‘Seeing Behind the Lines …’

22/07/2022 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Seeing Behind the Lines …’ by Ms Paige Turner
Mister Double Cream from Uxbridge – one of my three blog readers – aka playwright Phillip Sheahan – has asked me to write this in less than 500 words. Here goes on the hottest UK day on record.
Three years ago I volunteered to organise a reunion for my alma mater The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama alumni at mine, planned for March 2020. March 2020. Say no more. The whole complement (18) were coming. 2021 was a wash out – so working my way round like a Sudoku grid for all 18’s available dates we arrived at Saturday 16th July, 2022.
How we skipped the train strikes is a mystery, but we didn’t skip the BA4 and BA5 Covid variants: one by one, eight bluebottles fell off the wall to mix my metaphors. Add in cancelled plane flights to the mix and we were left with ten.
The day was magic. We are all knocking seventy, give or take a year or two and it had been fifty years since we climbed into a Central leotard. But as is our wont, on second view the years dissipate before our eyes and we do not see furrows. Lines are only made by laughter anyway: memories of Maureen having presumably swallowed a pin and rushed to A and E. (She still swears blind that she did.) Another having lost his white socks (euphemism for virginity) the night before our performance of Wesker’s Roots and me being asked by our Techie Tutor to go and find a left handed screwdriver and I did. We could have been back in the Swiss Cottage pub, high on barley wine: the cheap girl’s scotch. No. Not Covid or wasps or age could wither us. For essence is ever present.
How fortunate was I to follow a course which produced amongst others: a veritable voice bard, a renowned casting director (‘Chariots of Fire’etc), voice over agent and BBC presenter, documentary maker, radio presenter, actresses who have filmed with Elizabeth Taylor and appeared in ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Casualty’ and ‘Harry Potter’, with daughters who have starred in ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’, a Guinness World Record holder for ensemble spoons-playing, heads of drama departments in challenging London and Manchester schools who collectively have directed hundreds of shows, creator of a drama company for those with learning disabilities, Central tutor and not least, a discoverer of the ancient tree – the Porlock Pippin and biographer.. unforgottenexmoor.com How cool is all that?

There will be a 20th anniversary reunion for my theatre company Creative Ink for Actors on Saturday 13th May 2023. It will be a bun feast to which all your partners and children are invited at the Amersham Centre where we performed so many of my plays. Diarise it.
Hot holiday reading!
‘When This is All Over …’ a pandemic anthology/Creative Ink


My novel ‘Shakespeare’s Clock’.




That’s 500 words, Mister Double Cream from Uxbridge. Have you melted yet?

One thought on “‘Seeing Behind the Lines …’

  1. Phillip says:

    In the great scheme of things you have completed the challenges of life with but an occasional stumble. A reunion is a chance to remember and reminisce about the stumbles and the falls and the getting back on your feet. And to marvel at how everything has changed, moved on, reshaped and come to rest in way that we perhaps didn’t expect but, on balance, still delights. Life is like a creative writing challenge in which we are all given 500 words. Each word is a brick. Did you build walls to hide behind or paths to take yourself off to places new? There’s a thought to build on as a conversation starter for your next reunion.

    Haiku. “Life skills in action. I came. I saw. I conquered. Waiting for Godot”.

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