Author Judy Staber says:

As a writer I use the maxim “Write what you know.” For years now I have been uncovering family histories. My two published books are based upon research and remembered facts:

I have written about my mother, and tangentially myself, in Rise Above It Darling the story of Joan White (2022). In 2010, I wrote about my unusual childhood: Silverlands Growing Up at the Actors Orphanage (2010).

I have written an Art-History mystery Casa Loca using events with my only aunt in southern Spain in 1981. Currently, with Emma Lee, I am writing the story of my great grandmother. With these last two, I link known facts with fiction.

I write poetry, essays , never forgetting 15 original Pantos, and I have written theatre reviews.


Rise Above It, Darling

The story of Joan White

Actor, Director, Teacher, Producer

and (sometimes) Mother

A biographical memoir published under my full name

Judy White Staber

Rise Above It, Darling (304 pages, 65 photographs) is available for $21.99 from:

NEW ADDITION  The Drama Book Shop NYC

The Troy Book Makers
The Chatham Bookstore
The Bookstore in Lenox


About The Book

Joan White as Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady 1958-9

People have asked me how my mother felt about leaving us at Silverlands. I don’t know. This is not about my childhood. I have already written about that time: Silverlands Growing Up at the Actors Orphanage. This is about my mother and trying to understand her.

I realize this biography has a different slant, with her life uncovered and discovered by her daughter rather than “as told to…” This is not a memoir, except where I, the author, am directly involved. This is a biography of a woman who happened to be my mother. A woman who was fully immersed in her profession, often to the detriment of her daughters. When I began, I was only dimly aware of the depth and breadth of her achievements.Most people only remember the names of a few outstanding, well-publicized stars. Yet it is the work of talented and dedicated performers like my mother, working constantly in major and minor roles, and as mentors and teachers, who support a vibrant theatre world.

Unlike most mothers and wives of her day, she knew little of the life of childrearing and housekeeping, beginning with her unusual childhood. She was a force unto herself and any regrets she may have had, she kept to herself.
Hers was a fascinating life, especially to anyone wanting to know about the life of a strong-willed woman who was hard-working in both the British and North American worlds of theatre for sixty-five years. View the Joan White Wikipedia page.


What people are saying about
“Rise Above It, Darling”

Staber’s unsparing honesty, coupled with her unfailing fairness, come together in a deftly and generously told tale that sheds light on the dramatic arts and the drama of atypical family experience in equal measure. That Staber manages to make art of all this is a gift to mothers and daughters everywhere. “Rise above it,” White’s signature catchphrase, is one that this remarkable book reveals to be far more than an empty slogan on both sides of the generation gap, even when it has widened into a chasm.
Anne Pyburn Craig
For anyone interested in how a theatrical career progresses and what to anticipate in pursuing such a life, this is an invaluable source of information. If you are interested in the back-story of a local life in the arts, this is also an interesting book to read. The book has the feeling of a long night in front of a fire, brandy in hand, and stories related.
J. Peter Bergman
If you are interested in the history of theater do not miss RISE ABOVE IT, DARLING by Judy White Staber. This is such an engaging and illuminating biographical memoir about Joan White, stage and screen actor, director, producer and teacher, and also the author’s mother!
Adrienne Spark
Pick of the Month: Quite simply the single best book of January (2022). Recommended Reading. Rise Above It, Darling is a powerful story highly recommended for memoir readers, career parents and their children, and anyone interested in mother/daughter relationships.
Diane Donovan

Previous Published Work



Born into a theatrical family in London during World War II. After family upheavals, her mother placed Judy, not quite four, and her sister, seven, at the Actors Orphanage in Chertsey, a town in Surrey south of London. She was to remain there for twelve and a half years. When she was eleven, her mother immigrated to Canada, her sister went a year later. Eventually she, too, came to America at sixteen when the orphanage closed and all her childhood friends were scattered around the world.

Silverlands is the story of her childhood and about the Orphanage, a story touched by the glamor of the theatre and such notables as Noël Coward, Laurence Olivier and Richard Attenborough, but also filled with the sadness that come when families are torn about by ill-fortune and careers. It is the story of resilient children who weren’t orphans, but were orphaned for a time by their parents’ profession – The Theatre; and how the members of the profession too care of their own, and still do today through The Actors’ Children’s Trust.

The Actors Orphanage was a unique institution and childhood at Silverlands was different from the norm: for some it was too different, but for Judy it was the only childhood she knew and she thrived and grew there.

We Four (Judy on left)

What people are saying about

I found it greatly moving and very enjoyable…you can be immensely proud of having written such a fascinating account of your time at Silverlands
Judy Staber has written a magnificent memoir about growing up in the actors orphanage in England. Unsparing yet compassionate, her story is a testament to the human spirit and its capacity for resilience. It is a gift
Silverlands is an unforgettable memoir, as deeply moving as it is riotously hilarious. Each episode is beautifully told with equal parts irony and tenderness. Judy Staber is an amazing writer.
Author Seriously and Salvation
(After a reading at The Bookstore in Lenox, MA.)
I’m so glad I was there last night. Hearing your reading, both your book’s introduction and Noel Coward’s letter, was food for the soul. I loved your reading of it as well as your writing of it.