ALEC AND JOCELYN RAIT – INVOLVEMENT WITH NAIROBI CITY PLAYERS
Alec and Jocelyn Rait went to Nairobi in 1965, shortly after their marriage in London, England, to take up a position with Car & General (East Africa) Ltd (later Car & General (Kenya) Ltd). Alec worked there in sales and training until the expiry of his work permit in 1970. Jocelyn did secretarial work for many of Nairobi’s companies, including the East African Safari Rally.
They were first introduced to the world of amateur theatre when the Nairobi Musical Society did “The Gypsy Baron”, with a friend of theirs, Celia Keegan, in a starring role. Celia asked them if they could help out backstage as there was a shortage of personnel, and they were both immediately bitten by the theatre bug. They met Bryan and Mary Epsom and Denis and Dorothy Patience shortly afterwards and became very involved in NCP’s current productions. Alec at 84 is still extremely handy and was always a valuable member of construction and stage crews. He Stage Managed three shows and credited Dorothy Patience and Benny Goodman with the excellent training he received. Jocelyn loved making costumes and generally assisting Mary, and she also did secretarial work for Bryan. She was busy with their young family so not available to perform but Alec had parts in “My Fair Lady”, “Guys and Dolls” and “Kiss Me, Kate”, and thoroughly enjoyed all the singing and dancing and carrying on. He also did quite a lot of front of house photography, both for NCP and for the Donovan Maule Theatre. In 1969 Jocelyn, heavily pregnant with their second child, was Nairobi’s only medieval cobbler, making the shoes for “Kiss Me Kate”.
The Raits emigrated to Canada in 1970 and have worked with amateur theatre companies and choirs ever since, particularly the Perth Community Choir in Perth, Ontario, and Theatre Night in Merrickville in Merrickville, Ontario – not far from Ottawa. Their training at NCP has stood them in good stead in many instances. They also enjoy Canada’s professional theatres, particularly the Stratford and Shaw Festivals and the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario. If a play is ever late starting they turn to each other and shake their heads: “Dorothy would turn in her grave”!
ALEC AND JOCELYN RAIT – NAIROBI CITY PLAYERS INVOLVEMENT
1967 “One Way Pendulum” and “Lunch Hour” – Alec – Stage Manager, Alec and Jocelyn – Set Construction
1967 “The Sound of Music” – Alec – Stage Manager, Jocelyn – Costumes
1968 “Guys & Dolls” – Alec – Chorus, Jocelyn – Costumes
1968 “My Fair Lady” – Alec – Cockney Quintet, Chorus, Jocelyn – Costumes, Assistant to Bryan
1969 “The Affair” – Alec – Stage Manager, Set Construction; Jocelyn – Wardrobe Mistress, Set Construction
1969 “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” – Alec – Assistant Stage Manager, Set
Construction, Photographs; Jocelyn – Dresser, Assistant to Bryan
1969 “After The Fall” – Alec – photographs, Jocelyn – Assistant to Bryan
1969 “Kiss Me, Kate” – Alec – 2nd Suitor (Gremio, understudy to Lucentio), Photographs; Jocelyn –
Costumes, Assistant to Bryan.