Monday, 20 July 2015

Young fools, drama queens and great friends


Those who have read this blog for a while might remember a post from last year about meeting up in London with my old university friends.

We made plans to reconvene in Sheffield this year, since it is the 30th anniversary of our graduation.


The eagle-eyed among you will notice a change; Alex couldn't come this time, but Jane travelled over from France to join us. 


It all started here, the University of Sheffield's Theatre Workshop.


Andrew, Jane, me, Martin and Clare.


None of us have been back in this space for 30 years. It contains a lot of memories.


Martin, Jane, Clare, Alex, Annabel (where are you?) and Martin in the workshop in 1984.

And top row, middle, there's Sue, our lovely friend who is no longer with us. We missed her.

(That's me, bottom right.)


Oh the masks we wore; hopefully, we realise we no longer need them. 


It was a strange and fascinating experience, wandering around this place where we spent so much time all those years ago. Parts of it, I barely remembered (although it has changed, of course) while other areas brought back strong memories which packed a visceral punch.


There were no mannequins back in our day, and no prop store either, but of course there was a lighting tower...


look, there are Alex and Martin up on top of it.


I must give credit to a lovely man called Rob, who is the theatre and productions manager at the university. I emailed him to ask if there was any way we could have a nosy round, and he was kind enough to agree to this strange request, not only meeting us on a Saturday but spending lots of time showing us round, and taking us into the Drama Studio as well.

We really did appreciate it. 


This former Baptist church was converted into a Drama Studio in 1970; evidence of its ecclesiastical past is evident inside as well as out. 



Five characters in search of their history...


which appears to have made them thoughtful and amused in equal measure.


We had a wander around the university campus;


we had our lectures in the Arts Tower, which was sadly closed so we were unable to revisit the famous paternoster lift, but the Octagon Centre was open as it was being set up for graduation ceremonies. 


That's where this photo was taken in 1985.


We strolled through the Botanical Gardens, much improved since the 1980s...


as are we. We toasted absent friends...


and ended up at Thyme Cafe for a delicious meal.


1985; the miners' strike ended and Eastenders began, the wreck of the Titanic was located, the disaster at Heysel stadium led to English football clubs being banned from Europe, 17 year old Boris Becker won Wimbledon, riots occurred in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, and Live Aid was a phenomenon.

We got into the groove, walked on sunshine, danced in the street, didn't need another hero, ran up that hill, built this city on rock and roll, had a view to a kill, and knew a good heart was hard to find.

We left the safety of university, its protective routine and the friends we had made there, and went our separate ways.

It's good to know that we can come back together and find genuine warmth, great humour, and valued friendship all over again after 30 years.



Rerum Cognoscere Causas; to know the causes of things.

There is always more to discover about life and each other; where to next year, gang?

xxxx


42 comments:

Kezzie said...

That is amazing!!!!! How cool to meet up 'at the scene of the crime!' x

Kylie said...

Very nice Curtise x

(quick sticky at blogs before I head back to the coal mine - I mean classroom, after two lovely weeks off)

Natalia Lialina said...

Beautiful post, Curtise! Glad that you met again! xxxx

SAM said...

I love reunions, but I'm more connected to high school ones since I went to three different colleges to earn my degree because of financial and work needs. I had a unique educational path with both commuting and on campus traditional college, and adult learning while working full time. The stories are great to retell, and the bittersweet ones with those no longer with us, remind us how precious friends are, even over the decades. Thanks for sharing your tale.

Goody said...

How lovely that you've made it a regular reunion now. It must have been very, very strange wandering about the old theatre. I moved quite far from where I went to school and haven't seen it, or anyone I attended with in decades.

I must say, you had better hair in the 80's than anyone else did (myself included). The lure of styling gel is dangerous-you did well to resist.

thorne garnet said...

love the stage on the stage. Lovely post

beate grigutsch said...

wonderful trip down memory lane! thank for taking us with you!
impressive campus - the contrast of glass sky scraper and the sandstone walls of the studio - best use for a baptist church i think. sound like a gorgeous day! love the sentence with the song titles - sometimes i wonder that they made it behind the iron curtain...
and see this skirt and dresses galore - fab! and the boys are still stylish too :-)
xxxxxxx

Sheila said...

What a fabulous adventure, to meet up with your friends and mates and wander through your old stomping grounds. I have been up to my university many times since I started there in '85 - there are so many layers of memories, aren't there?

Delia West said...

aahhh I actually have a huge lump in my throat what a gorgeous post and so lovely that you were able to go back to where your friendships started. True friendships certainly do last a life time. dee xx

Melanie said...

How nice to be able to have these reunions, such a shame about your friend but I'm sure she was there in spirit xxx

Melanie said...

You really caught that sense of going back in this post. What is it about friends we had long ago that sticks so strongly despite having gone our separate ways? When I see these photos I want to go back to school, but I would be the "old woman" in the class. So strange. Thanks for sharing this tour of faces and places. I'm glad you could meet up again.

Ivy Black said...

Lovely post darling. I felt a bit wistful, nay teary eyed, as you went back there especially as 1985 seems like last year! How wonderful to be able to go back and have a look at your old stomping ground together.
Your theatre studio is very like the one we had at Welsh College, but I don't want to go back and have a look; going back wuith you was much better.
Loves ya.
xxxxx

Olga Rani said...

I remember your last year's post! And how wonderful that you managed to meet up this year again and to visit your alma mater all together!

Mim said...

What a lovely post! I know people always say 'you can never go back', but as long as you're not trying to relive things, it seems you can pop back for a visit.

I still dream about my university, two decades after graduating. It's such a formative time in life, isn't it?

Vix said...

What a fabulous post, love! I'm so pleased that you were able to meet up again this year. How wonderful that there's still so much love and affection between you all after three decades.
1985 feels like only yesterday. I felt a shiver run down my spine when you mentioned the Heysel Stadium, I remember watching the TV footage on my black and white portable in my bedsit so very clearly.
Love you! xxx

Sue said...

What an awesome use of an old church!! I am a big fan of church conversions. How cool meeting up with your old university mates again, that is something we tend to forget to do as we get older and busier with our lives. Looks like a grand time was had.

Lynn Holland said...

Oh I really enjoyed that day out, via your post. You will have that to remember forever, fantastic.
Now while I'm here Curtise can you please bear me in mind when you are getting rid of that bag I want it. I'll butter you up by saying you look fab in that dress. You do really though, Im not just saying it to get the bag haha
Lynn xx

Jazzy Jack said...

I enjoyed this look back. You are all a good looking bunch. But maybe they only accepted the pretty ones!
I've never been to a reunion. I wonder if I should? Xo Jazzy Jack

Laurie Duncan said...

That sounds like so much fun! Hard to believe that the 80s are that long ago:)

Patti said...

Just lovely. It's so emotional to revisit places where we were being "formed" - and to see old friends is the very best part. xox

Kestrel said...

What a lovely post. It's can be so emotional to revisit the places that were once your world, but now seem like a life away

Forest City Fashionista said...

I graduated from university in 1984, but didn't attend my convocation ceremony. I think it's wonderful that you have stayed in touch with your friends from university and make a point to get together (I can't believe a year has passed since your last post about meeting up). I kind of envy those folks who established friendships in university that have endured all these years.

I've been working at the university where I completed my degree for the last 18 years, so I feel like I never really left.

diaryofapennypincher said...

How lovely that you got a guided tour around your old stomping ground. Love the old and new photos too, and the thought of a paternoster lift gives me nightmares!!

Lisa said...

How fab to still be in touch with friends from way back when. I meet up with old school friends a couple of times a year and it's amazing how we all slot back into each others company.
Great to arrange the visit at your old uni, must have added to the whole atomosphere of your get together.
Lisa x

Winter Moon said...

Wow, I can't believe it's been a year already! What a brilliant time you've all had. SO many gorgeous photographs. I suddenly feel quite nostalgic after this post. I love it! xx

Miss Magpie said...

What a lovely post and how fab you were able to go back and visit!

I was in my second year at college in 1985 sadly I'm not in touch with anyone from my art group any more. Having said that I am out on Friday for drinks with 2 of the girls I used to share a car with back for the first reunion since.

Angels have Red Hair said...

That's fantastic ... what a great opportunity to reminisce.
xx

Beth Waltz said...

"Five characters in search of their history..." When will you write this play, Curtise? Admit it: you've now considered the zero cost of a single set consisting of backstage detritus and fixed lighting, using street clothes in blues and grays as costumes, and whether the plot would include the appearance of the absent friend, a young actress wearing bright clothes of the 80s.

The Vintage Knitter said...

That's a great idea to have a meet-up and catch up on old times and reminisce.

In 1985 I finished secondary school and started at college studying 'A' Levels and am still in touch with friends from both xx

BadPenny said...

What a wonderful reunion.

Fiona said...

Superb post Curtise. How fabulous that you were permitted to look around your old stomping ground with your old university mates. I imagine you knew the causes of quite a few things after your time there! I love that picture of the five of you at the top. Lovely too to catch up with them again and discuss old times and new. Where in Vendée does your friend live?
x

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Ah, a lovely day spent with old friends. How wonderful to be allowed back to your old stomping ground.
Your hair in 1985 made me smile. I dread to think what mine was like...xxxx

freckleface said...

What a lovely reunion, can't believe it's been a year since your last get together. What an amazing idea to relive your memories on your old stomping ground. Rob sounds like a wonderful fellow! I love seeing the old pics of you and your friends. 1985 eh? I loved the 1980s. Started uni that year, had a steady boyfriend, life was ahead of us all. Can't believe it's 30 years ago! Here's to many more years of friendship. Xxxxx

Mother of Reinvention said...

That is so nice that you all make time to meet up. It is nice to relive a bit of your past sometimes. Can really put the present into perspective. How lovely to see all your friends and I really can't believe that it has been a year since the last time. You don't look any different from then you know. Your Uni looks great. What a lovely building to study in. Xx

MIS PAPELICOS -Mis P said...

How fantastic. I knew you were an artist, but not an actress, woooooooooooooooooo
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx

señora Allnut said...

amazing and evocative post, particularly love the "strong memories which packed a visceral punch" as this is what I've felt when I came back to fav places with old friends!
besos & nostalgies

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

Fun then and fun now, and if I'm aloud to be superficial - better looking now!

Mrs Bertimus said...

That is so brilliant, it really warmed the cockles x

Charis said...

Looks like you had a fab time! And THANK YOU for reminding me just how bad 1980's hair was... I still have fond memories of my mum's perm! ;)

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

Such a wonderful post!! I love the juxtaposition of the old and new photos. I should've known you were a thespian!! :-) I went to acting school back in the 70's but sadly don't have any pictures from then, or if they exist i don't know where they are. I was just thinking today about performing. I frequently have dreams about going on stage but I haven't seen a script, or haven't rehearsed recently enough. Do you have those too? So glad you were able to connect. It made me so happy to read this post!!!!!

Kelly J said...

I haven't caught up in so long so am binge-reading before I fall into bed. What a beautiful post, Curtise, thanks for the look back and for sharing your amazing reunion. How lucky you are to have had such great experiences, and to have made such bosom buds, at uni. I had no such experience (and I have two degrees!) as sadly none of us stayed in touch. Still, I can say, without a doubt, 1985 was a good year! Xo

Pennyblossoms said...

So much I could write, but the top thing that strikes me is how happy you look. Not that you look unhappy in any of your pictures, but in these your smile really shines!
Zxx