The Independent London Newspaper
23rd April 2019

Kathleen, 96, discovers she’s a Wiz at dramatics

    96-year-old Kathleen Falciola as Toto at Dick Collins Hall

    It seemed like fun so I joined in, says great-gran

    THEY say life begins at... 90? Or so it seems for 96-year-old Kathleen Falciola, who bounded around the stage as Dorothy’s faithful dog Toto in The Wizard of Oz on Friday.
    The great-grandmother, who began acting six years ago, joined fellow pensioners from Third Age Drama in their annual Christmas panto at Dick Collins Hall in Redhill Street, Regent’s Park.
    The role was just the latest in a string of appearances for Mrs Falciola. Despite starting her career at the age of 90, she has played Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, one of Snow White’s dwarves and the prince in Aladdin.
    And the former cake decorator from Munster Square on the Regent’s Park estate has no intention of retiring just yet.
    “If I’m still alive next year I’ll be on this stage,” she said. “I started acting six years ago and I just love it.
    “I got involved because I saw people having so much fun acting and I wanted to join in.”
    The pensioners who make up Third Age Drama – the youngest is 66 – meet every Thursday to hone their acting skills. But Bridget Walsh, who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, said the Christmas panto is the highlight of their calender.
    “It’s always such a fun day,” she said. “It’s great for residents who aren’t very mobile and don’t always get to go out.
    “The kids love it too as we have a Santa Claus who gives them presents.”
    The cast were joined by children from nearby Christ Church of England Primary School who sang carols for an audience of parents, residents and community groups.
    JOSIE HINTON

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