CHARTERS PART one
1945-1969 page 8
Marjorie and Taffy lived at 31 Eastern Road until they were squeezed out! They also had Joyce living with them after she had left Charters. Paul remembers visiting Eastern Road fairly frequently to stay with Auntie's Marjorie and Taffy: sometimes it would be a day trip to see a demonstration of work, "Father driving in his typically hair-raising way." "Victor, will you please drive more slowly," Noreen would be angrily heard to say, "do you want to get us killed - mind that bicycle! Please don't drive on the pavement!" And so on, until she would resignedly close her eyes and pretend to sleep, white-knuckled hands grasping the door handle for dear life! "The dumb-waiter at The Studio was fun," Paul continues, "being small I fitted in perfectly and Auntie Taffy would heave me up and down - with the prospect of a cake at the end. Their Christmas parties were always an occasion never to be missed either - I remember Stanley dressing-up as a clown, he was hilarious." Marjorie then purchased 20 Heath Park Road which was bequeathed to Joyce on Marjorie's death in 1968; this home became synonymous with The Studio for the next six decades until Joyce finally succumbed to a long illness in 2004. It was an over-spill facility for meetings, social gatherings and all manner of activity which could not be accommodated in the limited square-footage of 31 Eastern Road. The Studio had simply been a private house; the reception rooms became studios until a hall was built in the garden at the rear; this provided a much-needed large studio with additional facilities. Now the team had enough space for student demonstrations and end-of-year shows for parents. Larger productions were mounted at The Lambourne Hall, Western Road, as we note from a programme for 'What Katy Did', a specially written musical by Jo Masters in 1959. It is interesting to read: Stage Manager Victor Leopold. Click here to see programme for 'What Katy Did'
Speaking to Joyce's older sister Eleanor recently we were reminded why Joyce's ambition for a career in the theatre had been thwarted; aged only 15 she had suffered rheumatoid fever which caused her to rethink her chosen path. Eleanor, born in 1920 and Joyce, in 1924, had lived a few miles from Chelmsford in Great Baddow. Here they started their training at Queenie Sams' School of Dance, Joyce aged 4. But it was Eleanor who was first smitten after seeing 'Where the Rainbow Ends', a children's play originally written in 1911 by Clifford Mills and John Ramsey with incidental music by Roger Quilter. First produced by Italia Conti at the Savoy Theatre, London, the cast included a young Noel Coward and Jack Hawkins though it may have been the 1921 film version which Eleanor saw. "I wanted to be in it," she said, "and chose to go to Italia Conti. Sadly," she continued with a chuckle, "The rainbow proved to be too far away - I didn't make it!"
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