I devoted much of the time in a three week visit to continue sourcing photographs at the V&A Theatre Museum at Olympia. From there I was able to pop over the road to see Mavis Osborne (husband of the late designer Terry Emery) and partake of wonderful snacks rustled up by their daughter Zoe. Had nerve wracking news at the V&A Theatre Museum – they had the originals of masses of the photos that I needed for the book, but they were readying for the move to Stratford at the end of 2020 everything was soon be packed away for the move which was to take two years!
Jeanetta Laurence, a dear friend and fellow soloist from our dancing days with SWRB, came to Olympia one afternoon, ostensibly for a quick lunch, We had a marvellous long gossip, so not much work done that day.
Another close friend, the late John Bowler (retired flautist from Covent Garden orchestra) kindly put me up at his house in London, and came with me to Suffolk. He shared my love of that county. I hired a car and the countryside’s bleak February beauty seemed more magnificent than ever.
Some final checks at Britten’s Red House archive then back to London for sessions at what must be the world’s finest library, the British Library. Helpful librarians, microfilmed newspaper articles retrievable at the touch of a button and much more – including literally millions of potential distractions for a researcher with a plane to catch.
Just as well that I did catch that plane in early March 2020 – only days later both Australia and UK went into Covid lockdown. The enforced confinement gave me plenty of opportunity to get on with the editing of the book. The challenge was to get it down to about 160,000 words.
I must say, Cranko’s life and career still fascinates me and I hope it will you, too.