Jocelyn Barnard is more than likely, the first face you see when you go into the Rex Cinema – either from behind the Paybox, from behind a red curtain or emerging from the Projection Room.
Jocelyn was born in Kandy a number of years ago and spent an idyllic childhood in Sri Lanka, Ceylon as it was called in those days. At the age of seven she was sent back to England to a convent boarding school in Kent where she excelled in the school productions especially as Pooh Bear and as the Pied Piper. After school, she was accepted by RADA and was contemporary with great names such as Dorothy Tutin, Barbara Jefford, Peter O’Toole, Alan Bates and Albert Finney to name but a few.
Like all young actors there were periods of ‘resting’ but work came along – with Margaret Rutherford in ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’ which toured Ireland. She starred with Joss Ackland in ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Oxford Playhouse and later went with the production on its European Tour.
Jocelyn toured as well with the play ‘I am A Camera’ adapted from Isherwood’s book ‘ Goodbye to Berlin’ in 1951 by John Van Druten and later again adapted as a film ‘Cabaret’. Jocelyn took the lead as Sally Bowles.
In 1955, Jocelyn played for a year at the New Theatre in St. Martin’s Lane in the production of ‘The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker’ with the great stage and screen actor, Nigel Patrick. It was at this time that an up-and-coming photographer asked her to sit for him – Tony Armstrong-Jones - later Lord Snowdon.
In between the theatrical engagements, Jocelyn took on film and television parts ; Jocelyn met a young Peter Sellers whilst doing a television special for ‘The Dickie Valentine Show’ – they did a sketch together and Jocelyn played Desdemona to Seller’s Othello.
Jocelyn as leading lady in John Van Druten’s Play “I am a Camera”
Films included ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ in which she played Molly Brazen, ‘a Lady of the Town’ - which was shown at the Rex Cinema during the 2006 Purbeck Film Festival. Sir Bill Cotton presented Jocelyn with a bouquet of flowers but she modestly refused to come up on the stage for the audience acknowledgement. The film was directed by the legendary Peter Brook with a screenplay by Christopher Fry and a star-studded cast which included apart from Jocelyn James, Lawrence Olivier, Dorothy Tutin, Stanley Hollloway and one of the first performances from a singing Kenneth Williams
The demands of a stage career are great and Jocelyn gave up the brilliance of the footlights for love, marriage and her children. She would never return to the stage.
In 1989 a year after the responsibility for The Rex Cinema was taken over from Rusty Irons, Jocelyn was asked to help. Like so many good Rex volunteers, she started from the Ice Cream Sales and Usheretting but the lure of the swishing red velvet curtain became so strong that she became more and more involved with the running of the cinema. With her knowledge of stage and film and her enthusiasm, Jocelyn was asked to become a director of the Cinema.
Now, whatever the future of the Rex Cinema in Wareham might be, today there is only one face of the cinema – it is that of Jocelyn Barnard.
Dougal Dixon was born in Dumfries, Scotland, in 1947, and spent most of his youth in the Scottish borderlands. He graduated Bachelor of Science in geology from The University of St Andrews in 1970 and Master of Science in 1972. He has a special interest in fossils and evolution and his research thesis was on the subject of palaeogeography. He is now a full-time writer and book editor specializing in the earth sciences, and has many children's books and encyclopaedias to his name. He his acquired a reputation for putting over the concepts in a totally novel way. Along these lines his most notable books are After Man: a zoology of the future in which he explained the workings of evolution by postulating the types of animals that may evolve in times to come (optioned by Spielberg's Dreamworks company); The New Dinosaurs, in which he described the zoogeography of the world by describing what life might be like today had the dinosaurs not become extinct; Man After Man, in which the physical changes to the earth's environment over the next few million years are described through the eyes of people who have been genetically engineered to cope with them, and Time Exposure (aka The Age of Dinosaurs) in collaboration with wildlife photographer Jane Burton, in which extinct animals are dramatically portrayed in lifelike photographs.
He has made several television appearances, and acted as a consultant and animator for a video programme about dinosaurs. He has acted as presenter for a Japanese television programme about evolution, during which he worked in the Serengeti, the rain forest of Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands.
He is a great enthusiast of science fiction and has addressed several conventions - usually on the subject of the evolutionary and ecological veracity of science fiction aliens. He is a director and projectionist of the Rex Cinema - a job he does for love of the art-form, not for the money! Dougal is also a skilled caricaturist and with talents in claymation and stop motion has has produced, directed, written and modelled the ever popular Rex Intros.