Rena Pope actress, playwright, academic
Rena Pope trained for the theatre obtaining an L.R.A.M. and A.L.A.M. in drama before teaching English and working as a Drama Examiner and Festival Adjudicator.
She began and ran for four years, a Childreris theatre attached to the Oast Theatre Tonbridge. Originally the 'Young Hoppers' as they were then called, worked in cramped conditions in the small 'Mitre' theatre, the club used behind a local pub. Conditions were even more cramped when her 8 and a half stone Pyrenean Mountain Dog joined the cast to play Nana in a production of Peter Pan, liked the audience and refused to leave the stage. The same dog was later used by a colleague in a son et lumiere at Tonbridge castle, and again hadn't read the script. As Moonshine's dog in an adult production of A Midsummer Night's Dream she added enormously to the Rude Mechanicals scene by cavorting with them in their dance.
After 25 years as a Drama Adjudicator with the Guild of Drama Adjudicators (GODA) she left to write plays for women, and a musical for children based on the early life of a wayward youth, Francis of Assisi, all are published by New Theatre Publications Cheshire.
It was whilst working for an M.A. in literature, and needing a subject for dissertation, she literally stumbled upon the works of Mrs Juliana Horatia Ewing in a second hand bookshop, and found her a fascinating study. The dissertation was called 'A writer in Stained Glass' and referred to the four stained glass windows to her memory in this country. The Literary Theory used to underpin the dissertation was feminist, but with a writer like Mrs Ewing, it all depends on the definition of 'feminist'. Mrs Ewing, Juliana, Julie, or Judy as she was known certainly wrote from a strong Christian viewpoint, did not suffer fools gladly, and upheld the female input in family life. She also wrote descriptions of cruelty which possibly today's publishers would not print.
After teaching in a variety of schools and Adult Education Centres, Rena has spent the last 14 years as a tutor with the Open University.
A lover of dogs, as was Mrs Ewing, Rena hopes soon to write a two act farce, ideas for which are scribbled on envelopes and vets's bills around the house.