I would not have expected, in the ordinary course of my work, to have dinner with Susan Hampshire. She was a star in a firmament that I could only expect to enter as an unremarkable satellite. But, we both happened to be friendly with an independent producer of plays, Richard Jackson. I’d worked very productively with him as a director on a number of shows and he alerted me to a stage play in which Susan was starring (produced by her husband) playing Marie Stopes. The play was called Married Love, and Stopes was/is a heroine of Susan’s. The play was destined for a West End opening and Susan was not comfortable with the state of the production as it played some out-of-town dates. The text reflects Stopes’ work in the family planning and women’s rights field and Susan and I discovered a strong congruency of views on this topic.
I have worked a great deal with writers on new work, but the delicacy of the show-biz politics surrounding this project convinced me that I would do more harm than good if I intervened. For the full account there is no avoiding, on this occasion, looking it up in Are You Going to do That Little Jump? – The Adventure Continues. Wonderful chat, though, with a smashing person.