Tributes paid to actress at Kenilworth theatre

Ann Brooks
Ann Brooks

A long-time amateur actress and director at the Talisman Theatre in Kenilworth has died at the age of 85.

Ann Brooks, a retired English teacher, died in hospital following a difficult recovery from a broken leg. She leaves behind two sons, Michael and Steve.

‘Dame Annie’, as she was affectionately known by her friends, first performed at the Talisman in the Arthur Wing Pinero play, Trelawny of the Wells, in 1967.

A lover of Anton Chekhov’s plays, she was involved in 62 productions either as an actress or a director during her long career.

Fellow amateur actor Rex Satchwell performed alongside her in Trelawny of the Wells and was good friends with her for many years.

He said: “She was a very generous person and would help out wherever she could.

“She had a great sense of humour - I saw her a lot when she was ill and we could always cheer each other up because we could see the funny side of things.

“She was very caring about all sorts of things, not just her friends and family.

“She loved the theatre and was very keen to support it.

“I think she will be in people’s minds for a long time.”

Mrs Brooks suffered a broken thigh around two-and-a-half years ago after trying to leap over a ditch on a family day out.

Ultimately, she had three operations on it due to the wound refusing to heal, which stopped her from being able to live independently and forced her to move into St Andrew’s House care home in Earlsdon.

Despite this emotional upheaval, Mrs Brooks’s enthusiastic personality was undiminished.

However, an infection to her leg meant she was called back into hospital, and within a few days she sadly passed away.

Ann Richards, another actress at the theatre, first met Mrs Brooks in the 1960s.

She said: “Ann was a strong-spirited lady with lots of energy and vitality - it’s unbelievable to think she would have been 86 in December.

“Just over a week before she went into hospital she was on good form at a party at the Talisman.

“She loved acting and was a very good director - you knew exactly what you were doing when Ann was directing.

“She has put on some wonderful productions over the years and it will be the end of an era without her.”

Mrs Brooks was very popular among local people, and many paid tribute to the actress on social media.

Another actor who worked with Mrs Brooks, Edward Pinner, lauded her performance when he first performed with her.

He commented on Facebook: “Very sad news.

“Annie was a great ‘gypsy’ in ‘Listen to the Wind’ back in 1977 - that’s when I first started to get to know her and it was always lovely to see her around the theatre.

“She will be greatly missed.”

Phil Reynolds commented on Facebook: “Another of the Talisman’s characters gone. RIP Annie.”

The Talisman’s Twitter page described her death as a “sad loss to us all”.

Her funeral will take place at 12.45pm on August 24 at Earlsdon Methodist Church.