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Stars fight to get Anna back her life's work.

Tom MacKenzie | 19.12.2003 04:02 | Indymedia | Repression | London | World


The following article comes from the Islington Gazette, dated 18/12/03.
The headline;
Top TV stars and personalities have lashed out at the treatment of Islington's best-known drama teacher.
Everyone from former Eastenders hard man Martin Kemp to Islington South and Finsbury MP Chris Smith have joined a growing campaign to have Anna Scher reinstated as the principal of the theatre she founded in Barnsbury Road more than 30 years ago.
The legendary drama teacher, peace activist and role model for thousands battled her way back from illness last year-only to find the theatre's board of directors were refusing to let her have her job back.
The board, who are allowing Ms Scher to teach just four sessions a week at the theatre, have even told her not to use the Anna Scher slogan without asking their permission.
But Ms Scher's loyal friends and former pupils are determined to see her back where she belongs.
Soap star Martin Kemp said "I was saddened to hear of the way in which Anna has been treated. She is the life blood of the Anna Scher Theatre and without her and her incredible energy at the helm, the theatre and all it has done for the children of Islington and beyond will lose it's credibility. Anna has placed the beginnings of a dream into the heads of thousands of budding actors. Please let her finish her work she started as head of the Anna Scher Theatre."
Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson said she would not be happy sending her own children to the theatre without Ms Scher being at the helm. The heart of the theatre is missing and I'm really unhappy about sending my children to a place that could treat such a warm, caring, and inspirational woman like Anna so badly." She said.
Ms Scher set up the world renowned Barnsbury Road theatre 35 years ago to give under-privileged kids a chance to break into acting. Her teaching has inspired thousands of children and produced other stars such as Pauline Quirke, Patsy Palmer and Susan Tully.
In March, Ms Scher was given the freedom of the borough-the highest civic honour that can be awarded in Islington by Islington Council in tribute to her devoted work.
Kathy Burke said "My time at the Anna Scher Theatre was nothing but a massive education and a beautiful inspiration-what more could you want?"
Ms Scher who says she has made a full recovery from the depression that forced her to step aside, said the board's decision had a massive blow but her friends were keeping her going. "I'm heartbroken" she said "What has sustained me is the love, loyalty and longevity of my student friends-I don't know what I would have done without them. People in the community have been fantastic. I can't go down the street with out people coming up to offer me their support." A statement from the theatre's board said: "The board fully understands the emotional ties that a charismatic founder like Anna has with the organisation she founded. The board is firmly of the view, however, that no further disruption must occur at the theatre; it needs a stable and calm period to develope and grow under its present administration."

By Tom Mackenzie (Reporter for the Islington Gazette)

Tom MacKenzie


Hide the following 6 comments

Stars fight to get Anna back her life's work

19.12.2003 11:51

J.P. Steven Dawson is a wanker, this tosser actually thinks he's God on the Board of Directors at the Anna Scher Theatre, getting on to the board and then stabbing a defenceless woman in the back while she was ill, telling lies about former members of the board, demanding the impossible, telling a woman with over 35 years experience that unless she signs away her freedom on how she teaches her students she'll not be allowed to return to the theatre she founded in the new year.
Who the fuck do you think you are you fucking leech using the name of one so well respected to keep a community based theatre up and running, for over 30 years the Anna Scher method has worked successfully here and all over the world, so why change it? Don't you read the fucking newspapers? Can't you see that racism is rearing it's ugly head once again or maybe that's what you'd like to see seeing you already discriminate on the grounds of a person's health, why don't you do us all a big favour and go and jump into a large lake?
You fucking parasites survive on Anna's name and remember this if there had been no Anna Scher there wouldn't be a board for you and the rest of your cronies to sit on and unlike Anna Scher I am not such a pacifist, I play real dirty, you wanna play with me Dawson/Dork-son we'll come down to your residence giving you early morning calls with a fog horn.
Due to this parasite who'll put the blame entirely with the friends of Anna Scher for any future actions against the board and their cronies some well angry actors have decided to put together the RECLAIM OUR THEATRE so that the blame for any future direct action is totally down to us and no one else, why should you be allowed to use the Anna Scher name when you've treated the person so disgracefully. To all the parents who send your children to that theatre, they have given Anna Scher the boot and we'll be setting up the All New Anna Scher Theatre soon and due to Dawson and Co doing there very best to gag Anna Scher so she can't inform you of the new theatre, we at Reclaim our Theatre will do it for her as we'll not be gagged by arseholes like Steven Dawson playing God. To all those on the Anna Scher waiting lists if you really want to be taught by the world famous Anna Scher with her proven technique which has worked for over 30 years then get in touch e,mail
Massive respect to Anna and all her friends, we love you all....


Stars fight to get Anna back her life's work

19.12.2003 12:43

Why not contact L.A.R.C. to use there building to arrange a meeting on this? Alternatively speak to Jane at Freedom Press, I'm sure she'll help you out and my comment is that it's bloody discusting how these people on the board of directors have treated such a well loved person, have another look on Companies House to getr the full list of addresses of those on the board and we'll come along for there early morning wake up call, how'd you like the Samba band to sort it? I went to the theatre there for many festivals over the years, some very good actors coming up from there, we support any direct action against the board and appreciate that due to you all not wanting to cause trouble for Anna that you've decided to set up your own organisation of resistance, well done, keep up the struggle, respect from all at London Action Resource Centre.


Good luck

19.12.2003 14:56

Although I knew nothing of this story until now it is a disgraceful tale.Some people love power and must be stopped.
Good luck to the Reclaim the Theatre.
Hope you will keep Indymedia informed of any actions.


Stars to fight to get Anna back her life's work

19.12.2003 16:35

Anna Scher, you will really find out who your real friends are with this campaign your on, just watch those you thought were your friends shy away from you now. massive respect to all those that are or will be standing by you Anna. one of your students phoned me in the early hours of today (Friday) angry and tearful over what these board of directors at your theatre have done to you and due to your wish and the wishes of the friends of Anna Scher, he talked to me about setting up The Reclaim our Theatre who will organise resistance against the discrimination used against you, they will be your loud voice of opposition to the board, we have a samba band that are willing to bring a carnival style protest to Barnsbury Road and your friend who's life you saved so many years ago who told me the whole up-setting story is prepared to go to the ends of the earth for you. When not at your theatre, your friend who I will not name, you know who he is does a little drama workshop down in Hackney Wick, he brings all the stuff you give him and does the lesson the way you do yours, we even have many of your poems on our walls in our social centre that people take interest in and if anyone is spreading the word around the disadvantaged it's him. This young man must love you with all his heart, and won't have a bad word said about you. I know him from many protests, but have never seen him so worked up as he is now, he's calling on all those that support you to get in touch and go out with him in the Islington area and do impro's in the street, I'm totally up for that myself to tell a story through drama about how you've been treated these many months since your full recovery. Your friend will be out and about tonight telling friends of your situation and i must say he won me over this morning, I'm sure he'll win many more over for you tonight.

with love and good wishes xxx

Mystery Max

Mystery Max

What Would She Want

17.01.2004 13:31

I just wanted to point out all this agression and bad muothing is not how anna would want to regain her rightfull possition at the theater, and those that truly know and respect her ideas should know that. i underestand that every one is angry at the way she has been treated but shouldnt we be trying to challenge them positivly? andy evlin and marcus hve done everything , (as far as i am concered ) to continue annas methods and use there own ideas as well they are not to blame. i 17 and watching grown up adults react in such a playgrund argument type of way is not only discuraging but shamefull we know its wrong but dont be wrong in your reactions as well, it makes you as bad as them i am sure anna would agree with that!?

10Years at annas

Not Many Actors Around Her At The Moment Is There?

25.01.2005 18:27

Let's blow the whistle on Anna Scher and that theatre she used to run up the road, the fact is most of you who still attend her exiled classes haven't a clue that your not actually learning anything whatsoever about being an actor, your all paying your fivers so that Anna can travel the globe seeing her friends like Desmond Tutu and the rest of those that take her fancy.
How long do you really get for your fiver these days when you do an impro? Less than 2 minutes to be exact so why are you all so foolish to continue when so many of you want to go on to television and films?
You'll not get yourselves agents by attending the exiled class and you'll certainly won't by attending the other theatre, so tonight we'll give you a choice so that you can leave behind all the nonsense and get yourselves trained by real actors/teachers in classes that are to get you ready to join an agency where you'll be sent out on auditions, but you all must make the choice tonight so that this time next week you'll have a new class to attend and a real chance of going somewhere.


Then contact The Whistleblower by emailing for further information on classes and joining an agency.

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