Fringe Box



Letter: Happy Memories of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 25 Oct, 2017
Updated on: 25 Oct, 2017

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

From Jennifer Lane

In response to: Dragon Interview: James Barber, Director of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (published in July 2014)

I have very happy memories of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre as I was fortunate enough to be given a contract with the company in 1969 – by the then Director, Laurier Lister, who had “spotted” me in an amateur production that had come first in a local British Drama League Festival, where I won the award for Best Actress.

It was a dream come true for me, especially as the proximity of Guildford to London meant that the theatre attracted well-known names to play leading roles. I worked with Martin Jarvis, Isabel Dean and Sir Alec Guinness, to name but a few. 3-weekly rep was pretty full-on but wonderful experience.

The highlight was being cast in a production of “When We Are Married” by J.B. Priestley (who sat in on the audition!) which opened at Guildford, then went out on tour and finally came into the West End at what was then the Strand Theatre – a real thrill.

I’m glad to know that the theatre is still going – though I mourn the demise of the old repertory system – my family and I were regular supporters of Leatherhead, Farnham and Guildford reps in the 1950s and 60s – they were all weekly reps in those days.

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Responses to Letter: Happy Memories of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

  1. Mike Nicholson Reply

    October 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I am sure the theatre hosts some great productions. My last attendance was to see the wonderful Donald Sinden ‘doing’ an Oscar Wilde one-man show.

    For me, however, the seats offer so little leg room that I now rarely go to the Yvonne Arnaud.

    Editor’s note: New seating (installed last year, I believe) in the stalls does now improve the leg-room.

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