What’s the history of theatre doing on my website?
I just closed down my theatre tours website. I’ve been organising tours and teaching theatre here in London on and off for around thirty years. I have been steeped in theatre all my life from the age of 17 when I went to work for the Company Manager at the Royal Shakespeare Company, then based at the Aldwych Theatre, after which I found a job in repertory theatre in Harrogate, initially as an Assistant Stage Manager and then as an actress, in which profession I remained for nearly 20 years before I began to have a family and turned to writing instead.
Theatre plays a major role in my later novels – Violet Frogg and Mrs Morphett’s Macaroons in particular – and indeed in my work in progress, provisionally titled The Humbling of Meredith Martin (out later this year, with a bit of luck). Violet, like me, finds herself working for what was in Edwardian times called the Acting Manager in a company run by Herbert Beerbohm Tree before going on – not like me – to become a theatre producer. Meredith is a working actress who, like me, experiences intermittent success but is yet to become a leading light in the West End, or of anywhere else.
The marvel of theatre is that it still exists
In fact it thrives, despite growing competition from first radio and then film, television and now streaming services and social media. To do so it has reinvented itself, found new forms of material and staging, incorporating new technology such as sophisticated projection and motion capture. Yet the fundamental premise of ‘Two planks and a passion’, now purloined by skiers apparently but which originated with the Mystery Plays of the late Middle Ages, still survives, as often as not in a grungy room above a pub in a London suburb.
So I have now incorporated my theatre tour activities into this website here, because my involvement in and my love of theatre are now very much a part of my writing activities. I welcome comments or questions about theatre and its history, and for what it’s worth here is a list of some of the best books I have come across in my researches, beginning with the five most useful books about Edwardian theatre that I posted on another site.
© Patsy Trench