“Let me say at this outset how very proud and privileged I feel to be involved in such a distinguished organisation, rich in both past accomplishments, present achievements, and future promise, and what a pleasure it is to keep in touch.
The BLT certainly marked my life in a profoundly positive way. Its stairway led to an eclectic theatrical heaven. I encountered a whole new group of colleagues, including the legendary Betty Pinchard, who ran the theatre with her husband, Colonel John Leather, and most especially Adrian Brine, the actor/director. Coming through the “wrong door” in “My Three Angels” he entered into a lasting friendship. I was lucky enough to appear in several of his brilliant productions.
Grace Collett-Franklin, exchanging her daily schoolmarm’s black gown for a nightly theatrical persona, continued the inspired training she had given me in the school plays she directed at Bromley Grammar School (now Ravensbourne School). Her husband Digby passed on not only his wealth of experience, but also a treasury of theatre lore and superstitions. To this day I have never dared whistle in a dressing room! It was a place where the smell of the greasepaint (liberally supplied by Leichner’s Richard Blore, a fellow actor) became totally intoxicating.
Indeed, the memories are strong, insistent and sustaining. My ambition now is to return and attempt to re-live the experience by attending another BLT performance. My appetite has certainly been whetted by reading the lively news in the brilliantly produced monthly e mail BLTin.
I would wish to pay a return visit to England from my home in the U S A, now that the Drama (with a capital D) in which I have been reluctantly starring for several years seems to be coming to some sort of positive resolution.
I have been dealing with Amyloidosis, a rare and frequently misdiagnosed disease, that effectively sidelined both my personal and professional life. If not exactly heading to the Exit sign I was certainly made aware of its presence. However, after a stem cell transplant, and various other treatments, at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, I am now ready for an encore in life. I have written about the Amyloid experience and I am trying to establish some kind of foundation that will help push this orphan disease out of the shadows and into the spotlights.
I think of Bromley and its oasis of cultural delights on North Street with an abiding affection. I have been concerned about the drama of the lease, but trust it will be another case of all’s well that ends well. “If you think you can’t, then almost certainly you won’t. If you think you can, then it’s highly likely that you will. Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can”.
Good luck with the future, both on-stage and off. Warmest wishes. Ever.