I have always loved live theatre. I probably inherited it from my mother because she loved dancing especially, but also most things in live theatre. In the 1920s she was a young flapper, aided and abetted in this by Aunty Margaret, who helped her make the fringed and fancy dresses. My father was not so keen, but nobly attended any productions I was in and accompanied us to the occasional variety show.

Mum used to take my brother and I to any suitable show at the Empire or Theatre Royal. We went on a Friday evening to the first house. We queued outside and, as soon as the doors opened, my brother and I would fly up the stairs to the “Gods” while she bought the tickets. We always managed to get on the front  row and there I sat entranced by the glamour of it. After the performance we used to go for a fish and chip supper  at the cafe across the road.

I started dancing classes when I was 4 years old and from then on we had two concerts a year. My first concert was probably my most memorable as I had my first solo. A very simple prancing around as Cupid. I was supposed to wear a white ballet dress and pretend to shoot arrows from my quivver,  but my brother informed me that Cupid was naked. As a compromise they decided that I could wear just the frilly pants, but reallity was my middle name so as the music struck up, and Grandad R was occupied pulling the curtains open, I whipped off the pants and leapt onto the stage as naked as the day I was born.:)

After that I was in every production I could get into, from school plays to church pantomimes.

When I was about 9-10 years old  Grandad R started taking me to the theatre in the holidays, but not for him the scramble for seats in the gods. He bought seats in the dress circle or the stalls and we had tea served on a tray in the interval!

In my teens my brother became a member of the Playhouse Club. The Playhouse then was a small cosy theatre where a rep company performed a huge variety of plays from Shakespear to the surreal plays of N.J. Simpson. They changed the play once a fortnight. Many of the young actors starting then became household names in later years. When my brother started going out with girls who had no interest in the plays we let the membership lapse, but by this time I was in the 6th form and joined the 6th form club, which was a joint venture with the boys grammar school, and we went to the Playhouse as one of our activities.

At the hospitals I worked in we had Christmas shows put on my the medical staff and they often wanted a few girls for those as there were not many female doctors and medical students then, so we joined in those. At the QE we put on a very ambitious pantomime “Humpty Dumpty” which was directed by one of the surgical sisters and had great fun with that. I was the Fairy Godmother as I was the only one who could dance “en pointe”  and she had a particular yen for that!

On the Bergensfjord S and I joined in several productions put on by the cruise staff.

When we moved to West Wales my theatre going was limited to Jennie’s  school productions and the annual musical at the Arts Centre in Aberystwyth, but since we moved to Cardiff  Jennie and I have been making up for lost time and have been to several productions there and revived an old custom I had with a friend in London by celebrating our birthdays etc with a visit to the theatre. I would go to even more if I had not been a bit old to be running up the stairs for the cheaper seats.:)

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