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ANNE HARVEY (d.2022)

Alex Marker remembers Anne Harvey

Although not immediately familiar to many Questors members Anne Harvey was a long standing supporter of our theatre, both as an audience member and as an organiser of fundraising benefit performances.

She originally trained at the Guildhall School of Speech and Drama and for three seasons ran the Guildhall Players Theatre Company, in Perranporth Cornwall. She then worked in theatre and radio, combining this with teaching, adjudication and examination work; eventually becoming a fellow of the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama in 2003. Anne, a niece of the poet Eleanor Farjeon, was well-known as a poetry anthologist and a poet in her own right. She wrote for and presented various radio programmes on Radio 4 including: 'Morning Has Broken', 'Poetry Please', and 'The ABC of the BBC'. Anne edited over 35 anthologies of poetry and drama and her books include: 'Shades of Green' (Winner of the signal award for poetry 1992), 'The Language of Love', 'Party Pieces' and 'Adlestrop Revisited'. Many of her anthologies of drama monologues and duologues for young people are also still in print.

It was in her teaching capacity that Maggie Turner first encountered her. She recalled: Anne "was also my lovely and energetic drama teacher when I was in the 6th form at Notting Hill and Ealing High School. I believe it was her first year teaching; I wish she had started teaching earlier or I had been born later so that she could have been my teacher for longer. Whenever I bumped into her at The Questors, even in the last few years, her energy continued to amaze me."

In 2011 she produced a charity fundraiser performance for The Questors, bringing our then vice president Roger Rees and Virginia McKenna together to reprise a performance of 'Sons and Mothers', a poetry anthology she had originally conceived for BBC Radio 4 in the 1980s. She had also previously mounted a similar event for us entitled 'Kings and Queens, this time bringing Julian Glover and Isla Blair to the Playhouse stage. More recently she organised a celebration of Roger Rees' life in 2015, for which she assembled a stellar cast of Roger's contemporaries comprising: Sir Trevor Nunn, Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Virginia Mckenna, Oliver Ford Davies, Edward Petherbridge and David Threlfall. Anne and Al Senter acted as links between the speakers and were augmented with our very own Michael Green and David Emmet.

Anne was a lovely lady and I always enjoyed our impromptu interval encounters, usually in the theatre foyer at The Questors or often at the Finborough Theatre. She was extremely well connected and I was always entertained by the range and breadth of her theatrical stories. An anecdote was usually topped off with a line such as: 'Now, it was after that performance I actually met Robert Morely and Wendy Hiller', but it was never delivered in a grandstanding way, it was almost thrown in as an afterthought.