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Vera Lilian Moon

a Tribute to our Past President




 vera



About Vera....

I first met Vera some 35 years ago, in Man for the Job (by Dennis Driscoll
), when we played two pinny - wearing Lancashire housewives and Mari appeared as a right glamour-puss and got to wear a negligee. 

Rushen Players were so tremendously blessed to have such a consummate actress and director as Vera. She was part of a rock-solid trio - Don Williamson, Stan Woollock & Vera Moon. Tho' each had completely different styles of directing, they always exacted the highest standards from their cast and crew. Real Old-School and it paid-off in spades, giving Rushen Players a reputation for top-class productions, as good as any professionals.

Vera had terrific comedic skills, her timing was impeccable; she was a wondrous and dexterous Madame Arcati (Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward) - making that part her own!  She was rib-achingly funny as the demanding and grumpy old mother in Sandcastles (by Bob Larby).

But, oh, what aching pathos did she extract from her kindly but careworn Mrs Culfeathers, in The Steamie (byTony Roper) - truly heart-breaking. There was not a dry eye in the house after her moving soliloquy, delivered in a gentle Hebridean accent. That scene was a master-class in fine acting. Then, moments later, she brought the house down with tears of laughter as sweet and gentle Mrs Culfeathers, professed a liking for ‘the whisky’. My goodness, no one knew how to work an audience better than our Vera!! She played Mrs Culfeathers both times in our two productions of The Steamie.

Talking of The Steamie it was Vera who brought that warm, funny play to the table. Another of Vera's amazing knacks - she could always pick out a cracking play, in most cases, as in The Steamie, a play that none of us had heard of before!

The Brides of March (by John Chapman) was another of Vera's choices, (again so good we did it twice over the years). She discovered Bus Stop (by William Inge), The Odd Couple (by Neil Simon), On Golden Pond (by Ernest Thompson), The Cemetery Club (by Ivan Menchel), and many more gems of theatre. Vera also liked a good, grisly murder/thriller and could play sinister and creepy if called upon to do so ( think Edith 
Evans or Flora Robson).

Many of Vera's 'finds' were gleaned from the Theatre Festival in the Hills at Pitlochry, where she and John would go annually, flying up in John's plane, for a week of excellent theatre.

In her professional life, Vera had first been a WRN (she joined the Fleet Air Arm at age 18, in 1943, where she lost the sight of one eye whilst working in the engineering shed (apologies, I don't know the technical term) She always had an interest in things mechanical, particularly aeroplanes.

After various teaching posts (two as a deputy head) and a stint as a PA, Vera ran Moon's garage, on the pumps and in the shop. Then she had her own Airline! John flying the planes and Vera meeting and greeting and doing the admin. Knowing Vera, I think she would also have had a go at being a ‘trolley dolly’ had the 6-seater plane been a little bigger.

All this - and at the same time being so thoroughly involved in the theatre, the big love of her life. Vera was particularly keen on working with young people, and did some beautiful productions over the years, bringing on ‘her kids’. All the young people thought the world of her and she certainly nurtured their skills. One ground-breaking production in particular that springs to mind, was Gosforth's Fete (by Alan Ayckbourn).A very funny play, involving the setting up of a village fete. All her young actors, all about fifteen at the time, played adult roles (apart from one Boy Scout). Vera had the Castletown Silver Band march into the auditorium and on to the stage of the Erin Arts Centre. Playing at full blast, their appearance brought the play to a thunderous and colourful climax. It was quite breath-taking; a real ‘coup de theatre’.

Another thing, Vera loved our Erin Arts Centre with a passion.

I haven't mentioned the iconic red hat! That was her emblem, her statement. Vera. All round Port Erin, such a familiar sight, Vera out and about, stopping to chat with the world and his wife. Such a winning smile she had and such interest in everything and everybody (encounters which often led to the recruiting of a new member for the Players). What a lady. We will always remember you, Vera and, as we think of you, we too will smile.

Adrienne Sanderson - January 2019

Vera Lilian Moon  (1925 - 2018)

Born in Walkden, Lancashire, 4th October 1925

Grew up in Baker and Confectioner’s shop. Father was owner / proprietor.

Her Mother died when aged 10.

Attended Farnworth Grammar School.

Joined WRNS as aircraft engineer repairing carrier fleet aircraft.

Lost sight in one eye following accident repairing American Grumman aircraft.

Joined Telephone Rentals, Manchester, as PA (with shorthand and typing) to the Director.

Married John Moon, telephone engineer.

Her, Son, John Dalton Moon, born 1953.

Trained as a teacher in 1961 and took up a post teaching in Charlestown Junior School, Manchester.

Obtained first her motorcycle, then her car driving licence, her first car being a primrose yellow Triumph Courier van, (van version of the Triumph Herald Estate). Driving with her was always interesting, as with only one eye, she had no 3D vision.

Keen member of Amateur Dramatic Society.

Deputy Headship at Bowker Vale Junior School, Manchester.

Moved to Port Erin, Isle of Man in 1974.

Initially taught at Castle Rushen High School.

Moved to Deputy Head, Victoria Road Junior School, Castletown.

Left teaching to work with her son at Moon’s Garage, Castletown, serving petrol and running shop.

Throughout her time on Island, a keen member of Rushen Players, Port Erin. A good actress and director, she constantly tried to be as polished and professional as possible.

Followed her son, John, to work at Woodgate Aviation, Ronaldsway Airport.

Started Freelance Players, a new dramatic group with young people.


verawrvs
Vera in the WRNS
hats
Vera Thanksgiving 9th January 2019
Vera's Production Credits with Rushen Players
veraalbert&lion

www.rushenplayers.org.uk 2019