Despite the doom and gloom, the dreadful war and its consequences, I managed to put a few things on The British Puppet and Model Theatre facebook page and on my own. There was poignancy in being reminded that it was in the despondency of post war Britain in 1945 that our Puppet Company was conceived. Some of the tale has been told on my website, stories written on this blog, two books of poetry written. But the human story, the constant efforts to survive in the arts without grants and living as part of an extended family living in the same house as my grandparent has not been told.
Sometimes it seemed as though my grandparents had barely recovered from the full effects of the Great War. But both were always cheerful and resourceful, despite Grandpa coughing most of the night from the effects of gas and shellshock and Grandma having to fit herself into an enormous corset each day because part of a wall had collapsed on her as she was trying to get the air-raid shelter in the garden.
Taking another look at the draft of my memoir having attended more than one course talking about arcs, points of view etc. But while I can just about see my computer screen due to eyesight problems and have a light shining on the keyboard, I had better get on with it. But for the moment a few highlights in the spirit of World Puppetry Day.
Over the years our company performed Cinderella at The Torch Theatre in London, did weekly satirical shows for Granada TV and made the pilot for the Telegoons. We also performed in Saturday Night at the London Palladium, Cabaret at The Cafe Royal. There were also Summer seasons on piers, the Arcade Theatre in Blackpool and the Spa Scarborough, shows in palaces and stately homes and road safety sessions in London Schools. Our last engagememt as a family was making and performing with the characters in the feature film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier in 1969.
There was always a never-ending stream of making, creating, painting, scriptwriting, poetry, music, voiceovers, choosing fonts, printing brochures and programmes on our wonderful Adana printing machine. We had a brilliant agent, Arnold Stoker, for our stage, and TV performances.
We negotiated Summer seasons and family performances ourselves and, like many entertainers, we were always wondering if we would survive another year!