Anne spent the first seven years of her life in India, constantly moving house and situation as a true “child of the Raj”.
Many impressions, of Rajput palaces, Gond villages, ancient monuments, mountains, rivers and plains, jungles, animals and a huge assortment of peoples, gave me a bank of memories and an insatiable curiosity that has continued throughout my life.
In the early ’60s this curiosity led me to discover the work of F. M. Alexander, to help me recuperate after a car crash in East Africa in which my mother and I nearly died, leaving me subject to muscular spasms that took away my ability to speak normally, walk, write or otherwise function competently.
I was lucky enough to land on the doorstep of Dr and Mrs Barlow, both teachers of the Alexander Technique who had trained with F. M. Alexander, and as I soon discovered, Marjory Barlow was Alexander’s niece. However, learning the Technique was by no means a ‘quick fix’, it took me many years and much disappointment before I felt secure in my ability to use it. As my overall health and functioning improved it became obvious that this work was of such importance that I would need it for the rest of my life – and so it proved.
I applied to join the Alexander Technique Training Course run by Mrs Barlow and once qualified in 1964, I continued working with the Barlows for the next 12 years, widening and deepening my understanding of the principles that underlie the Technique. In 1969, Marjory Barlow invited me to assist her on her next training course.
In 1969, I was invited to teach Alexander Technique at the RADA, and continued for 16 years working with talented young actors who are now household names. From 1976, I ran a private practice, working with people from all walks of life, from aristocrats, actors and musicians to builders and cleaning ladies.
I joined the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique at the outset of my training in 1961 and have been a member ever since. I learned how to run workshops and for a time was Chair of the STAT Training Course committee and set up the system of appraisal for new graduates which we call ‘moderation’.
My greatest joy in this work is teaching newer practitioners how to use the underlying principles of inhibition and direction, demonstrated by practical procedures of how to use this work for themselves. Alexander himself was a practical man and had no time for any ideas which were not based on their application and use in real life.