Meet Judith Smith our Act Your Age Director
My first love of theatre came as quite a small child when, being the only daughter of musical parents, I got dragged along to all sorts of rehearsals for concerts shows etc, which I loved, but I soon learned that the most interesting ones, for me, were the ones that had music, movement, dancing and were performed in fancy costumes, people came to see them, enjoyed them and went home happy. My Mum was the leader of the orchestra and Dad was the MD. When adults asked me ‘What do you want to be when you grow up dear’? My reply would be ‘An Actress’ to which I received a sharp clip round the ear from one or another parent and was told to ‘reply with something sensible’!!! At the age of 9, we moved from Lancaster to Harrogate and by the time I was 16, I left Harrogate Grammar School with two school plays and various concerts with the school choir under my belt. I joined Harrogate Operatic Players and for 9 years happily played in the chorus with various unnamed 1st girl parts to my credit then came Kings Rhapsody where I successfully auditioned for the part of Vera. By this time I was married to Charles and when his job moved to Bradford, so did the family and I joined Bradford G&S Society, the Bradford Players and Shipley AODS, that meant I could perform in at least two performances a year, one of which was always Gilbert & Sullivan. Playing in the Bradford Alhambra, a fantastic stage in a wonderful theatre, I performed Mother Abbess in ‘Sound of Music’, Bloody Mary (twice) in ‘South Pacific’ , Carrie in ‘Carousel’ and various other smaller parts in various musicals, G&S and operettas and working with top Directors and Musical Directors both professional and Amateur.
So life continued until I was invited to join ‘The Savoyards’, a rather elite Society who performed one G&S show per year but who took that show to the competitive Waterford International Festival in Ireland. Soon, as our reputation spread, we performed in Wales, America, Hungary, Majorca as well as various locations in the UK. Our Director and fellow performer was the late, great John Reed, patter man with D’Oyly Carte and from him I learned so much re stage presence, characters, positioning and reacting with other performers etc. In those 15 years I was with Savoyards, I played 22 different leading roles and performed in all of the G&S Operas, appeared on BBC television with James Shepherds Versatile Brass, made a recording and even a backing track for an advertisement for a famous DIY Store!!. I was then asked by Hedley Teale, a well known Musical Director in the Bradford area, if I would be willing to direct a G&S Society where he was MD. Heart in mouth I accepted and subsequently, with various productions performed on various sized stages from fully fledged theatres to Church Halls, mostly G&S but also Musicals and Plays to my credit here I am in Wetherby.
It is hard to say how many shows I have directed, I never bothered to count them but over the last twenty years, of the 13 shows in the G&S repertoire there is only the ‘Grand Duke’ I have left to direct, some I have done 5 or 6 times and, on average, I have directed at least two shows per year from as near home as Bingley to as far away as Settle and Wakefield.
When Charles died it was my friends in the Operatic circles who really kept me going and twelve years later where did I meet my present husband Graham? – you’ve guessed it, the Operatic Society!! Proud to say I am now a Regional Representative for NODA and my area is the centre of Bradford so you will find that although I am really Mrs Hardman I kept my previous married name of Smith for theatre work.
I am really looking forward to joining you in Wetherby, I hope we shall work hard and play hard together. I do like to try and make rehearsals fun, after all, we all do it for a hobby because we love theatre and that includes me.
- Act Your Age: Enid Doyle — Next up, Enid What character do you play in Act Your Age?Pat What’s your character like?My character is a jack of all trades Are you similar to your character?I suppose I am similar in a way in as much as I like “tinkering about” What’s your favourite line in the show?I don’t really have a [...]
- Act Your Age: Anne Lindop — Anne now takes a turn answering questions 1. What character do you play in Act Your Age?Valerie, owner of a Celebrity clinic 2. What’s your character like?Business woman, trying to get it right 3. Are you similar to your character?Don’t think so! 4. What’s your favourite line in the show?‘Yeah, life’s a bitch and then [...]
- Act Your Age: Maureen Savag... — It’s Maureen’s turn for a grilling What character do you play in Act Your Age?Angela, an ageing nymphomaniac What’s your character like?Man mad of course, thinks she is sophisticated, attitude can by quite cutting Are you similar to your character?ABSOLUTELY NOT, although some of my fellow luvvies seem to think I was made for the [...]
- Act Your Age: Mike Earle — It’s Mike Earle’s turn to be grilled What character do you play in Act Your Age?Mario What’s your character like?The Italian Lothario – flambouyant and full of himself! Are you similar to your character?No – I’m completely cast against type this time! (?) What’s your favourite line in the show?“Aren’t we doing it right (being [...]
- Act Your Age: Beth Wright — Beth Wright is our next cast member to be put under the spotlight What character do you play in Act Your Age?Betty What’s your character like?Once a servant in stately homes she is mistaken for an ageing courtesan. Are you similar to your character?I’ve never been mistaken for a courtesan, so that would be a [...]