YT members on television!
My name was Jill Spurrier, but I then got married in 1983, and became Jill Chandler. Now divorced, I still keep my married surname, and live in Devon, running Potty for Painting and my own Arts & Crafts shop in Hatherleigh. [After YT] I went on to be on TV quite a few times, but as myself: on Pet Rescue, and a home interiors show called House Invaders with Linda Barker! Also I was on To Buy Or Not To Buy looking at three houses in Dartmouth!
How YOU could help with this part of the Archive!
If you were a member of The Young Theatre - at either Harrow or Beaconsfield - we will be delighted to hear your memories of your time with the group. That's productions or any YT activities! Please get in touch with us and share this with any other ex-members you know. We want to hear from everyone!
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