Sara Hardy is an actress who was involved at Half Moon Theatre in 1980.
I was an actor with Half Moon YPT during 1980 and early 1981. It was a wonderful though quite steep learning curve. The very early morning starts for a performance or workshop in a school were a shock to my system – along with hauling the set up interminable school steps… But the creative team was fabulous and the work inspiring.
I played young Margaret in The Witch of Wapping and particularly relished playing opposite Penny O’Connor’s feisty Witch. For our follow-up workshop I played the tramp who had somehow got into the school and was sat down and questioned by everyone. I browned my teeth and wore a smelly costume to make it more convincing. I recall on one occasion that I was hanging around in the school corridor, waiting for my cue to enter and disrupt proceedings when a strong hand clasped my shoulder from behind. It was the Caretaker attempting to eject me! It took a lot of persuading before he allowed me to proceed.
On another occasion we were doing The Great Gas, which was performed outdoors and was sometimes quite chaotic to contain. I played the evil Doctor and was in full swing when a boy suddenly jumped up and lunged a knife at my stomach. A real knife. It was a ‘joke’ and he sat down again – but I can’t say that I found it very funny!
The Incredible Vanishing was a joy to perform, I was Gob the Goblin. There was much running around and calling out in true panto tradition and our audiences seemed to love it. But my strongest memory is of the ‘vanishing’ of our big blue van – stolen with all our scenery, costumes and props in the back. Amazingly, we managed to remake everything over the weekend in time for our next performance. The van was later found by the Police with everything still in it. That old van was a good size for touring but it was a horror to master – especially when you’d only ever driven a Mini. My first effort made us all laugh. It was down a tight lane. I did not scratch anything but we kangaroo-ed the whole way!