Theatre bug takes lasting byte out of Archway IT consultant

Computers and theatre might seem an unlikely mix – but its a combination that works for Anne Connell.

The IT consultant has been juggling her day job with a stage career for more than 15 years.

She earns her living by working for a software company from her home in Harberton Road, Archway, and can be found treading the boards with the Tower Theatre Company in her free time.

She says: “The contrast is great. It’s nice to relax the rational part of your personality and go with your most instinctive, creative side.”

This week she will once again put away the keyboard and mouse to star in a new production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, which opens on Tuesday.

The 63-year-old will play Florence, one of the pair, in a lesser-known female version of the play made famous by a 1968 Hollywood adaptation starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

“It’s enormous fun,” she says. “Most people don’t know Simon wrote a female version of the play.

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“It’s the same story of two incredibly incompatible people moving in together – and the fun that ensues.”

Anne has been a member of the Tower troupe since 1994, back when it was based in its historic home, the Canonbury Tower in Canonbury Place, Canonbury.

The company had to leave in 2003 and is still looking for a permanent residence in the borough.

“I used to be able to walk to the theatre and would love to be able to do that again,” Anne admits.

She once dreamed of becoming a professional actor – but relishes the roles she gets to play with Tower.

“I’ve played some super parts that I would never have had the chance to if I had become professional.

“Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa, for which I had to learn Irish dancing, the narrator in Under Milk Wood – I really enjoyed that.

“Working with Tower, I can earn a decent living during the day – and do terrific plays in the evening.

“And it’s a company that has high standards.

“We’re not talking am-dram with people forgetting their lines and furniture falling over.”

n The Odd Couple is at Theatro Technis, Camden Town from July 26-30, www.theatrotechnis.