Jenny back on the boards after 18 years

A former Bepton actress becomes an actress once again, treading the boards this week for the first time in 18 years.

With her youngest child now at university, Jane - known generally as Jenny - Hayward is appearing in Brian Daniels’ three-hander A Big Day For The Goldbergs at Hampstead’s New End Theatre (until Sunday, July 31).

“For 18 years I have been working in various hostelries in the area,” Jenny said. “When my marriage stopped working, I had three young children to bring up and I couldn’t continue with my chosen career. It just wasn’t practicable.

“But now I have got my first job on stage - a play about a single parent Jewish family, a mother and two grown-up daughters. I am playing the mother.

“One of the daughters is shortly to get married and one of the daughters leaves home rather suddenly. It’s a play about relationships and about the Jewish faith.”

Amy Shindler and Suzanne Goldberg share the stage with her: “And then Jane Hayward which doesn’t have the same Jewish ring to it, because I am not!”

But it’s still a piece with strong parallels for Jenny, also the mother to two daughters, one of whom is also just about to get married.

Making it all the more is exciting is the fact that Jenny will actually be creating her role: “No one has played her before.

“I have written to lots of theatres this year, and one of them was the New End in Hampstead, saying I really wanted to work there. The week they opened my letter was the week they were looking for someone to play the mother. I went up for an audition. They told me that they were very impressed, but then the agent of a certain ‘name’ approached them.”

The ‘name’ - and they wouldn’t tell Jenny who it was - would have been good news for the theatre which then had to wait to find out the name’s intentions.

“I was on tenterhooks, but then the day before the Royal Wedding, they told me that the part was mine.”

In her career first time round, Jenny did a wealth of theatre work in venues including Farnham, Colchester, Ipswich, Harrogate, York, Cheltenham and the Theatre Royal Brighton. On TV she was in the last series of Tenko and also appeared in Brookside.

Now it is all starting again.

So is she nervous?

“When I went for the audition, I just felt ‘This feels nice, this feels comfortable.’”