Most parents who join the PTA are keen to support their child’s school in any way they can, but that enthusiasm usually extends to manning the tombola or pinning up the bunting at the summer fete or Christmas fayre.
Ginny Davis likes more of a challenge. So when the mother-of-two was made a PTA chairman she decided it would be fun for the parents to put on reviews and started writing skits for herself and others to perform.
Thus began a journey which this week sees her taking to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with her one-woman show, Ten Days ... That Shook The Kitchen .
Ginny admits she has always been something of a performer, even when it came to her choice of careers, which included being a translator then a barrister “which is really very close to being on stage”.
“Writing is something I love doing. Quite often my mum and I will write poems and deliver then as speeches at big celebrations.”
But doing a turn for family is still a world away from commanding a stage in front of an international festival audience, which she was inspired to try after attending the festival last summer.
Ginny admits she is used to succumbing to the occasional urge “to do something which looks impossible, grasping for something out of my reach”.
When she was 29 she threw in her job as a translator with Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and went to study law at Cambridge University. After she graduated, with a first class degree, she worked as a barrister at Fountain Court. Three years after being called to the bar, she had her daughter Rosie, who is now 15, followed by son Ralph, 12.
“I gave up being a barrister then. I didn’t really mind because I applied to Cambridge thinking I would never get in, so that was the culmination of my ambition in a way. Anything after that was the icing on the cake.
“I had two children and somebody had to look after them. I am not very good at doing two things at once. I am a perfectionist really. I gave up languages because I realised I wouldn’t be totally fluent unless I went abroad and it irritated me to think I couldn’t do it as well as it could be done.”
The show she will be taking to Edinburgh is based on a sketch she wrote for a PTA review and is a sort of grown up Bridget Jones’s Diary, with Ginny playing Ruth, a mother who “can’t win” and has to cope with her children, other playground parents and an “embarrassing husband who does a karaoke Elvis impression which is mortifyingly awful”.
Although the characters – particularly an appalling creature known as “Timmy’s mum” – and situations are not based on one single person or event, Ginny admits they were inspired by her own experiences at the school gates.
“It isn’t particularly experimental theatre but if it has any strengths it is in the observation. It is situations we all recognise but thought we were the only person who felt like that.”
As it is a monologue Ginny, 53, has to do the voices of all the characters herself –- from a five-year-old to 60-something in-laws.
“The hardest one to do is the luscious dad. It is quite tricky trying to make myself sound like a devastatingly gorgeous man.”
She will be putting on the show for a month at Sweet Teviot Place until August 24.
The performer pays for the venue, which Ginny did with a legacy she had from her father, who was briefly engaged to the film star Margaret Leighton.
Joining Ginny in Edinburgh will be her husband Judge William Davis QC, a circuit judge by day and enthusiastic member of the Leamington’s Loft Theatre by night, and their son Ralph, who played the Duke of York in the RSC’s, Richard III.
Daughter Rosie, who was Pip in The Archers will join them when she returns from a school hockey trip to Australia “bringing half the school to crash out on the floor, watch my show and hand out fliers”.
Ginny has been performing the show at various theatrical venues around the region, in front of audiences of up to 300 and is quietly confident it will strike a chord in Edinburgh.
“I would be horribly surprised if the only people who thought it was funny lived in Warwickshire,” she said. “What I would love is for someone to see it and say ‘that was fantastic. Have you written anything else?’ because I have.
“I have written a sequel and I would love the two parts to be made into a radio show.”
* Ten Days … That Shook The Kitchen opens on Friday at Sweet Teviot Place, Edinburgh. Tickets available from the box office on 0870 241 0136, or look up www.sweet-uk.net . Ginny's website is at ginnydavis.com .