Unexpected link to real life for A La Perchoine actor

ACTOR Claire Cunningham felt she had a personal connection to the A La Perchoine musical, which premiered this week, when she auditioned in 2019, as she had also taken part in an earlier stage production as a child in the 1990s.

Claire Cunningham was unaware of her connection to teacher Ida Naftel when she was chosen to play her in the musical. (30954192)
Claire Cunningham was unaware of her connection to teacher Ida Naftel when she was chosen to play her in the musical. (30954192)

However, after being asked to play the role of Amherst head teacher Ida Naftel, she was soon to discover a further, uncanny connection.

She discussed the role with family members and was soon made aware that her own grandmother had been a pupil of the very same teacher.

In case she was in any doubt, she soon had proof when the play was shelved in favour of a film version and shooting began, for which the school’s original log book was a prop.

‘There was such a massive link,’ she said. ‘My granny, Maisie Frampton, was evacuated to Glasgow by my character Ida Naftel, who was the head teacher.

‘So, when I was on set and opened Ida Naftel’s log book and I was pretending to write in it, there was an entry on my granny saying how she was getting on.’

Copies of the entries in the log book were made and sent as letters to parents of the children and so the family were able to see that the entry matched their letter, which they had kept.

Having been cast for a stage show only to appear in a feature film, she said the experience was very different but rewarding nonetheless.

‘We auditioned for a stage show and a lot of us have more experience with that but the film has been phenomenal in other ways,’ she said.

‘It required a lot of patience, with filming for long amounts of time just for a little clip but then seeing the results is fabulous.

‘Covid could easily have knocked the project out but so many local people came together to make it into a film instead and so we’re still telling the story and keeping it in people’s memory.’

. The film is showing tonight and tomorrow night at Beau Sejour at 7pm. Tickets are £7 or £5 and can be bought via guernseytickets.gg

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