Tessa Panter worked for Half Moon Young People’s Theatre between 1983 and 1986 as administrator, and also in a range of technical and production roles.
“I worked for the Half Moon Young People’s Theatre between 1983 and 1986 as administrator, and also in a range of technical and production roles. The first production I worked on very soon after arriving was The Deep Secret, a site-specific piece on a plot of wasteland on The Isle of Dogs for children and young people in summer play schemes. The audiences were bused to the site and told by a property developer played by Andy Alty that they were going to help in an archaeological dig, which he had to conduct before he was able to develop the site. In the course of digging, they encountered several ‘ghosts’ who told them stories of the docklands in the 19th century.
I was responsible for operating the show and also managing any public facing issues that arose once the show had started. At one point in the show, in order to make an entrance at the other part of the site, Andy (who emerged as the baddie) had to climb over a wall and hurry to another gate, carrying a prop gun. During one show, the local police suddenly appeared. I intercepted them and asked what the problem was, and was told that a local resident had reported a man climbing over the wall and running along the road with a firearm. I explained what we were doing, showed them the prop gun and took the police to the tent where Matthew Zajac was telling the audience a story of exploitation and suffering of workers at the hands of dock owners. The police watched for a while and I walked them to the gate. One of them got on the radio to report in thus: ‘We have investigated the reported firearm on East Ferry Road and can report that it’s just a bunch of lefty am-drams playing with kids’.
That became our internal byline for a while!”