Pip Parry's hitherto unsung career as a script-writer seems to have begun during
his last year in primary school, when an eccentric teacher used the daily arithmetic
periods to encourage his pupils to improvise and act out their own playlets. As
a result, Pip developed an abiding interest in things theatrical and an abiding
weakness in mathematics. In his 'teens he wrote sketches for a Youth Club concert-party.
His working life was spent as a Lecturer in Climatology at Reading University.
After retirement, he and his wife moved to Milton Keynes, and he joined the Open Theatre group (based at the Open University) where he acted in several productions alongside Christina Lay, an OU Editor. In 1997 he set up the Third-Age Players (TAP) a sub-group of the Milton Keynes University of the Third Age (U3A) the organisation for retired active people and Christina, about to retire fully herself, was his first recruit. The new Company was charmed to observe the treasury of pieces he had already written, on which most of their first production was based.
As the new Company gained in strength and confidence, he was unable to kick
the writing habit. He claims that his addiction is aided and abetted by the rest
of the TAP group. He has never found it easy, even though his motivation was merely
to raise a few chuckles. It requires listening to other people's conversation,
scribbling surreptitious notes, writing and rewriting several times, and ending
up with a two-finger assault on an ageing typewriter.
Nowadays (2003) about to reach the age of 82, he is still writing, though more
slowly. His own favourite 'creation', which, for obvious reasons, cannot be performed
by TAP, is a version of Babes in the Wood, featuring the Marx Brothers. It helps,
he says, if one is just a little bit barmy.
Apart from authoring all the material in Hidden Treasures, Pip has lent his address for the Company, and is handling the despatch of orders.
Christina Lay's first job was as an Editorial Assistant at Index Publishers,
Dunstable. She had enjoyed the regular drama training at the Luton High School,
belonged to both the Literary and Drama after-school societies, and acted in several
productions. She later gained a Distinction in English Language and Literature
with supplementary Speech and Drama, and her Teaching Certificate. In her twenties
she performed in national Public Speaking competitions, and in recent years has
taught Speaking skills for the Open University and been an active member of a
local speaking Club (www.the-ASC.org.uk).
She was among the early applicants to the newly-formed Open University, and
finally gained a BSc. She joined the Staff in 1977 and after 15 years as a Course
Manager and Associate Lecturer, transferred into editing. She was also a member
of the Open Theatre Group from 1977 and later acted with Pip Parry. By 1997 she
had taken early retirement, was working on a Consultancy basis, but had also joined
MK U3A. The announcement of Pip's new drama Group drew her into active participation.
Within a year she had realised what a wealth of material Pip had accumulated
that was worthy of publication. She secretly began to compile it into a volume.
Encouraged by the Third-Age Players, she finally revealed a draft to Pip (including
the innovative Performing Rights Application
Form) and began the hard task of convincing him. The project has been set
back many times, partly by the work she did on the Company's productions, and
not least because Pip continued to write more material too good to leave out.
By mid-2003 Hidden Treasures is finally
ready for publication and Parrilay Plays MK has been set
up to launch it.
As well as editing all the material, Christina is acting as Business Manager and e-mail contact for the Company.
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