Play to document stories of older people in area

Florence Remmer, who will be taking the stage at the age of 81

Florence Remmer, who will be taking the stage at the age of 81

First published in Stage Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

HOME Sweet Home is based on the stories and experiences of older people from Bradford, Deptford and Stockton. The production had a run-out in Bradford earlier this year and returns for a short run in September before touring.

Written by Bradford playwright Emma Adams and directed by Freedom Studio’s Associate Director Tom Wright, Home Sweet Home aims to look beyond the label of ‘old age’; a label that encompasses ten million people in the UK over 65, to explore individual human stories and explore some of the stereotypes of age.

The production features a cast of seven professional performers including actress Jean Rogers (Dolly Skilbeck from Emmerdale), eight community cast members and a chorus of volunteer older people, who are all aged from 60 to 82 and from the communities of Bradford, Stockton and Deptford.

This chorus will be a major part of the production, contributing throughout the rehearsals.

One of them is 81-year-old Florence Remmer – 65 years after she was discouraged from trying to act, as she explained.

“When I was 16 it was a vastly different world in Bradford then. I worked in the weaving shed since I was 14. I was an innocent girl who always wanted to do some acting. But we were poor and I couldn’t do it. “There was a big theatre down at the bottom of Leeds Road. One Saturday morning, very daring, I went down there and went up to this chap who was standing outside: ‘Do you need any actors or actresses mister?’ He said ‘No’. So that was that. “I went home thinking: ‘It’s just for rich people’. Me Dad said: ‘You won’t get into theatre lass, you’ve got to know people’.

“Well after that I met my husband and that was my life. So I must have enjoyed the thought of it at 16, the theatre. I’d loved to have acted.

“And now I’m here, 65 years later, I’ve done it. And I seem to have got into the part. Not just the lines, I’ve put my whole self into the person I’m playing. I’ve made a persona. That’s enough for me. I’ve done what I wanted to do when I was 16.”

Florence got the part in Home Sweet Home after her sister-in-law saw a newspaper advertisement for older actors.

“She dragged me to Freedom Studios and got me involved in this old people’s play. Now I’ve got a new life. I’ve met new people. I enjoy it so much. It is something I should have done years and years ago.

“Home Sweet Home is about people’s concept of the elderly. People often talk about us old people as if we are not quite with it, not quite in the world of 2014. They couldn’t be more wrong,” she added.

Home Sweet Home will be at the Ukrainian Centre in Bradford from September 16 to 20, starting at 7.30pm. There are two 1.30pm shows on the 17th and 18th.

Tickets should be reserved in advance or by calling the Alhambra box office on (01274) 432000. A limited number of tickets will also be available online at brad.ac.uk/theatre/whats-on/home-sweet-home/

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