ANNA SCHER - 1944 - 2023
RIP ANNA SCHER MBE 1944 - 2023 - THE LEGEND ACTING MENTOR- Just learned of the sad news of the passing of one of my acting mentors, Anna Scher. Her husband Charles Verrall passed away a few weeks earlier. She was an incredible force and responsible so many acting careers #RIPAnnaScher, she joins her husband, Acting Coach Charles Verrall, who sadly, passed away a few weeks ago. The industry has lost one of its brightest founding lights. May she rest in peace and be well remembered of all she did for young, aspiring actors who could not afford the fees of a major school.
(Anna, left, with actress Debbie Krieger, and Charles Verrall, Anna's husband)
Anna founded her Islington Actors School in 1968, with a unique philosophy of not only professionalism at all times, but love and understanding of your fellow students. The 70 pupils that attended in the first week included actresses Pauline Quirk, Linda Robson & Actor/Director/Producer Ray Burdis. She would be responsible for kickstarting the careers of several generations of actors who would go on to have remarkable careers, including Actor / Director Dexter Fletcher, and his brothers Steven & Graham. The list of her notable alumni could fill a book. By 1975 she was teaching 5 days a week, had over 1000 pupils and 5000 on a waiting list. Her reputation for forging careers with classes that potential students could actually afford created an entire generation of actors from a working class background. Visiting her classes gave me the acting bug again and I was a student of hers for two years. Anna was generous and kind, and tried to give as much time as possible to everyone she could. In the mid 2000s she was forced to take a break from teaching due to ill health, and sadly lost her school as a result, but restarted it again, greatly assisted by two of her former students, Dickon Tolson and Anna Kay. I also attended during Dickon’s first tenure, and he ran the class exactly as she had, and with just as much enthusiasm and energy. She inspired others to teach drama, including Graham Fletcher Cook, who ran Timber Theatre for over two decades. She gave people confidence and the ability to believe in themselves, she gave a home to aspiring actors who couldn’t afford the high fees of other schools. She probably helped nurture more British acting careers than any other one individual in the profession. Along with a slew of other awards, she was awarded an MBE for her contribution to the dramatic arts in 2013. Both she and Charles will be hugely missed by so many people.