Noises Off

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 3rd March 2012


Went to London on Saturday for a lunch with the Museum Director of the York Museum and Geneviève Moulard. Geneviève has written a superb book on the WAAF in two World Wars and Ian and I were able to help her in a very small way. Unfortunately it is only in French at present but we are all hoping she will find a publisher prepared to produce it in English – it certainly deserves to be seen in translation.

Went to see Noises Off in the evening at the Old Vic. The production was superb and probably spoke more to me as an ex actress because all the circumstances have/do and still happen in a production be it a comedy, farce or tragedy. I was crying with laughter in the first half of the second act to the point that I got a pain from laughing.
There wasn’t a single weak link among the cast – they were all superb. It is an exhausting show for the actors and timing is of the essence. But I have to single out Janie Dee because I worked with her two years ago in Calendar Girls (in which I had a very small part). She is a highly talented, consummate professional and also a really nice person.

Went backstage and was greeted as though we’d been together yesterday.

It was rather poignant for me to be able to go backstage. The last time I visited the Old Vic was as a schoolgirl in 1956. We were taken by our English Teacher, Mother Mary David, to see Othello starring Richard Burton and John Neville who alternated the roles of Othello and Iago. At the time I was much enamoured of Mr. Neville (playing Iago) and queued at the stagedoor hoping to obtain the autograph of my hero. (I wasn’t interested in Mr. Burton – can you imagine that!) I saw the back of Mr. Neville in a navy (silk) gown with white spots but no autograph, However I wrote to him and a lovely autographed photo came back to me. After Laurel and Hardy, his was the first autograph in the book my mother gave me in 1953.
I remember that we made these visits to the Old Vic for the princely sum of 2/7d – that included our train fare, the price of the ticket and the 1d from the class of 30 provided the 2/6d for our teacher, Mother Mary David. The programmes were small yellow things which cost 4d. I gave away a massive collection of Theatre programmes going back 50 years but I kept those rather precious little yellow ones which reminded me that I’d seen some of today’s greats like Judy Dench in very minor roles.

On the train home it took me the full journey just looking at the photos in Geneviève’s excellent book – Les Femmes de La Royal Air Force – 1918 – 1945.
She is now engaged on research about the Wrens so if anyone reading my Blog has been a Wren or has one as a relation and has any photos/stories to tell, then please get in touch with me and I will pass details on to Geneviève.

Incidentally she and I met through my researches into Renè Mouchotte.

I’m away for a few days – going to visit the Yorkshire Air Museum – Allied Air Forces Memorial. As I am now a Vice President, I feel it encumbent upon me to get to know the museum and to visit the recently unveiled Memorial to the French Bomber Crews which is in York Minster.

A Bientôt - Jan

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