In this blog, Alison Lewin explains what has persuaded her to take a temporary leave of absence from her position as Cruise Coordinator on Aegean Odyssey and perform in a West End play.
We are very excited to welcome her replacement, Danella Collins, as she joins us for our summer season in the Mediterranean. With a background in customer service and travel, she will soon appear in our future blogs as she settles in on board. In the meantime, read the below emotional letter from Alison.
“Dear Friends and Past Guests,
As many of you know, before joining Voyages to Antiquity I was a working actress. From an initial three month contract on the ship, I ended up staying three years as I was having such a fantastic time sailing the Mediterranean at first, and then the Far East, too! I’ve really enjoyed meeting the wonderful guests and crew – that’s what has kept me on board, kept me motivated and inspired me to see more of the world.
However, last year my mum passed away. This has been the most devastating event of my life, as I can imagine it is for most people. But it triggered off a significant change in my attitude towards my own life and goals. My mum was proud of me no matter what I did; she loved the fact that I work at sea (as did her brother, father and grandfather as well as various uncles). But she was also keen that I should follow my dreams and when I used to ask her if I would ever make the West End, she would say, ‘If you want it to happen, it will’.
I first performed in the play Henna Night in 2007 as part of a one-act festival which toured around the UK. My co-actress and I won every ’knock-out round’ around the UK and even picked up a couple of best actress awards along the way. Sadly we didn’t win the final (being pipped by an Alan Bennett play that had less swear words and more cups of tea!), but the play has always stuck with me. I think it is a very truthful piece of writing by Amy Rosenthal, who is the daughter of the late writer Jack Rosenthal and his actress wife, Maureen Lipman.
Now fate and serendipity have always been a major part of shaping my life in general and when I returned to the ship in July 2012, I learned that Maureen Lipman was going to be joining us as a guest lecturer. By this time I had already decided that I was going to produce Henna Night – I’d had an initial meeting with a potential director and was also in the process of finding a venue. Meeting Maureen felt like a sign that I was moving in the right direction.
The next significant sign was that I had an actress in mind of who I wanted to play the role of Rosalyn. She had been on Aegean Odyssey the previous year to film for the Travel Channel and although we hit it off really well, I had no idea how to contact her. Then I found out she was coming back on board as well – I could not believe it! Now all I had to do was to convince her to take time out of her lucrative TV career to be in a little two hander play with a very unknown actress, namely me. Remarkably, she agreed !
So here we are – It’s March and I will soon be off on my sabbatical from Voyages to Antiquity. Julie Peasgood is playing Rosalyn and I am playing Judith in Henna Night at the Leicester Square Theatre, London from 28 May 2013 to 9 June 2013.
The story revolves around Judith who leaves a desperate message on the answering machine of Jack, her ex-boyfriend, informing him that she has bought a packet of henna and some razor blades, in order to either dye her hair or slash her wrists. Either way she is going to ruin her bathroom carpet!
Rosalyn hears the message and rushes to Judith’s bedsit and here begins an evening of high emotion and subtle humour, revealing how easily we can betray each other when we want something for ourselves. It also shows how fraternising with the enemy can curiously feel like spending time with a friend. Both witty and poignant, this play is wickedly perceptive and appealing unpretentious.
Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone from the Leicester Square Box for just £8.00. Click through to buy tickets online »
It would be wonderful to see you all during the two week run. I also want to thank all the people who have been part of my life over the past three years for your support and kindness, especially after the death of my mother.
It is you, our guests and friends, who have encouraged me and given me the confidence when I have performed on board and really helped my determination to succeed in an arena where my heart and passion lies.
Thank you so much and hope to see you all again soon,
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