Linda Jane Holmes
Baddie to Baroness & An Electrifying Corset! | Baroness Bolsover
Updated: Apr 18, 2022
The Victorian Baroness is delighted to be entertaining audiences around the country with her Afternoon Tea Etiquette Talk & Demonstration.
Having worked in professional theatre for over 35 years and with a fascination for Victorian history I’m delighted to combine my two passions with the creation of the Victorian Baroness... a far cry from my early acting roles!
Princess to Principal Boy
After leaving drama school in 1984 I secured my first professional acting job in pantomime that year playing Princess Rose Petal but soon got promoted to playing the more exciting thigh-slapping Principal Boy roles of Dick Whittington and Aladdin (seen here alongside Shelley Blonde as princess).
It wasn’t long before I was playing a variety of roles in repertory theatre at both Manchester Library Theatre Co. and Oldham Coliseum. Follies, Blood Brothers and Chicago were amongst my favourite shows.
You Gotta Get A Gimmick
Playing vaudeville stripper Miss Electra in the musical Gypsy, directed by the magnificent Paul Kerryson MBE, was a highlight of my early acting career.
As a gimmick for her act, Electra’s corset lights up in various strategic places on her torso... I recall it being most uncomfortable!
I wasn't aware back then that electric corsets had been all the rage at the end of the 19th century!
They didn’t light up as Miss Electra's, but they did promise to cure just about everything from rheumatism to hysteria and a bargain at only 5/6d.
I'll settle with wearing an Afternoon Tea Gown these days, with which a corset is not required!
Life on Tour
Touring life is tough, spending long weeks away from home, so it’s important to get on well with everyone.
It was whilst playing brash Northerner, Rita, in the National Tour of Billy Liar in the 1980’s where I met the lovely Nigel Ellacott who played my long suffering boyfriend Arthur.
Nigel is most famous for being one of Britain’s best-loved Pantomime Dames on the pantomime circuit for over 40 years. Being undoubtedly amongst the most glamorous, he’s designed hundreds of his own dresses for his numerous roles.
I was thrilled therefore when Nigel (seen here sporting a truly amazing Picnic Dress) recently shared his expertise with me to help create a new dress for the Baroness which will make a grand entrance later in the year.
Baddie to Baroness
Sadly one can’t play the dashing Principal Boy roles for ever, it’s exhausting for one thing, and as a maturing actress it's a natural progression to move on to playing the panto Goody or Baddie roles. Queen Rat in Dick Whittington... what fun, walking out onto the stage to receive an almighty Boo from the audience. You just don’t have to take it personally.
My last theatre role was playing a rather eccentric and utterly frivolous Baroness Hard-up in Cinderella. Maybe this is no co-incidence, for there are certainly elements of pantomime in my Victorian Baroness Bolsover, as witnessed in an outing to Old Bolsover Yard.
Panto is fun, light-hearted, colourful and always with a happy ending, something we all need in our lives, especially in the dark gloomy days of winter, the traditional season of Pantomime
Do’s & Don’ts of Afternoon Tea
The wonderful thing about Baroness Bolsover’s Afternoon Tea Talk is that it’s available all year round. Afternoon Tea is enjoyed throughout the seasons and, like the Pantomime, has been one of Britain’s favourite traditions since Victorian times.
So I think its fair to say my panto days are not over yet and I’ve finally found a role that I'll never grow out of... at least not for a long time!
“The Baroness was absolutely fantastic! My Tea Etiquette will be tip top thanks to the help of Baroness Bolsover!” Lindsay Fish, Co-President, Bolsover WI.
or Call 07930 258399
"A splendidly entertaining afternoon of tea with manners." Stella Wilson, Event co-ordinator Bramhope WI
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