July 14th, 2011 - Jane Asher in her dressing room at The Rose Theatre at Kingston Upon Thames, Greater London, Britain, while she was rehearshing for the 'Farewell to the Theatre' and 'The Importance of Being Earnest' plays.
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My haven: Actress and cake queen Jane Asher invites us into her dressing room at the Rose Theatre in south-west London
By Roz Lewis for The Mail on Sunday
16 September 2011
1 CORSET'S FUN
I’m playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance Of Being Earnest here this autumn, and it requires me to wear a corset.
I’m a completely different shape once I’m pulled into it and I can’t think why we don’t all wear them.
Who am I kidding? I know exactly why – you can’t breathe in them! But for a couple of hours on stage I can pretend I have the figure this magical garment gives me – at the age of 65! It gets me in the right frame of mind for the part.
2 IN THE SWIM
It’s pretty tough doing eight shows a week, and if I’m unfit I soon notice. I’ve tried all kinds of fitness regimes over the years, but swimming is the one I’ve kept up with most consistently: I can nip to my local baths, swim non-stop and relatively fast for exactly 20 minutes (which feels like an hour and a half), get showered and dressed and be back home all in three quarters of an hour.
While I’m working here I use the local pool, which is close and very comfortable.
3 MY BABIES
I was going to buy this cross-looking little baby for a friend who was about to give birth, but it reminded me so much of my son Alexander, who was four at the time, I couldn’t bear to part with it.
Then I spotted the frightened little chap in the same shop, and they summed up the relationship between Alex and his younger brother Rory so I had to get him as well.
I added the cute little girl later for their older sister, Katie. They’re now 37, 29 and 27, and the best of friends.
4 SPOTLIGHT ON US
My brother Peter, sister Clare and myself were all child actors, although I was the only one foolish enough to make it my career. My sister became a teacher and my brother is in the music business, and the three of us are still very close.
This picture from the profession’s casting book, Spotlight, from 1952 always makes me smile – I love the added information that ‘all have red hair’. How could any casting director resist such a wonderful recommendation?
5 40-YEAR HITCH
One of the many advantages of being married to a brilliant artist – my husband is Gerald Scarfe – is that any card he gives me is a work of art (although it’s a bit unfair I have to spend hours in card shops when he can just pop upstairs and produce something unique and beautiful).
After the 40-odd years we’ve been together, Gerald understands the tension for an actress on first night, and will always send me a little gift and tell me how brilliant I am.
6 MEMORIES OF MUM
When I was a child, my mother would dress a doll in the costume I was wearing for whichever play I was in, and she made this one when I was playing Wendy in Peter Pan at London’s Scala Theatre when I was 15. She died earlier this year, and although she had been suffering from dementia and hadn’t been anything like ‘my Mum’ for some time, I miss her dreadfully.
She always sent me a card on first nights, so now I have this little doll in my dressing room instead.
Picture 1) Daily Mail.
Pictures 2 to 6) Mike Lawn/REX/Shutterstock.
Picture 7) From the net. If it's yours, drop me a line and I'll give you full credit. Thanks.