Ours is an interesting story… normally the child follows the parent into acting. I followed Jennifer into it!
It all began in 1988, when I took four year old Jennifer to see well known British comedian Ken Dodd in pantomime in England. She was mesmerised, and wanted to sing and dance like the kids on the stage. Looking in the programme I saw an ad for the Russell Leite Theatre School, so I enrolled her for tap, ballet and modern dancing. By the age of six she was touring the professional stage with Ken Dodd as his youngest ever ‘Diddy Man’ (his group of children who sang and danced in his shows).
On moving to Cape Town at the end of 1991, Jennifer continued on the stage with local ballet shows and advanced into amateur theatre. At the age of 13 she appeared in the lead in a melodrama for Fish Hoek Dramatic Society. One night while waiting for her to finish rehearsal, she told me that they needed people to appear in crowd scenes in the production, and as she said “You have to come and wait for me, so why don’t you do it?” I was hooked! So began my stage career…
We have both gone on to perform, sometimes separately and sometimes together, in many local productions, with some notable ones for me being “Once Upon a Time Dot Com” where I played the villain and Jennifer was the heroine, “Sailor Beware” where we played mother and daughter, “My Fair Lady” our first Artscape production together, and “HMS Pinafore” where I played Cousin Hebe and Jennifer understudied Josephine the lead role.
Prior to the 2009 awards which we won in the photos shown, I have won a Cape Times Award for Best Cameo in 2000 for playing the ‘Doorknocker’ in “Mort”, and Jennifer was nominated for Cape Times Best Supporting Actress at age 16 for her role in “Nobody’s Perfect”.
I have just completed a successful run in the Masque production of Neil Simon’s “Rumours”, and Jennifer has been busy doing three sell-out shows with “Rock ‘n Rouge”, a burlesque-inspired comedy cabaret group who perform songs from the big musicals. They have another show scheduled for the Masque in May.
Our next appearance together will be at the end of the year, in the musical “Annie” at the Artscape, where I am playing Daddy Warbuck’s cook Mrs Pugh’, as well as Peggy, one of the Hoovervilles. Jennifer is playing one of the lead roles… the cooky Lily St Regis. As well as appearing on the stage, I am on the Executive Committee of the Cape Town Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and am an adjudicator on the Cape Amateur Theatre Awards Panel.
On discovering the benefits of drama on a personal level, I realised how stage and theatre craft could be used as a training methodology. After all, everything we do in life is a kind of performance! So, in 2005 I started a company called ‘Dramatic Solutions’ with a theatre friend, Jane De Sousa, who has a Master’s Degree in Adult education, and together we have successfully incorporated this technique into Corporate, NGO and Educational training.
(Ed’s note Oct 2013: Lynn has recently beaten cancer through a radical change of diet and lifestyle. She decided after 9 days of chemo to abandon the treatment. Read her story here