From Air Cdre Barbara Cooper CBE RAF, President RAFTA and currently Comdt Air Cadets, based at RAF Cranwell.
I love live theatre in all its guises – I adore the way it transports you to another world – prevents you from thinking about the here and now, and plays with your emotions, leaving you drained or elated at the end. There’s nothing like it. Now, I’m not a squirrel by nature, but I happened to come across a 1979 edition of the ‘Finningley Observer’ the other day and I read a review of a play in which I had played a small part (“Blodwen – the maid”, if you must know). The reviewer said of my performance “played with much gusto and humour”. Having recently attended the RAFTA festival of one act plays held at RAF Lyneham this year, I realise that my performance definitely fell into the ‘damned by faint praise’ category! That marked the start and end of a very short theatrical career for me in the RAF – until now that is! Imagine my surprise and pleasure when, some 30 years later, I was approached by your Chairman to take on the role of President. I’m thrilled and honoured of course, but I can’t help but feel that there might be someone out there who has contributed much more to RAFTA over the years and who therefore might make a more worthy choice. But until that time, I am very proud to be your President and will do everything I can to support you. Theatre has relevance in so many aspects of life – after all, wasn’t it Shakespeare who said “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”.
Play on – I look forward to meeting you in the forthcoming years.