Bryn Phillips (a policeman by profession, we think) played the Dame in this first production, apparently wearing wellies on the wrong feet, and being called Nurse Gubbins. Maid Marion was played by Diana Brothers, in what seems to be her only appearance on our stage: she apparently used to gargle before performing. We’ve just discovered a programme and a couple of newspaper photos. Frustratingly, the programme doesn’t list the children’s names, and there are about thirty in this rather blurry photo, so it’ll take some time to identify them. But we will…
The programme shows two distinct and interesting things: firstly that most of the principals in this first show don’t ever appear again, and secondly (though perhaps not surprising) the number of family groups listed (4 Brothers, 2 Elenders, 3 Lydons, 3 Mitchells). The programme also shows that were only three performances – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
One of the children was Sally Capp, who ended up doing 27 years, on and off. In 2016, having had a 5-year break, she’s back again as choreographer! Margaret Twelves, a ballerina in her own right, was the choreographer and Sally remembers her doing a lot of foot-stamping to keep the kids in line. Margaret called her children “girlies”, and must have made an impression because a lot of what Sally learnt has helped her in her years as choreographer herself. Sally also remembers a big schoolroom scene, and also having a little card where their weekly payments were recorded. She was also chosen to be The Fairy, because she was studying ballet. “Happy Talk” was one of the songs
Roy Brennan started in this year, doing backstage. He would continue for 24 years. Onstage, Ann Brothers joined, and would do 21 years
Carolyn Young remembers seeing the show with her 6-year old daughter Lisa, who was keen to join.
Another memory is of the chaos, perhaps predictably for this first show with no-one knowing quite what to do. Linda Carter remembers doing make-up, with June Wragg making patterns for the kids clothes for parents to cut out. June also remembers that only one script could be afforded: she typed it out on a plastic “skin” (where the typewriter keys made little letter-shaped holes) so it could be used to print more copies