We were delighted to recieve an email from Lee Blessing, author of the above play:-
Dear Nikki Packham,
Many thanks for your lovely email. I’m delighted you’re doing my play in Bromley, and I’m very happy to hear you performed Dorothea. Eleemosynary is one of my favorite plays (and perhaps my most-performed here in the U.S.), but it’s rarely been done in the UK or other Commonwealth countries. I suppose it’s because spelling bees seem largely to be an American development, designed to help our ignorant pioneer ancestors learn something which British kids are reliably taught in school. That’s my theory, at least.
Sadly, AWTW remains as evergreen as warlike intentions. Very happy to hear you’re using the production in part to support Ukraine. And all this in a former Victorian bakery! Your location has my wife very excited. I’ve had to tell her that it’s no doubt a former bakery, without any current baked goods on the premises.
Thanks also for your lovely invitation to drop by some Sunday evening and talk about theatre. London is my favorite city in the world, and I’d like nothing better than to be there. However, I doubt I’m not likely to visit soon. I haven’t flown since Covid began, and I’m still chary about mingling too much with my fellow humans. I’ve seen a couple plays recently at the Ahmanson Theatre here in L.A., experiences which encouraged me somewhat. Still . . .
In any case, if I ever do get your way again, I’d love to take you up on your most generous offer. Meanwhile, please let me know how your production goes!
Wishing you all the best,
Dear Mr Blessing
In May 2002 I had the pleasure of appearing as Dorothea in your moving and tender play Eleemosynary and in June 2022 here I am directing an equally wonderful play that I should have directed two years ago, but the pandemic got in the way. Now I’m glad it did, because I think it’s as prescient now as it was when you wrote it. We are raising money for Ukraine each night and one of my actors has two Ukrainian families staying with him.
Thank you for sending a photo for our programme and thank you for giving me the chance to both act in and then direct two of your plays. The venue for both is a Victorian Bakery and we are fund-raising constantly to make it more user-friendly for our loyal audiences. I started performing here in the 1980s and directing here in 2010. Bromley Little Theatre is a non-professional theatre whose aim is to stage the most professional productions possible, and we use every space we can, so this production is in our tiny Bar area, with seating for forty five maximum. I love working in this space and the audiences are always very appreciative.
We have also welcomed on Sunday evenings such luminaries as Sir Derek Jacobi, Ann Reid and Dame Eileen Atkin to talk about their lives in theatre. So if you ever reach these shores, please let me know and maybe we can have you with us one Sunday evening to talk about your life as a playwright! That would be wonderful.
On behalf of my cast and crew, thank you letting us take a walk in your woods.