Hi Finsbury Park,
Last week we went to see the dress rehearsal Park Theatre’s production ‘Madame Rubenstein.’ It was a fantastic show, exploring themes of racism, feminism and sexuality during the 1950’s and 60’s. Park had invited us to a performance that was open to members of the community free of charge. This was an opportunity for us to speak to Finsbury Park residents about their experience of arts and culture. We found everyone had a limited knowledge of what there was to do in their local area, but were very interested in arts and culture, and many had strong connections with the arts. We asked a few people what they thought of the show and their connection with the arts in Finsbury Park, and we had some interesting responses.
“My son did acting too you know, when he was younger! He did acting the first time with a lady, you know Sylvia Young on a Saturday first thing as he come from Trinidad. I come from Trinidad and Tobago. He and my god daughter, two of them, they’d act and he started from there and done several things and one with Barbara Windsor, on The Desmonds and on adverts – yeah he did a lot, and it was better when he was under 16, because all the cheques used to come in my name! I used to save it for him, but you know…. It always came in my name – good ole days! I used to live in Archway, then we moved down to Brecknock, then off the Cally – always lived in Islington, it’s the best borough. My daughter lives in Islington as well, and my son lives in Plymouth, but he still be bringing the little ones! This is my neighbour Maureen!”
“I worked backstage doing hair and make up for about 15 years. At the Haymarket Theatre, The Old Vic, Royal Shakespeare. It’s nice to come back and see a theatre production. I’ve known Miriam Margolyes from Los Angeles. But I didn’t recognise Francis Barbara in her wig and everything – she looked really different. I’ve spent my entire life standing on the other side, in the wings, or the other side of the camera in films for 40 years. I lived abroad for most of my working life. I came back to live in this area and all the old stuff is gone, like the old Astoria, and all the wonderful places. For me this is the first time I’ve been here. I thought right, I’ve got something local to go to now! I really admire them for doing a production of this sort here. It’s a small theatre and it’s marvellous to get such huge talent”
“The show was fantastic and it’s going to be aired for the first time tonight. So we were guinea pigs. We enjoyed it, it was very funny. We got a few shocks – what they should have said is ‘in case you got a bad heart or something there’s a man taking off his clothes.’ I love the theatre; I like the cinema as well. I like films too. And maybe arts and crafts. People doing all those kinds of things, stalls and stuff. I live in Islington so it’s easy access. It’s no problem to get here and they’re advertising a lot to try and get people to come here.”
Madame Rubenstein is on at Park Theatre until 27 May 2017