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The Young Theatre
KayK

KAY KORÉ

Group Director, The Young Theatre (at Harrow) : 1969-71
Honorary Life Member of The Young Theatre since 1992

Having cunningly avoided World War II by a few months, and survived a bout of pneumonia at four months by a whisker; Kay Wright, now Locker, a.k.a. Koré (we'll come back to that later), has pursued a varied career based mainly on stealthy disobedience and well-disguised non-conformity; with the surprising result that although many people find her annoying, and not a few think her a monster, she has also succeeded in bringing a good many round to her way of seeing things; and now in “retirement” is attempting a couple of books to further that aim.

After initially training as a dancer (not a good idea - OK at the artistic bit but a carthorse amongst gazelles) Kay became involved with Harrow YT through a fellow student at the New College of Speech and Drama, being first dragged in to assist with make-up on The Sea King's Daughter. Having subsequently, and painfully, played a sinking ship in The Critic, she got hooked, and spent every spare moment (and some that weren't) down at St Alban's Church Hall until she left college and (having discovered that she could not act) went into rep. First as lighting designer/engineer at Chelmsford Civic Theatre, one of the last weekly rep companies, then as an ASM at Colchester Rep. In a fit of insanity (one of many) she turned down promotion to stage manager at Colchester to become Group Director of Harrow YT, making ends meet (just about) as a kind of nanny to the designers in the Royal Opera House Production Wardrobe. The official job title was “stockroom assistant”; the job entailed either finding the fabrics, trimmings etc the designers wanted; or more often (Kay's way) persuading them that what they really wanted was what was available and within budget. She continued working with YT off and on until the Harrow branch closed, directing (a high-spot was taking St George and the Dragon round local parks on a horse and cart for the Queen's silver jubilee); production managing; and generally doing anything and everything. There was also an episode with blooding people up for The Deserted House at Beaconsfield YT.

She still believes that her most important purpose in YT - and that of YT itself - is to help members find out who they are and what they can do; and how to co-operate and to commit to a shared goal. That is why what is rather rudely called the Kay Koré Memorial Rosebowl by some old-timers, was provided for presentation to the member who contributes the most, in whatever capacity, to YT. This rather ostentatious trophy, by the way, was not chosen by Kay herself, who insists she would have gone for a more restrained piece of silverware.

Why the name? Blame that on Ian Wallace who demanded (circumstances lost in the mists of time) a stage name at a couple of hours' notice. Koré is the unforbidden name of Persephone, an early bit of acting. It also proved a mistake, leading to countless phone calls from people asking Is that Miss Cor? It is actually pronounced as in croquet.

Subsequent activities have included 20 years making waves at the Public Record Office (now the National Archives), followed by almost as long as a slightly maverick counsellor/psychotherapist/hypnotherapist. At the age of 48 she took up ice dance, and skated her socks off until a contretemps with a ladder put paid to it. Now, she continues theatrical activities as a sort of ad hoc street stand-up, and is proud to have thereby de-fused a very nasty incident over the parsnips in Tesco Christmas 2012.

In 2005 she moved to Lancashire; and on retirement started on her book Doing Life, which examines why the human species stays endlessly imprisoned in repeating the same mistakes. She hopes to live long enough to complete this; but it was put on temporary hold, due to the increasing care needs of her mother, an experience which has led to the beginnings of another book, On Going Over the Hill and Round the Bend. This attempts a light-hearted but practical and realistic view on the desperately serious impact of ageing on both parents and their “children”. She fully expects more cries of “monster!” if it gets published; but is confident that those have been there will breathe a sigh of relief that at last someone has told it as it really is.

She believes that with both life and YT, you get out of it in proportion to what you put in; and that if you do it with humour you'll double the impact and halve the pain.


Editor's Note: Wikipedia: In Greek mythology, Persephone (also called Koré “the maiden”), is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead.

Any relationship between this description and “our Kay” should be considered as being totally coincidental!!

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