Joan Rice at the Golders Green Theatre

Joan Rice in 1973

It is always interesting to read your comments about my posts on this blog. Here is a message I received from Steve, regarding Joan Rice (1930-1997):

“ As a Grammar school boy I remember seeing her in Tea Sympathy at the Golders Green theatre which later became the BBC rehearsal theatre. We had seen her in Robin Hood the Disney film and were delighted to see a ‘ Hollywood Star’ on stage...from memory she was very sexy in a play which appealed to young men of a certain age. Just seen her in The Steel Key with Terence Morgan on Talking Pictures....always thought that they would have made a perfect Paul Temple and Steve”.

Golders Green Hippodrome 

The Grade II listed Hippodrome Theatre building next to Golders Green Underground station was built as a 3,000-seat music hall by Bertie Crewe, and opened on Boxing Day 1913.

Its capacity was reduced by half with the construction of a full theatre stage, and it began to be used for pre- and post-London tours, and has been used as a receiving venue for West End transfers.  

It would be interesting to know the year Robert Anderson’s Tea and Sympathy was performed there? It must have been sometime between 1956 (because of a ban being lifted) and 1969 when the BBC took the theatre over as a television studio.

Joan Rice

Although Joan Rice’s acting ability was criticised by director Ken Annakin and actor Richard Todd, my research had shown that as her film stardom waned, she continued a successful stage career.

She had actually attended ‘The Company of Youth,’ often known as the ‘Rank Charm School,’ J. Arthur Rank's training institution for young film actors. It was established adjacent to Rank's experimental Highbury studio in a disused church hall, under the auspices of Olive Dodds, the Organisation's Director of Artistes. The school trained its pupils in everything from voice production to fencing and launched the careers of stars like: Christopher Lee, Dirk Bogarde, Patrick McGoohan, Donald Sinden, Honor Blackman, Michael Craig, Kay Kendal, Shirley Eaton, David McCallum, Joan Collins and Diana Dors.

The programme for A View From A Bridge 1959

Joan’s favourite stage-roll was Catherine in Arthur Miller’s A View From A Bridge. The theatre program (above) shows her ‘ topping the bill’ in this production at the Savoy Theatre in Kettering in 1959.

During the summer of 1954 Joan's contract with Rank was apparently not renewed. But we know that in February 1955 she was photographed flying out to Dublin to appear in the play Welcome Stranger at the Gaity Theatre. And, in August that same year, Joan flew to the Isle Of Man to star in the comedy For Better Or For Worse.

Another highlight of her stage career was in 1972, when she appeared alongside Davy Jones of 'The Monkees', James Hayter and Dave King in Forget Me Not at the Leeds Grand Theatre. This production was later voted 'play of the year' and went on tour. 

This web site is dedicated to the memory of Joan Rice and to read much more about her life and career just click here.

1 comment:

Clement Glen said...

"Joan Rice at the Golders Green Theatre”

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