McKenna mourns loss of ‘little gem’

Vrginia McKenna
Vrginia McKenna
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BAFTA award-winning actress Virginia McKenna (pictured right) has spoken of her sadness at hearing the Byre Theatre in St Andrews has closed.

Best known for her role in the 1966 film Born Free, the veteran actress has performed twice at the Byre in the past few years.

In 2011 she took to the stage for an open evening to discuss her distinguished acting career as well as her pioneering animal welfare work.

And just last year she returned to St Andrews as part of an evening of poetry and song to raise money for the charity Combat Stress.

“I have been at the Byre twice in the past few years and I have to say performing there was absolutely delightful,” she said.

“There was such a lovely atmosphere and it’s very important that a town like St Andrews has artistic venues. Places like the Byre provide us all with music, acting and so much more – they need to be cherished.

“As an actress having played at the Byre Theatre I have nothing but praise for the staff, the atmosphere, the audience – it was an absolute delight to play in that theatre.

“I feel for the staff and the actors who also find it hard to get work nowadays.

“The Byre Theatre is a little gem, providing work and so much more for the local community.”

Ms McKenna started her acting career in Dundee while living with relatives in St Andrews. And she spoke of the importance of theatres like the Byre to the community.

“When I started out the country was littered with reps and theatres where people could go and learn their craft, but there are hardly any left and we have to save the ones that are still here.

‘‘These small theatres are jewels – here has to be a way to save them - surely everything can’t be just about money?”