Anna for those who haven't known about her struggle with the board of directors came about after Anna Scher became unwell back in 1999 with clinical depression, the board stated back then that they would employ someone to take care of the theatre in her abscence and her position as director of the theatre would be there for her once she'd recoverd.
The board then decided to employ Andy Smith to run the theatre full time and drop Anna altogether, and not one member of the theatre were told of this change which has led to former friends falling out and setting up two camps, those in favour of the theatre on Barnsbury Road and the other for Anna.
A life times work which belonged to Anna was then dumped into the refuse bins in the street, items including poetry, plays and scripts performed by members and former members of the theatre, memories which Anna held dear dedicated to all the hard work done by her students who she had taught for over 30 years was simply thrown in to the rubbish.
There have been several attempts by the board of directors to overturn support for Anna in the last couple of years, using tactics worse than any scoundrel would be proud of they've done their very best in using Anna's former illness to frighten parents with children who train at the theatre into thinking that a depressive illness is contagious, they then issued Anna with an ultimatum last year stating that if she did want to return to teach at the theatre, she would have to sign a 73 point plan with several conditions imposed, one of these conditions was if Anna Scher wanted to teach a particular subject in her classes, she would first have to approach the then director of the theatre (ANDY SMITH) who would then have to contact the chairman of the board Steven Dawson to get the go-ahead for the lesson.
How could someone who is neither a teacher in drama or a quailified psychiactric consultant (STEVEN DAWSON) make comments concerning another persons health or decide what should be taught to students at the theatre and what should not?
The theatre itself was set up by Anna to give those who couldn't afford to pay the high fees for places at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and other such places a chance to be creative, kids from the run down council estates, with little or nothing going on for them other than hanging around street corners, and there have been many who have come from the gutters and made professional people of themselves due to Anna's work in the community and at the theatre, people like Kathy Burke, Linda Robson, Phil Daniels, and hundreds of others who are well known names on our TV screens.
At the end of last year Andy Smith resigned as well as one or two of those who formally worked in the office these people being involved in making telephone calls to various members of Anna's refresher classes claiming that the class was cancelled for various reasons, all untrue of course, but this was how far the board of directors were prepared to stoop to prevent Anna from teaching at the theatre.
In 2001 Anna Scher was given a clean bill of health by quailified medical professionals, yet this wasn't enough for the board as they had decided undemocratically that Anna was no longer needed for the theatre which they had other plans for to make the community theatre in a term fee paying stage school which would deprive the less well off from sending their children there and the only way to get a place was to audition for it and if you weren't up to scratch you'd be shown the exit doors.
This wasn't the type of theatre Anna wanted as in her own words, theatre is for everyone to enjoy no matter your background or class status, its not just a place for the rich or over priviledged and that is why Anna is so vigorously campaigning to return to the theatre she founded so many more disadvantaged children and adults get the oppertunity to learn, perform and be creative.
There is also the question over the motives of the board as to why they will not acknowledge any letter written to them by members past and present as to why they do not want Anna back teaching in Barnsbury Road, could it be that they wish to turn the theatre into a profit making theatre or increase their over inflated pay packets each year? Not one of those on the Anna Scher board of directors resides in Islington, none one of them is a teacher and not one of them is a medical professional so why are these people on the board allowed to make opinions on another persons health or how a class should be taught?
At one point the current acting chairwoman (PAMELA TAYLOR aged 73) on the board suggested that Anna should retire seeing that she is 59 years of age, now this must be some kind of joke, clearly old Pammy is well beyond retirement age and should be down collecting her weekly entitlement at her local post office, Anna may well be 59 years of age but she'd put many of us to shame with her warm up exercises before the class really starts swinging and there are many of us who attend her classes who feel like we've just completed an areobics lesson, Anna is energetic, a fabulous dancer, singer and teacher and many of us have been with her since childhood.
We know Anna's teaching method works, if it didn't then why are her classes full each and every time she takes a lesson, the only crazy people around right now must be the ones on the board of directors as to give up on such a successful teacher like Anna is beyond belief.
The inside of the Barnsbury Road theatre looks more like a place where black masses take place than a theatre to be creative in and on Friday evening 25th June there will be a justice rally in support of Anna outside the theatre between 5.30 and 6.30pm so if anyone from the samba bands are availible to give a boost to this demo can they kindly e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if they have an hour to spend drumming up resistance to the board of directors?
Look forward to a large presence on Friday evening as an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere so if anyone can come along please do so and their may well be an after party at the Lark in the Park pub with bands and other performers situated on Copenhagen Street N1
P.S. Come along in what you like, be it an executioner or devotees of the black masses for fun and games.
The Legion of Fans