(Isabel) Sheila Evans

(Isabel) Sheila Evans


This is another in the occasional series of blog posts which focuses on the women who were trained at the Ginner-Mawer School of Dance and Drama.  Today’s post highlights Isabel Sheila Evans, who was always known as Sheila.


While at school in Broadstairs (Kent), which would have been approximately 1935, Sheila attended a presentation given by Prunella Stack, founder of the Women’s League of Health and Beauty.  Probably without knowing it, Sheila had made her first tenuous contact with Ginner-Mawer because around 1926 Marjorie Duncombe, a graduate from the Ginner-Mawer School, had assisted Mrs Bagot-Stack and Mollie Stack to set up the Bagot Stack Health School, which later became the Women’s League of Health and Beauty (info from “They Had Such a lot of Fun” by Jill Julius Matthews).  


Prunella Stack’s presentation appealed to Sheila’s interest in movement, and after leaving school her parents allowed her to enroll at the Ginner-Mawer School, chosen by her parents as it was known to be a well-trusted establishment, with high standards.


World War 2 broke out in 1939, and the Ginner-Mawer School was evacuated to Boscastle in Cornwall.  At first, Sheila continued with her dance training, but returned to London to take part in the war effort by becoming a nurse.  She went on to have a family in the late 1940s and 1950s and wasn’t able to fully complete her dance training.  


However, Sheila kept an eye on what was happening in the local dance world and when Bice Bellairs, who was a Ginner-Mawer graduate, organised ballet classes in the upstairs room at The Railway pub/hotel in Godalming, it was Sheila who ran the ballet classes there for her (approx 1951).


The war disrupted too many lives, including Sheila’s.  Although she was never able to complete her dance studies, she had fond memories of her time at Ginner-Mawer, especially the Boscastle days and in 1989 she enjoyed re-visiting the area on holiday.


The photo shows Sheila in her Queen’s Auxiliary nurses uniform.




Thank you to Sheila’s daughters, Sarah Illingworth and Jaye Harrison, for the information and the photograph.


Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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