THE TUP’NEY RUSH
By Eric fowler
Having left employment aged 51 I have been casually or self employed ever since. To begin I worked part time helping a young couple running their own cinema, the 260 seat Picture House, Sunninghill.
Built by the Maharajah of Sarawak (The White Rajah) it was the first talkie house in Berkshire, and though retaining its Art Deco decor had fallen into the “bug hutch” category. The young couple were desperately short of money for repairs and decoration, bravely struggling on for a few years, still using the old carbon arcs.
To help I invested in a 16mm projector, a second hand Elf, and we took to the road giving shows in rural halls. At bet we made some petty cash for the cinema. It was hard going though a great joy with the occasional full house. Soon though the supply of new film prints dried up and we were forced to abandon the project.
Meanwhile I further invested in a new super 8mm Sanyo projector, speakers, 6ft screen and stock of 20 minute re-makes of children’s films and cartoons, and began a round of quite profitable children’s parties. By 1984 I had given 130 shows in all manner of homes and venues.
But nothing lasts. Videos came strongly on the market and children’s party film shows faded out. I still have the unused equipment. Now many things variously occupied me, particularly theatrically at the Redgrave Theatre Farnham and South Hill Arts Centre, Bracknell among others, settling into two main areas-writing and acting.
Writing has taken me from newspaper and magazine articles, theatre reviews, children’s stories (one televised) to 25 published Pantomimes and plays with over 200 productions including in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bermuda, Ireland as well as Great Britain. Last year saw my show business novel entitled ‘The Cosmopolitans ‘ published.