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Playwright Ann Jellicoe to be guest of honour at fundraising literary luncheon

ONE OF Lyme’s best-known residents, the playwright Ann Jellicoe, will be guest of honour at a luncheon in aid of the town Museum on 4 February at the Alexandra Hotel when she will talk on “Trials and Triumphs: a Life in Theatre.”

A long time supporter of the Museum, and at one time co-curator with her friend, the author John Fowles, Ann Jellicoe trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She was a central figure at London’s Royal Court Theatre in the sixties, taking the theatrical world by storm with The Knack: it subsequently played, and still plays, all round the world, and was made into an award-winning film which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.

She will also talk of her work in developing Community Plays: a new form which aims to involve as many people from the whole community as possible, working together in setting up and acting a very large caste play about their own town. Many Lyme residents will remember her very first Community Play The Reckoning in 1978. Written and directed by Ann Jellicoe, it told the story of the part played by the town in the Monmouth Rebellion. Its huge success led her to set up the Colway Theatre Trust with its subsequent development of Community Plays throughout the West Country and beyond. In 1984 came the second Lyme play, The Western Women, about the remarkable role played by women in the Siege of Lyme. For this work she was awarded the OBE.

Ever the innovator, she gave a one-woman dramatised reading of The Western Women at the Marine Theatre two years ago. Of this performance, given when she was 80 years old, the Town Mill’s journal said: “This was genius…such an evening is very rare and we were privileged to be part of it.”

Ann Jellicoe has been at the cutting edge of theatre in this country for the past 50 years.   She has a fascinating tale to tell, and guests will have a unique opportunity to question her on all aspects of her work: writing, acting, directing, or creating theatre of the people, for the people, by the people.

Reservations, £25 per person, must be pre-booked by lst February at the latest so that catering arrangements can be finalised.

For further information please contact me, Margaret Rose on 01297-445503.

Margaret Rose is Chairman of The Friends of Lyme Regis Museum