My mother, Shirley Dynevor-White, who died at the age of 89, was an actress at Joan Littlewood’s Theater Workshop in London in the 1950s.
From 1953 to 1959 he appeared with them in several productions at the Theater Royal, Stratford East, including A Christmas Carol (1953), The Dutch Courtesan (1954), Richard II (1954) and An Italian Straw Hat (1955).
He then did some film work and moved on to television, spending the last 15 years of his career as a stage director on the set of Coronation Street, which he loved so much.
Shirley was born in Cardiff to Hedley Teague, a landscape gardener, and Nancy (née Sutton), a nurse. She showed a talent for acting while at the Hereford grammar school for girls, and after leaving school she worked for a time as a representative at Pontypridd, then moved to London, where she worked as a bailiff at the Curzon cinema.
In 1953, he went to an audition in Stratford East, for which Littlewood was responsible. He later said, “He was the most magical director I could have imagined, with his woolly hat and an extraordinary approach to drama, theater and life.” “When I received a telegram inviting me to join the company, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”
In early 1954, another actor joined the Theater Workshop – my father, Gerard Dynevor. A few minutes after they met, he had invited her to a local cafe and offered to have a cup of tea there. In November of that year, Shirley gave birth to my older brother, Jonathan. His birth began while watching Gerard act in The Good Soldier Schweik in the stalls of Stratford East. “It was hilarious and I laughed a lot between contractions,” she said. “I stayed until the end and we were almost in time for Queen Charlotte’s hospital.”
After Shirley left the company, she took modeling jobs and joined a temporary company, but mostly stayed at home looking after my brother and me. Gerard died in 1966, when the family moved to Manchester.
As a result, Shirley had to give up acting to earn enough money to raise her two sons on her own. She began working in television production for Granada, where she was appointed stage manager, initially on the Thames, London Weekend, and later on Coronation Street.
He continued to take acting jobs as much as he could throughout the years. She played Eva Braun in the 1976 Peter O’Toole film Rogue Male and has appeared on television in Charlesworth, Scotland Yard, Sofa Theatre, Family Solicitor, The Liars, Crown Court and The Wednesday Play.
In 1989 she married Simon White, guitarist of Manchester rock iconoclasts Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. When he was diagnosed with dementia in 2009, Simon devotedly looked after him at home until he died. He was an extremely kind, thoughtful, energetic soul, and had a delightful wicked sense of humor that stayed with him almost to the end.
Survived are Simon, Jonathan and I, grandchildren Rosie, Maddie, Phoebe, Sam and Hattie, and grandchildren Louis and Elio.