Theatre

Theatre has always been Anita’s first love ever since she was a four-year-old when her grandfather took her to see her first pantomime, where she sang and danced to the music and songs in the aisle of the theatre, where, consequently, that is where the seed grew in her mind, her love of wanting to be on stage stated and even to this day has NEVER ceased.

Anita’s long and varied theatre career has ranged from Pantomime to appearing in the home city of Stratford-Upon-Avon for The RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) where she played Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2013/14.

 Before she became a household name in 1985 as being the first landlady of The Queen Vic in Eastenders, Anita was becoming an established actress by appearing in a number of plays and pantomimes before then.

Here is the list of plays she has appeared in, but not necessarily in the correct order dates:-

23 Sept 1974 – Eva Peron (the Nurse)

19-31 July 1982 –The Servant of Two Masters (Smeraldina the maid, on tour, The Cambridge Theatre Company)

 June 1976 Leave Him To Heaven – (Roxanne) at the New London Theatre (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Musical)

Chorus Girls – (Vera) 1974

 Fumed Oak (Elsie) Watford Palace – 1975

Hands Across The Sea (Walters) Watford Palace- 1975

 March 13th-4th April 1975  One of the Andrew Sisters)Happy As A Sandbag (A Wartime Musical)

 April 1977 The Boyfriend (Hortense-the saucy French Maid) Marlowe Theatre

September 28-22nd October 1973 TheThreepenny Opera (Jenny Diver- Marlowe Theatre)

Ghost Train at the Nottingham Playhouse 1973

The Clapham Wonder (Rosa Fisher)

Deeds (Gudrun Officer’sWife) 26 January-18 February 1978 The Alchemist (Dol Common – Nottingham Playhouse)

The Mahagonny (Mermaid Theatre)

A Feydeau Farce at Basinstoke

 7 October 1979 The Story of The Lyric – where Anita performed From The Duchess of Malfi, The Beggar’s Opera, Interval-Interval, Man Not A Mouse, Complaints-a Debutante, Medley from Valmouth, Finale – ITS Good To Be Home Again (These were seven plays Anita performed in at The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith which told the story of the various plays held at this venue)

8 November-8 December 1979 – Pygmalion (Eliza at Salisbury Playhouse) This was either a Spin-off or the forerunner of My Fair Lady

Murder on the Metropolitan Line at the Little Theatre

The Four Twins – 1974 (New End Theatre)

Ardele (Ada-The Chambermaid) 18 June 1975

17 April – 10th May 1975 Hello Hollywood Hello ( Played several Characters including Clara Bow, Margaret Dumont, Joan Fontaine,Dolores Del Rio, Cheryl Turner and Elizabeth Taylor – Watford Theatre)

1st October 1984 Henry 1V by William Shakespeare (Mistress Quickly – Oxford Playhouse Company)

3rd February-26 March 1983-Charley’s Aunt ( Kitty Verdun at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith)

19 December-1981-6th February 1982 A Night in Old Peking(Aladdin at The Lyric Hammersmith)

Tartuff

The Wizard of Oz (Nottingham Playhouse) 1977 Dec 20 – 21 Jan 1978 Anita played several characters in this show!

9 August-1st September 1979 Side by Side by Sondheim at The Playhouse – Salisbury

7th July 1981 Eastward Ho!  (Gertrude) for the opening of The New Mermaid Theatre)

1976 Anita sang and danced in The Horseshoe’s Old Time Music Hall

23rd-28th May 1977 Sleeping It Off (Sophie at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton)

 Here is just a few of Anita’s Pantomime Credits before 1985

21st December 1974-January 18th 1975 – Babes In The Wood (Baby Jill at Watford Palace)

23rd December 1983 – Jack and the Bean Stalk (Jack Durden at Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells)

13TH December1982- First Performance of Dick Whittington (As Dick- Shaw Theatre, London)

As soon as Anita had finished her training at Webber Douglas Drama Academy she immediately won a place to appear in a children’s Christmas show The Saga of Sir Singalot  at the Billingham Forum, from there, she then went to the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow where she appeared in Rep in Tartuffe, Tamburlaine the Great, The Father, The Connection,  Old Times, Arden of Faversham, Macbeth, The Collection  and A Slight Ache. When she returned to London she appeared twice at London’s newest –and for many the most exciting – of the Leave Him to Heaven which transferred to the New London Theatre for a highly successful run. After that came Old Time Music Hall and before Sleeping It Off Anita played Hortense in The Boyfriend at Canterbury.

I will write more detail of Anita’s theatrical career on stage leading up to 1985 and her 3 years in EastEnders after I have given her the lowdown from (1986 in pantomime) and 1988 in theatre!

Starting with Pantomimes:-

1986-87 Aladdin (Aladdin Pavilion Theatre Bournemouth)

1987-88 Aladdin (Aladdin Richmond Theatre, Richmond)

1988-89 – no pantomime as Anita was playing at the Cambridge Theatre in the musical Budgie

1989-1990  Dick Whittington (Alice Fitzwarren at The Orchard Theatre Dartford)

1990-1991 Aladdin (Aladdin at Theatre Royal, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne)

1991-1992  Dick Whittington (Dick Whittington at the Hexagon Theatre in Reading)

1992-1993 Snow White (Red Queen at Richmond Theatre, Richmond)

1993-1994 No Pantomime this Season as Anita had only just finished playing Katia Europa in the comedy Eurovision at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End

1994-1995 The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford)

1996-1997 Snow White (Queen Morgiana of Moravia at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford)

1997-1998 Snow White (The Wicked Queen at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford)

1998-1999 Dick Whittington (Queen Rat at Hackney Empire)

1999-2000  No Pantomime as paying Mabel Ellis in the musical The Pajama Game in Birmingham, Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Canada before returning to The Victoria Palace in London’s West End

2000-2001 Wizard of Oz (Wicked Witch of the West (Miss Gultch) at Richmond Theatre, Richmond)

2001-2002 Snow White (Wicked Queen at Derngate, Northampton)

2002-2003 Snow White at Fairfield, Croydon

2003-2004 Snow White (The Wicked Queen at Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells)

2004-2005 Snow White (Queen Lueretia at Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe)

2005-2006 Santa Claus-The Musical (Ice Queen at the Mayflower, Southampton)

2006-2007 Snow White (Queen Esmeralda at The Regent Theatre, Ipswich)

2007 7-30th December Santa Claus-The Musical (Ice Queen at Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham)

2008-2009 No Pantomime this Season

2009-2010 Aladdin (Anita shared the role of The Genie of the Lamp with: Paul O’Grady, Ruby Wax AND Pamela Anderson at New Wimbledon Theatre)

2010-2011 Sleeping Beauty ( Carabosse The Wicked Queen at Richmond Theatre, Richmond)

2011-2012 Aladdin (Anita shared this role of Genie of the Lamp with Camilla Dallerup and Russell Grant at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes)

2014-2015 No Pantomime this year as Anita actually took the first Christmas off to be with her family

2015-2016 Sleeping Beauty (Malevolence, the Wicked Queen at New Victoria Theatre, in Woking sharing the same role for the last two weeks with Katie Price the first two weeks of December)

Theatre Credits 1986-2015

1990 – Jane Fielder in the hard hitting play “Wild Justice” at Stratford East Theatre

1991 – Lusia Weiss in “My Lovely Shayna Maidel” at the Ambassadors Theatre

1991 – Donna in “Kvetch” at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe, The Kings Head, Islington & The Garrick in the West End

1992 – Madame Jourdain by Moliere in “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” at the Royal National Theatre

1993 – Barbara in “Big Night Out at The Little Sands Picture Palace” at Nottingham Playhouse

1995/1996 – Anita joined the Out of Joint Theatre Company to tour two plays in repertoire “Olga Prozorov” in “Three Sisters” and a new play by Timberlake Wertenbaker “Break of Day” playing “April”

1996 – Mia Pinneburg in a play with music/song “What Now Little Man” at the Greenwich Theatre. This is a play about a German Jewish family set just before WW2 and the family were all (4) sent to a concentration camp, but it was only Mia who survived. From the novel by Hans Fallada.

1996 – was a guest celebrity who starred in “Something Wonderful” as part of Covent Garden Opera Festival & Music & Arts, the Production staged at the Savoy Theatre, Covent Garden

1996 – Marie Steuber in “Time and The Room” as part of the Edinburgh Festival at the Royal Lyceum Theatre

1998 – Nancy Shirley in “Frozen” at Birmingham Rep before transferring to the National Theatre

1998 – Sybil in “Filibuster” at The Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden

2002 – “Vagina Monologues” at The Arts Theatre, London’s West End

2002 – Anita reprised her role of Nancy in “Frozen” at the Cottesloe Theatre (NT) from 3 July (Anita was nominated for an Olivier Award for her role

2003 – Anita reprised her same role whilst “Vagina Monologues” was on its UK Tour

2006 – Queen of Denmark in “Hamletat the Ambassadors Theatre

 2009 – July – Chris – Anita took over the lead as did 2nd new cast of “Calendar Girls” at the Noel Coward Theatre

2009 – November – Anita reprised her role in “Vagina Monologues” again (Southampton)

2010 – Two Sisters which was for the New Play Festival which opened 10 June AT Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne for 2 dates before moving on to Brighton’s Pavilion Theatre for a further 3 dates

2011/2012 – Joan Crawford in “Bette and Joan” which opened 10 May for a limited season but returned for a UK Tour for Anita and Greta Scacchi (Bette Davis)  to reprise the same roles from February 2012

2011 – Jocasta in “Oedipus” by Steven Berkoff (After Sophocles) Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh 3-29 August

2012/2013 – “Mistress Quickly” Anita made her debut for (RSC) in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” 25 October to 12 January at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon

2014 – July 4th Carnival of the Animals

2013 – “The Hitchikkers Guide To The Galaxy” “Voice of The Book-Radio Show Live!” On tour where Anita appeared at four of the venues

2015 – 1-18 July Anita headed a strong cast as Mrs Hardcastle in “She Stoops To Conquer” Theatre Royal, Bath

2017 – 18 March Anita was one of the celebrities who performed at the London Palladium to honour the lovely Forces Sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn’s 100 💯 th Birthday!

Footnote: where there are long gaps in between dates, is because Anita is either doing TV or Film work