Arts Gym member Gill Yardley reflects on her experiences with the Belgrade Theatre

It seemed to jump out at me, the poster in the foyer of the Belgrade Theatre. As if neon lit, it was inviting.

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Well, that included me, and I soon discovered that 70 was the new 40, as a very exciting and fulfilling part of my life began. It is fair to say theatre, films and other kinds of performances have always fascinated me, even somehow seemed to nourish me.

Drama has always appealed, ever since I was at school. However, for me, the opportunity had never really come along before. I write a bit and this seemed to be an extension of that creative side of me that gave me a lot of pleasure.

I loved acting at school, and remember playing the part of the Innkeeper in the Nativity play. I had wanted to be Mother Mary but Gloria Mapp got the part because she had a doll and a blue dress.

All that was expected from me was five words, “No room at the inn.” Dad joked that I would not forget my lines. Sadly, when my turn came,- nothing. My head was blank. I guess it was nerves.

I’m nothing if not a tryer, though. At first, the Belgrade sessions were a bit scary: everyone seemed to be so good, to know what they were doing, and I was awestruck as people quickly reacted to instructions. We did a lot of walking round with different postures and adding the odd noises and feelings.