Joan Blake

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(19**-19**) Actress and cabaret artiste. Born in South Africa and was trained in drama and ballet. She tried her luck in Britian. Her first dancing lead in London was in Gory of Norway, the life story of Grieg devised by Robert Helpmann and had a two year run at the Palace Theatre. From there she joined the cast of Cage me Peacock by Noel Langley and there she met Adam Leslie who was writing the lyrics for the music in the play. She spent an extensive period doing cabaret in the West End, principally at the Bagatelle. Breaking away from dancing she was seen with Andre van Gyseghem's company at the Nottingham Playhouse by Sir Barry Jackson and his producer Douglas Seale. From there she went to the Birmingham Reps and worked for eight years, during which she assisted Douglas Seale in his productions at the Old Vic. She played in Angels in Love at the Alexander Theatre as well.* Apparently originally discovered by Adam Leslie. **Played in Adam Leslie's Two's Company. Over the years had roles in The Reluctant Debutante (the Brian Brooke Company in 1956), Adam and Joan at Cicero’s nightclub in Johannesburg (a cabaret with Adam Leslie, 1957), Grab Me a Gondola (Brooke Theatre 1958), Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (NTO, 1958), Let Your Hair Down, (Intimate Theatre, 1958 – 1959), A Long Day's Journey into Night at the Intimate Theatre (Cockpit Players, 1959), For Love or Money by Adam Leslie (the inaugural production of The Playhouse in October 1960), The Amorous Prawn at the Alexander Theatre in 1961 and played the role of Lady Fitzadam, Hamlet (PACT at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, 1964), Shaw’s Heartbreak House (PACT at the Alexander Theatre, 1967). She starred in Music Hall Revue, which was the opening show at The Adam Leslie Theatre August 1967. It also starred Adam Leslie and was directed and designed by Anthony Farmer. She starred in Adam Leslie’s revue Strike it Rich later that same year at the Adam Leslie Theatre. It also starred Leslie, George Korelin and Judy Layne. Marjorie Gordon replaced Joan during the run. She died in 1992.


The Alexander Theatre's programme of The Amorous Prawn of September, 1961.

Tucker, 1997

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