When I was a teenager (many years ago), I was obsessed with theatre and drama and was a member of the Westmorland Youth Theatre, my high school theatre group and various local theatre companies. Despite my ambitions, I was never a very good actress (‘leave your name in the ashtray on the way out’ was a usual response to my auditions), but I loved everything about the stage.
As I grew older, I became more and more focussed on my scientific career, and my interest in acting fell by the wayside. However, two years ago, I gave up full-time work, studied for an MA and when I resumed working, it was part-time (only enough to fund my fledgling writing ambitions), so for the first time in years, I had breathing room.
At a volunteer day in nearby Kendal, I signed up to act as a steward at the Kendal Festival of plays.
An easy way to reintroduce myself to the thespian experience (or so I thought). Two days later, a leaflet landed through my door. I tossed it in the bin as irrelevant. That evening the phone rang.
“We have enough stewards. How about acting?”
“Good. We’ll see you on Thursday evening.”
I fished the leaflet out of my wastebin.
I turned up for the actors call and am now an actor in three plays, written as a community effort by people from schools, hospitals and care homes, as well as by individuals. I am a mother whose baby is given up for adoption, I am a teenager worried about my father’s farm, and I am a hillwalker who encounters a ghost. All this is played out in the local shopping centre in front of an audience of bemused shoppers. I have met a lot of interesting people, made a complete fool of myself and had a brilliant time and I’ll definitely do it again.
I used to love horseriding, painting, and was an enthusiastic supporter of animal rights. There are so many things that fall by the wayside as you get older, often just because of lack of time. I intend to revisit as many as I can, and see if the old passion is there.
lives in the English Lake District and writes as Annalisa Carr