Surprises in store at ‘The Best of Times’

1111042 SSHC virginia mckenna 'Virginia McKenna outside the Byre Theatre, St Andrews
1111042 SSHC virginia mckenna 'Virginia McKenna outside the Byre Theatre, St Andrews

Virginia McKenna OBE, the BAFTA-winning actress and animal rights activist, is delighted to be taking up an open invitation to return to St Andrews to perform at the Byre Theatre once again.

Next month she will be performing an evening of poetry and song to commemorate the sacrifices of servicemen and women.

All money raised by the event will go to the charity Combat Stress who support veterans with conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety disorders.

And speaking to the Citizen this week, the actress explained how the show came about: “The idea came from my local village where we used to do poetry evenings.

“Someone suggested doing them again and, for some reason, I had the idea of focussing on the world wars in my head.

“Then at the same time I heard a feature on the radio about Combat Stress and how Prince Charles had become their patron so everything seemed to come together at the same time.

“I got in touch with the charity and they were delighted with the support. We held the first show in my local village and got a great response, it was packed out.”

Virginia performed at the Byre Theatre last year and decided her new venture would be ideal for the venue.

“Jimmy Spankie always wanted to know if I would come back to St Andrews and this just seemed perfect,’’ she explained.


“There are four of us involved this time, it’s not just me, so we are really looking forward to it.

“Combat Stress is such a worthy cause. You hear such awful stories about what people go through when they come back from war and the NHS covers some of what they need but not everything.

“The charity run three residential centres, an outreach service and a 24 hour helpline all specific to veterans needs.


‘‘And it’s not just for the people who served, their children and families are all effected as well.

‘‘The person that comes back from war is very different from the person that left.”

Despite the seriousness of the subject, the show is not all downbeat.

There are funny moments too and a few surprises have also been lined up.

n “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times” is at the Byre Theatre on Saturday, September 1.

Tickets are available online at or by calling 01334 475000.