She has had a glittering career in amateur dramatics and helped countless children to follow their dreams and perform on stage, but the founder of the Children’s Theatre in Bo’ness has retired.
Nan Mcdonald (77) brought the curtain down on a long and illustrious career, spanning over six decades at the last performance of Sleeping Beauty earlier this year.
She was bitten by the acting bug when she was 16 and never looked back. Nan performed in Falkirk Bohemians for 22 years, the Bathgate Opera Society for 11 years before being heavily involved in Linlithgow Amateur Musical Production (LAMP) in the 90s and set up the Bo’ness Children’s Theatre in 2000.
She was a producer in the latter stages of her career, mentoring young and talented actors and actresses.
Nan said: “I have loved every minute of it. As a young girl I fell in love with dancing and singing, and played a number of leading lady roles for 30 years such as Hello Dolly and Merry Widow.”
In her first show in White Horse Inn she met her husband Bill (78) who was a dancer. They have been together for 56 years.
However, it was her role in musical South Pacific with the Bathgate Operatic Society that will live with her forever when she was victim of a prank.
She said: “I was in a swimsuit and the song ‘wash that man right out of my hair’ was playing. There was a set-up shower on stage and a watering can used for the shower head. What I didn’t know was that someone had put red dye in the water.
“I got a fright because I thought it was blood . I was soaked and covered in red dye. I had to continue as though nothing was wrong.
“A lot of tricks would be played when you were young in the theatre. We just did it for fun but it was a great part to play.”
Nan, who lives in Brightons, Falkirk, was a secretary for most of her working career.
She added: “Maybe I thought I should have been an actress in real life. I loved being on stage. I was encouraged to go to voice coach training but was never really encouraged to think about going down the line of being an actress. It wasn’t really the done thing in those days but I have no regrets.”
She has two sons David and Alan and three grandchildren – Ross, a sound technician at Falkirk Town Hall, Jamie, a maths teacher at Larbert High and Eilidh who is a nursery nurse.
She was in children’s production for 25 years and helped nurture hundreds of young actors and actresses
Nan, who celebrated 60 years being involved the amateur dramatics last year, said: “At least I have done my job. A lot of parents have come to me in the past and said you have given them confidence and belief for life.
“To me acting is an additional part of the curriculum. You learn how to get on with people and express yourself and it does wonders for yourself self-esteem as not everyone can get on stage .
“I am proud of how all the children I taught have turned out. It has been an absolute pleasure.”