Saturday 25 June 2022

Anne Giles: RIP

The following announcement was posted to Facebook on 23 June 2022. Since then, we have received so many lovely tributes to Anne - by email and by comments to the original posting - that we felt it appropriate to share some of them here. The comments below are just a small selection of the love and happy memories that have been shared.

We are very sad to announce the passing of one of our longest-standing, most active and loyal members. Anne was well known across the Norwich theatre family, with her roots at the Barn, for acting, directing, stage managing, costume management, props management, front of house, committee service and much more, across the last four decades. Her last stage management role was for 'Three Russian Encounters' in November/December 2021, and her last stage performance was as Cora in 'Waiting in the Wings' in July 2019. She will leave the most enormous gap in our lives.

We were notified by her friend Ian, who assisted and cared for her in the last months of her life, as follows:

"Anne Giles passed away peacefully at Priscilla Bacon Lodge in the early hours of the 19th June, 2022. Her funeral will take place at Earlham Crematorium, Norwich on Friday 1st July, 2022 at 4.15 pm.

Anne asked for bright colours to be worn. No flowers please. A memorial is planned for a later date, yet to be confirmed.

Donations for Priscilla Bacon Lodge. A range of options including online, cheque, Gift Aid and text may be found at their site:"

A memorial will be held, as Anne requested, at the Sewell Barn Theatre. The date has been set for Sunday 31 July, 1.30 for 2.00 pm and continuing through the afternoon, and further arrangements for this will be sent out to our mailing list nearer the time.

In loving memory of a loyal, energetic, dedicated and wholly remarkable woman.


We were pleased to have been contacted by the local newspaper to create an article about Anne, and Robert Little liaised with the reporter to produce a lovely article; click here to read it.

"She represented to me the spirit of drama as the irrepressible and unstoppable desire and capability to be there, get it done, make it work and have fun whilst doing so, even in the chilly spaces of Ropemakers. She always said: 'I'll do that' , however daft it was, and that characterised her as actor, director, stage manager, and all-round genie. If you didn't know how to make to happen, ask Anne. You wouldn't get off easily, but you would always come away the richer. From schools to museums to public spaces to the soul of the Barn, this small body filled the theatre world of Norwich, and it will be infinitely poorer without her.  With great sorrow and huge respect." Ralph

"A quick resumé of Anne's involvement with Norwich Historical Dance over more than 30 years: dancer; committee member, serving as (a very efficient) treasurer for several years; always on hand to help with costumes whether in making, lending or searching the Sewell Barn wardrobe so we could hire items. She was so reliable and enthusiastic, a lovely member of the group, and we miss her dearly." Amanda [Norwich Historical Dance]

"Absolutely heartbreaking news. It was an absolute privilege to work alongside her in many productions on stage & off. I can't believe it. She once told me I was a nightmare to find costumes for because I was "shaped like a barrel". I often remember that conversation fondly. I adored her dry wit, it always made any show with her such a joy." Colin

"Anne wasn't just a theatrical colleague but also a very dear friend for something like 40 years. Anne was the one that persuaded me to step into stage management and we worked together many, many times as SM or ASM. I will miss sharing a glass or 3 of red whilst discussing forthcoming projects. I will miss the phone calls... The ones that started with "Hi Ady, it's Anne. just phoned for a quick chat" - an hour later we would hang up after sorting absolutely nothing. Most of all I will miss a very dear friend. RIP Anne xx" Adrian

"Anne was a Cast roleplayer right from the beginning when Cast was first set up in 2011 and she only stopped roleplaying towards the end of 2020.  She delivered 50+ roleplay sessions for us during that time with always excellent feedback from people who worked with her. That's quite a record, and we hope she gained great satisfaction from knowing that she helped hundreds of medical students (and others) to prepare themselves for the world of 'real patients' and a whole host of challenging situations they face out there." Vera

"She will be one that goes down in the history of the Barn as an incredibly hard working member who was prepared to turn her hand to anything. From my own point of view when I was involved in directing, she was a tower of strength always willing to step in when needed, be it stage managing or helping to paint a set. She enjoyed being on stage just as much as anyone, and would be there on a Sunday in her rubber gloves to help put the stage back together again for the next show. She had boundless energy and enthusiasm for all that she undertook and will be much missed by all of us who knew her over many years." Jenny

"I’m so very sad to read this. Anne took me under her wing in my first ever meeting at the Barn and made me so welcome. Then years later made [my daughter] so welcome too. Such a strong, indomitable, dedicated and very caring lady. I’m so lucky, proud and privileged to have known Anne. Love to everyone." Ruth

"Anne was fun, funny and terrifying. All at the same time!" James

"One of the best. I remember my first ever audition. I was almost in tears, thinking I had totally messed it all up... Anne was in the foyer and sat and gave me a pep talk and cheered me up. She was kind, supportive and funny. I find it difficult to imagine the Barn or the Puppet theatre without her there. She will be missed by so many." Marie

"A sad day. I think it is fair to say she was a legend. I'll miss her. Blessed be." David

"Oh. So, so sorry to hear this. I'll always remember Anne for her indomitable spirit, wicked sense of humour and 'can do' spirit. A real lady, a true professional and a gorgeous spirit." Matthew

"Oh my goodness, such a huge shock and great loss to Norwich. I recently had the pleasure of choosing Elizabethan costumes for a project and it was delightful to spend time with Anne chatting Elizabethan fashion and all the friends we share in common. RIP to a great lady." Sarah

"Bless you, Anne. It's people like her who makes the world go round, especially the theatre world." Gill

"A wonderful, helpful lady who had huge knowledge of historical costume and helped us out at Fakenham College/High in the 80's and 90's. She was full of enthusiasm and I will never forget her supportive comments and sense of humour." Jill

"In the short time I’ve been involved at the Barn, Anne’s warmth, energy and commitment have been evident absolutely everywhere: a huge loss to the community." Shelagh

"Formidable and terrifying and passionate, caring, funny, hardworking and committed... So, so sad to hear of her passing oh, but boyyo, she did give a good performance!" Angela

"Very sad to hear this. Anne and I had a great double act for school Victorian days at Gressenhall for several years. Such a character and we shared a lot of laughs together. RIP, Mrs Clackett." Rachel

"Oh my God. How awful. I adored Anne, she was always such a force of nature and took no prisoners. She’s the reason I volunteered there for as long as I did, she was phenomenal." Meg

"Extremely sorry to hear the news of Anne. She - like Terry [Dabbs] - was a true stalwart of the Barn Theatre whom I got to work with all too seldom. However, I regularly watched them both in performance and met them socially around the place when I was able to be regular there. Both were really talented and lovely people who will be much missed." Noel

"Anne was the heart and soul of the Tiebreak Theatre company office for decades and was instrumental in setting up our touring circuit around schools and art centres. She was known for her cheerful, fun approach by actors, stage crew, funding bodies - and myself. RIP Anne." David

"Happy memories of Anne dancing at Mannington on numerous charity occasions over 30 plus years and her friendliness at Puppet Theatre and Sewell Barn where my husband and I were Thursday night ‘regulars’." Laurel

Saturday 4 June 2022


Midsummer. The village must choose a new Daughter to sail with the fishing boats and bless the waters, keeping them safe from the roaming orcas for another year. Fan hopes with all her heart to be the one they choose. But her older sister Maggie says she must never, never, go with the boats. Because something happened to Maggie out there. And no one will admit it. 

Photography: Sean Owen of Reflective Arts

"My first visit to the Sewell Barn Theatre tonight was excellent. Thank you to the whole cast for a really well-paced, thoughtful, emotional and powerful performance. It was a delight to be in a new theatre, watching excellent performances in a play I had never seen. Thank you. I look forward to more. All the best, for your upcoming performances." Marston

"I saw an excellent performance last night of this sensitive, at times very dark, play by Matt Grinder, directed by Sabrina Poole. It has it all - a stellar cast, superb set design, hauntingly beautiful original score, intelligent and intuitive direction. Well done and congratulations for this truly admirable team effort." Karen

"This was stunning and beautifully done. As a professional who specialises in with this subject matter, it was sensitively and accurately portrayed and was respectful to all of those who have gone through similar events. Well done to the cast, crew and Sabrina for putting on such an emotive show." Michelle

"...haunting, chilling, classic story with some great performances and imaginative set and sound once again." Shelagh

"It was brilliant from start to finish. One of the best plays I have seen." Kayte

"Saw a lovely production of Orca at the Sewell Barn last night ... well perhaps not lovely... riveting. Uncomfortable narrative but splendidly acted and intelligently directed by Sabrina Poole. Audibility was a bit of a problem for me but  I am a deaf old git as everyone at the theatre is aware. Well done everyone." David

"Quality play with some ingenious staging. A little disturbing, but that's the way I like my drama..." Marie

"Deeply unsettling. Brilliant casting. Superb performances." Doug

"Absolutely loved it. Should be on a bigger stage. Actors were phenomenal." Gabrielle

"Sabrina Poole’s direction and Myles Crowder’s clever inverting set keep things simple but captivating, with 90 minutes of increasingly uncomfortable foreboding." James Goffin at Cultivated - click here for full review

"Just seen another brilliant Sabrina Poole production with her trademark ingenious set designs and innovation.  The cast and crew did so well with this emotionally charged piece of theatre, especially Sarah Jenkins who lead the narrative with true emotion.  Another highlight was the music, most of which were original compositions ... get yourselves along to see 'Orca' at Sewell Barn." Laura

"I went to see the above tonight and wanted to say how much I enjoyed the performance. It was powerful stuff, well written and brilliantly performed. Wonderful set and fabulous cast." Ayshea

"Brilliant - emotional. Very well done. Don't miss this one." Vicky

"Congratulations to Sabrina Poole and all her team at the Sewell Barn Theatre for another enthralling evening’s theatre! Orca isn’t an easy play for subject but the direction and the performances are masterly, particularly from Sarah Jenkins, with a heartbreaking range of emotions, and Emma Smith as the two sisters. Wonderful chance to think through the difficult issues raised. Which are? Well you’ll just have to come and see it, won’t you!" Selwyn Tillett [Secretary, Sewell Barn Management Committee]

"I thought the play was absolutely brilliant, so well acted and the set was amazing too.. Please pass on my congratulations to Sabrina and all the cast and crew." Ruth

"Sewell Barn Theatre theatre this evening for Sabrina Poole’s production of Orca. Beautifully directed and performed. A disturbing tale beautifully told. Well done all." Robin