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Spa sparkles with new drama

PUBLISHED: 21:16 20 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:35 03 March 2010

ACTRESS Joanne Dunford steps on stage to make her debut at Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion next week after battling back from a life-sapping disease.

Joanne, 31, has just been through a black period in her life after being diagnosed as having Hodgkinson's Disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

ACTRESS Joanne Dunford steps on stage to make her debut at Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion next week after battling back from a life-sapping disease.

Joanne, 31, has just been through a black period in her life after being diagnosed as having Hodgkinson's Disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

Thankfully, she is now clear of the illness – and is looking forward to getting back into theatre work, which she adores.

She will be playing the part of Fliss in Felixstowe Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society's production of Sue Townsend's play Bazaar and Rummage.

All the best comedy is tinged with a sadness which brings home the real truths of life – and Sue, best known for her creation Adrian Mole, provides plenty to laugh out loud at, but also moments to make the tears well up.

The play – which is being presented at the 913-seater Spa from March 28 to 30 at 7.30pm – tells the story of a self-help group of agoraphobics attempting to get out and about.

Gwenda is an ex-agrophobic who decided to "devote herself to the poor and ignorant" and leads a self help group of three agrophobics – Margaret, Bell-Bell and Katrina.

For a variety of reasons they are confined to their homes.

Margaret was raped at fourteen and hasn't left the house for 15 years, Bell-Bell is a hygiene obsessed housewife who fights germs in the house all day, Katrina was a cabaret singer who was pelted with plastic pineapples during a big finale and hasn't left the house for years.

Encouraged by Fliss, a trainee social worker, they attempt to organise a rummage sale.

Joanne, who originally hails from Kent, fell in love with the stage at school and became involved in drama in Rochester when she took part in the town's Dickens Festival.

She moved to Suffolk six years ago and shortly afterwards the Hodgkinson's Disease struck.

Once her recovery was complete, she decided she would like to do drama again. She was working at Chuckles, the Felixstowe-based hire company, whose owner Eileen Hicks suggested she joined FADOS.

Joanne soon became involved and struck up a great friendship with FADOS member Margaret Hutchings, who is also in Bazaar and Rummage.

"I'm enjoying it very much," said Joanne.

"I was afraid it might be cliquish, but I've been welcomed with open arms.

"I was petrified that I might not be able to learn my lines, but I managed it in no time."

n Tickets are £7, available from the Spa Pavilion box office on 01394 282126.


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