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Newark's Carolyn Drury retires for second time from teaching drama

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A drama teacher who has taught thousands of youngsters over decades has retired ­— for a second time ­— to concentrate on writing for the stage.

Carolyn Drury of Albert Street, Newark, was head of creative and performing arts at Newark College until she took early retirement 22 years ago.

She then threw herself into running Nearly Instant Theatre Session, which she had started after helping a friend, the late Anthony Bilton, with a children’s show.

Carolyn Drury at the Robin Hood Theatre, Averham. (5197128)
Carolyn Drury at the Robin Hood Theatre, Averham. (5197128)

“At the end of the show one of the children asked me if I could do something like it in the school holidays.”

She came up with a plan for youngsters to devise and perform a play in a week, and 130 took part.

“It just took off from there,” she said. “My aim was not about training young actors; it was about giving the the confidence to grow.”

The project, which became known as NITS, went on to deliver drama workshops throughout England, specialising in delivering large-scale performance projects in a short time, and offering drama workshops and training to all age groups.

But she said there were many more things for young people to do now, and she felt NITS’ time had come to an end.

Carolyn, 74, who grew up in Newark and has lived in the town for most of her life, trained as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

She has worked as a professional director and is a member of the Guild Of Drama Adjudicators.

She has always enjoyed writing but, with between working and bringing up her family, struggled to find the time.

“I now feel that this is my time at last,” she said.

Carolyn has already written several plays and musicals, and is currently working on one called Strike A Match, about a wedding in a football-mad family.

She has no concerns about coming up with new ideas for material.

“My imagination is the only muscle that still works,” she said.

Carolyn is also looking forward to spending more time with her family. Her husband, Mike Spear, died seven years ago, but she has four children, two stepchildren, and four grandchildren.

Two of her daughters, Flick Millis and Zanda Pepper, live in Newark and have been involved with their mother in NITS and appeared in her plays.

Carolyn is also chairman of the Wolfit Endowment Fund, which presents an annual lecture in Newark in memory of the famous Balderton actor manager Sir Donald Wolfit.

Carolyn has long connections with both the Palace Theatre in the town and the Robin Hood Theatre at Averham. She has also written three books, about the Palace, about the Newark’s printing heritage, and about the English Civil War.

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