Sylvia Poole aka Emily Baines

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You’ve been both acting and directing for the Kings and Abbots Langley Players for more years than you might care to remember! Do you know how many plays you’ve acted in and how many you’ve directed in that time?

Oh crikey! I’ve directed about half a dozen and acted in a baker’s dozen!

Which ones have been the most memorable for you?

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me which I directed for Abbots in March this year, Lettice and Lovage which I appeared in for the Company of Ten in St Albans in the early 1990’s and directing Daisy Pulls it Off at Kings Langley about 20 years ago.

Are there any particular types of play you prefer to be involved in?

Shakespeare and the classics.

You play the awkward resident, Emily, in Summer End. What’s she like?

Cantankerous, bloody minded but frightened of approaching infirmities.

You have a busy life outside the drama world. What sort of working life have you had? Is there any time left for other interests and hobbies?

I spent many years working as a House Mistress in boarding schools followed by a few years working in the county court before retiring. It may sound prosaic but I enjoy reading, particularly books with an historical background, knitting, crossword puzzles and holidaying with family!

When you’ve finished Summer End do you have any plans or ambitions for future productions?

No immediate plans but I would like to direct the play ‘A Busy Day’ by Fanny Burney written in the late 1700’s but it has a large cast – and of course I’m always available for Lady Bracknell!

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Laura Tomlinson aka Sally

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How did you get involved?
It was all a bit random really, I saw a post on the Abbots Langley Matters group on Facebook saying the annual meeting was taking place, so I went along and ended up signing up.
Have you done much in the way of acting before? Are you enjoying it?
I was actually a part of YPDC (Young People’s Drama Centre) until the age of 18 and was involved in a show they took up to the Edinburgh Festival, which was an amazing experience. Since then I haven’t really had the time to be involved in much, so I was thrilled when this opportunity came about. Acting has always been a passion of mine and I am really enjoying getting back into it again.
If you had the chance, are there any particular plays or types of play you’d like to get involved in after this one?
I have a love of musical theatre, I sing and dance, so anything in that genre would be amazing. Aside from that I generally like things that are a bit different, such as surrealist theatre, or plays with dark themes.
You play Sally in this one, an assistant carer in the retirement home. What sort of character is she?
The first direction I was given was ‘think of Kevin from Harry Enfield’ which has really helped me to shape her. She basically is a sullen teenager, very immature and quite thoughtless at times. I wouldn’t say she is exactly the best employee, she would much rather sit and have a chat then actually do her work. But she is not a malevolent character, she has her flaws like everyone else, but I think deep down she is quite caring really.
How do you get on with learning the lines? Do you have any particular method of learning them?
I actually have a really bad memory, so I do struggle a bit, but I just keep reading over and over them until they stick in my head. Rehearsals help, as once you see how everything fits in with the other characters and your characters movements it helps me to memorise them.
Apart from the acting, how else do you like to spend your leisure time?
As previously mentioned I am quite musical so enjoy singing and also attending gigs to watch some of my favourite bands. Other than that I like spending time with friends and have to admit I am a bit of a TV slob at times.