by Jez Bond

A tour of yet another theatre this morning – we are being spoilt! Jacksons Lane Arts Centre had an unusual mix of old decor, beautiful history (it’s a converted church) and modern touches. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about it, apart from the stained glass windows, was the sense of community. The cafe was buzzing with mums and their kids, there was a class for toddlers going on in one of the rehearsal rooms and signs on the noticeboard informed patrons of the next yoga class. It was great to see such vital daytime hubbub in a theatre building.

Back on site I had two productive meetings. The first was with the well known photographer Catherine Shakespeare Lane. Catherine had read an article about us in the Islington Tribune and had been very excited to hear about a theatre in her local area. She has been in Finsbury Park photographing actors (though by no means exclusively – her portfolio is extensive) since 1975 and her studio is just a few minutes walk away.

As we walked through the building we both got inspired by dusty trial holes and skips – and we egged each other on with ideas such as photographing a celebrity ambassador sprawling on top of a pile of rubble in a beautiful dress. Our conversations will resume at her studio when I visit soon. There are many ideas brewing – another being the exhibition of a selection of her headshots of the famous over the years.

I then met author, playwright and actor Fidelis Morgan. We talked about a number of ideas, including restoration plays (she is a published expert in this field) and melodramas. We sat in the comfort of the warm site office and found ourselves happily chatting away for a long time, finding mutual passions. It was a lovely experience and I hope that, like many of the new relationships I am forging, it will continue to grow and then bear fruit.

Melli and I are now just returning from seeing the excellent Royal Court production of Clybourne Park at the Wyndhams theatre with our lead mechanical and electrical engineer David Apple and his partner. A great night to end a great day.

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