My name’s Fay Helm.

I’ve learned I’m not so much… bothered at going on stage whereas a lot of the time, you know “god, I feel sick. Ohh you know I don’t want to go on.” I know at the Hampstead Theatre they ha- they had to pull me on to the stage but it you know you get used to it. You’re always nervous. If, if you’re not nervous there’s something wrong with you I think (laughs) because it just happens but sometimes you know because of these – I’ve got arthritis in both thumbs so now and again I get a bit shuddery but now once I’m on stage I’m okay. I’m really, you know, I’m in this little world. I won’t look at the audience because if I catch somebody that I know in there, my daughters or that, that’s it, yeah.

No they’re they’re, getting back to them, they’re no they’re lovely to work with. They’re really nice. Yeah.

The beginning of Spare Tyre I can remember that. After the show we’d all come out in chairs and the audience would throw questions at us which was really really nice. You know and they’d ask this and they’d ask that. Think we done it, did we do it, I think we done it with the erm SAFE last time we done it. I rather liked that!

It’s been a lot of different things over the years. I think... roughly about twenty years. It’s been different things. We done a play called SAFE, we we’ve done a sort of Greek things [Trojan Women]. There’s been so much, we’ve ben into hospitals, we’ve been into erm other places where you talk to the firemen, nurses, hosp- the royal free [hospital] we done, the Whittington [hospital] and you know we’ve done all different things, yeah. But I like the actual acting and I d- in one of the plays I’d done a bit of old time musical in it. I managed to squeeze it in you know.

We we done the erm play called SAFE bout eight years ago. Eight years on… done it again, they done the same play and they, I had the same part in it again which was great cos that was one of my favourites. I absolutely loved it. It was really nice. SAFE, SAFE was really funny actually. It was all about the council telling people, you know “ you can’t do this, you can’t do that” and there was a load of elderly people that wanted to dance. The council said “no, you can dance as long as you sit on your chairs and do it.” So they had to kick their legs and sort of do that and I was one of the councillors. And in the end it just got worse and worse. I ended up tying them up and uh gagging them and injecti- injecting them and then I looked all around and I injected myself. That was the end of the play. It’s really funny.

I didn’t think I was that good actually. You know I didn’t think I was that good but other people kept telling me. My friend used to say “oh I think you’re brilliant” but I thought to myself “she’s more brilliant than me.” You know how people can drive, or do, when they’re eighty or somet- eighty eight or something. I think the acting I would go on forever. I think you can actually depending, you know. So I say I’ve got a big mouth so I can probably ohh… bring it over. But yeah… I don’t know I’d… when I’d ever finish drama unless it finished me. 

Fay was part of our sub-group of artists aged 60+ named the ‘HotPots’ and has been performing in Spare Tyre shows for over 20 years, Including Trojan Women, SAFE and Feeble Minds


Fay talks to us about her favourite bits from the shows she’s been part of.