Michael York OBE Theatre President ,International film star. Began his career at BLT in 1960.
“A remarkable theatre – nurturer of pleasures, talents and dreams”
We are delighted to have received the following message from Michael:-
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.
Sir Derek Jacobi CBE Multi award winning TV , stage and film actor, has appeared on BLT stage in interview about his life , and has visited BLT several times.
“BLT has long been a beacon of superb theatre”
Anne Reid MBE Award winning TV stage and film actress, has appeared on BLT stage in interview about her life.
“I love your unique little theatre. May you thrive for many years to come”.
Dame Eileen Atkins CBE DBE Award winning TV and stage actress. Received her first career break when appearing on BLT stage in the 1960s.
“I would say that my time at BLT gave me my first big break. May you thrive as long as there is theatre”.
Dame Eileen returned to the stage at BLT in February 2022 to be interviewed about her life and career.
Zoe Tapper TV and film actress, began her career at BLT.
“There is magic in that building. You can feel it as soon as you cross the threshold. A truly unique place”
Bob Neill MP Local Member of Parliament.
Cllr. Kim Botting Mayor of Bromley 2015/16 and 2018/2019
Cllr. David Cartwright Deputy Mayor of Bromley 2018/2019
Alan Burkitt Actor, singer, dancer and choreographer. Star of many West End shows e.g. 42nd Street, Top Hat, Kiss Me Kate, and choreographer to Strictly Come Dancing. Has performed cabaret twice at BLT 2017 and 2018
Nigel Rideout Career began at BLT in 1960 with 101 Company run by David Korda and Adrian Brine. Actor, director, author, voice teacher, and Academy Principal in the UK, USA, and Australia.
“ The ultimate dream came true as I worked behind those red plush curtains at BLT in 1960 with the 101 company”>
Peter Snipp Opera singer, cabaret artist, recording artist and BBC radio broadcaster. First performed at BLT in 1983 and returned in 2018.
Richard Bean Award winning playwright (Young Marx, One Man Two Guvnors, plus many more. Attended BLT’s amateur premiers of Young Marx” April 2019 which he co-wrote with Clive Coleman.
Clive Coleman Former barrister, now BBC’s legal correspondent. Playwright – “Chambers” , “The Bill”, an episode of “Spitting Image”, and co-writer of “Young Marx” with Richard Bean. Attended the amateur premiere of “Young Marx”at BLT April 2019.