Gran makes her West End debut

This Is Wiltshire: Jane Clark performed at the Lyric Theatre, London Jane Clark performed at the Lyric Theatre, London

Great-grandmother Jane Clark has shown that persistence pays off after waiting five decades to make her West End debut.

After nearly 50 years of directing and performing in amateur productions, Mrs Clark, who is in her seventies, finally took to the stage at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftsbury Avenue last week to take part in a showcase of Churchill – The Musical.

Mrs Clark, who recently moved back to Somerset after 11 years in Chippenham, said: “It was totally unexpected. I got a phone call from a director. I acted as his assistant for ten years, but I hadn’t seen him in some time. He asked me if I’d heard from anyone about taking part in the musical, which I hadn’t.”

But it wasn’t the last she heard of it all.

Mrs Clark then received a phone call from the company putting on the show, and was offered a part as Doris, a Cockney street vendor.

The show, which was written and originally performed in the Algarve, was coming to London as a one-hour showcase to encourage backers to invest in it.

Mrs Clark said: “While it was an interesting and worthwhile experience, the pay was absolutely appalling. It didn’t even cover my digs, and I shared a room in Bayswater with the leading lady.

“It was a very hectic week. At times I thought to myself ‘What am I doing?’. I was tearing around London on the underground, discovering stations were closed, hopping on other trains.

“But then it was a real challenge, and I do like a challenge.”

Mrs Clark,who has a one-year-old great-granddaughter, has spent years in repertory theatre.

She will return to her roots this October in CLOGS Musical Theatre’s next production, The Full Monty, which will be directed by husband John, playing the part of Jeanette Burmeister.

“Jeanette is a hard-drinking, hard-smoking, wise-cracking septuagenarian piano accompanist for the stripping steel-workers, so I was a natural for the part,” she said.

The Full Monty is at the Neeld Hall, Chippenham, from October 17–21. For tickets, call (01249) 701628, or book online by visiting www.clogs-chippenham.co.uk

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