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An Actress Remembers – Talk at Scarborough Art Gallery

Stephanie Turner and Heather Stoney

A rare opportunity to hear two leading actresses reminisce about their careers and long friendship is on offer at Scarborough Art Gallery in September.

Stephanie Turner, probably best known as the original Juliet Bravo, and Heather Stoney, now Lady Ayckbourn, will be in conversation at the gallery at lunchtime on Thursday 10 September, chaired by Alan Ayckbourn’s archivist Simon Murgatroyd.

Heather says:

"We're mainly going to reminisce about our time together at the Library Theatre, probably also touching on Stephanie's directing at Westwood and Alan Ayckbourn's 60th birthday celebration, A Chorus of Approval at the SJT."

Stephanie was one of the earliest graduates of the Drama Department at The University of Manchester, where Stephen Joseph was one of her tutors. She first worked in Scarborough at The Library Theatre in 1969 for the summer season. She last worked at the SJT directing Alan Ayckbourn's 60th Birthday Gala. In between she has played leading roles in most of the major regional theatres, including Leeds, Oxford, Bristol, Stoke and Cheltenham. Plays on tour include Hobson's Choice, An Ideal Husband, Benefactors.

In 1976 she toured South America playing the juvenile lead Ginny in Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking – then many years later she toured the Middle East, this time playing Sheila, the older part, in the same play.  In the West End she played leading roles in Say Goodnight to Grandma, Absurd Person Singular, Just Between Ourselves and the dreaded Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She is a founder member of The Orange Tree in Richmond where she has frequently acted and directed.

Her TV career includes appearances in most of the popular series of the day including Z Cars, The Sweeney, Casualty, A Touch of Frost, several Plays for Today and The Hello Girls. She is best remembered for creating the title role in the series Juliet Bravo for which she received the BBC Personality of the Year Award and which she did for three series. She was a prolific radio actress and has also taught and directed at several of the London drama schools.

Heather’s 30-year acting career covered theatre, film, television and radio.  She played many regional rep theatres, and was a founder member of the New Victoria Theatre, Stoke, having first joined the Theatre in the Round company when it was at the Library Theatre, Scarborough. She did two Ludlow Festivals playing Lady Anne in Richard III and Isabella in Measure for Measure; two plays in the West End were followed by television appearances in various series including Z Cars and Play for Today and as a regular in the police series Softly, Softly.

A number of seasons with the SJT at Westwood were interspersed with playing one of the lead roles on radio’s Waggoner’s Walk, whose claim to fame was that it replaced the then long running daily radio serial Mrs Dale’s Diary. She was heard regularly on radio in numerous plays and serials. She gave up acting in 1986 to concentrate on her work as Alan Ayckbourn’s PA – although she has been known to step in at the last minute should an actress fall ill!

Tickets for SMT’s lunchtime talks, which will usually take place on the third Thursday of the month, are £2. Talks start at 12.30pm and last around an hour. Places are limited, so booking is recommended. To book, or for further information, please call the Art Gallery on 01723 374753.

The current exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery, SJT at 60, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, and can be seen until 13 September. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, plus Bank Holidays.

An Actress Remembers – Talk at Scarborough Art Gallery Reviewed by Editor on 21:37:00 Rating: 5

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