Enjoyed a brief re-visit to Scarborough during late September-My Costume fittings for “Goldilocks And The Three Bears” at Richmond combined with a breath of sea air!
A rare visit for me to Crossroads Northern HQ, as this season I’ll be combining some of Crossroads panto costumes with my own, and, of course, appearing in my first “Goldilocks” at The Richmond Theatre.
I think I’ve not been to Scarborough since the late 1970’s, when I played a very long Summer Season at both Scarborough Grand Hotel and Butlin’s Filey , and just looking at the magnificent Grand Hotel (no longer Butlin’s owned) brought back memories of a season with Gordon & Bunny Jay for the Richard Stone Agency. Costumes by Paddy Dickie, and supporting acts like Roy Hudd, Ruby Murray , Dukes & Lee and meeting up with the gorgeous Marti Caine and company.
Lots of memories, not only in Scarborough itself, but in the enormous Crossroads costumes stores. So many memories here, of chums I’ve worked with, finale sets of costumes I’ve appeared with- it was a joy to explore, between fittings supervised by the Crossroads head of Wardrobe, Teresa Nalton.
Here are just some of the photos I took while exploring this vast Palace of glitz and glamour- walking down the avenues of costumes worn by the greats and some of the lates- Lovely Les Dawson, David Morton, Brian Godfrey, John Inman- what a treasure trove of Pantomime this is!
The building is enormous, and houses the workshops where this season’s costumes are being created and collated before being sent out to Press Calls and later to rehearsal rooms around the country , all in those familiar blue “Tardis” wardrobe boxes that greet you at the theatres on technical week! Who knows, perhaps the performers live within those tardis like doors for the run!
I fitted several costumes that I’ll be wearing in Richmond this year as Betty Barnum, owner of the Circus. Some very lovely ones and especially pleased to be wearing one made for my mate Gary Wilmot! I did Gary’s make-up on his first “Dame” photo shoot, and now I’m in his Dame frock. Circle of life!
The workshops were busy not just with construction, but with all the alterations that take place at this time of year. I fully appreciate, as as I type, I am nearing the end of organising the Kenneth More Theatre’s “Aladdin”, and we’ve just had our photo shoot. To my delight, and due to the skill of the makers, about 90% of the Panto costumes are made, fitted, bagged and wrapped, and it is still September! Now back to the Crossroads treasure house of frocks. Some more photos:
Among the treasure I selected the above as the finest- A true piece of Theatre history, Les Dawson’s nautical costume, which was hanging near to dear John Inman’s costumes, near to Danny La Rue’s , to Brian Godfrey and David Mortons costumes- what panto anecdotes and laughs those wardrobe rails must echo with at night- what a legacy of costume creation! Thank you so much Teresa for letting me explore this fabulous cavern of costumes!
Before leaving Scarborough Andrew Ryan and I took tea with Nick Thomas, surrounded by just some of his legendary puppet collections. I first encountered Nick back in the days when variety was still the summer season stalwart- he was “Tommer Puppets”, and grew an empire from this skilled form of entertainment. His Panto and Summer Show productions encompassed it all, and some of the country’s top entertainers appeared for him. The showcases behind Nick & I in this photograph are a small selection of the world of first edition Pelham marionettes, and gazing at us from their cases are Keith Harris’s Orville, Cuddles, Lenny The Lion, and Ray Allen’s Lord Charles, his monocle gleaming.
A huge thanks to Nick for his hospitality, and indeed the amazing food at his gastro pub, the Copper Horse- The pub is decorated with photographs of the variety greats, and the seasons at the Futurist Theatre, now sadly no longer standing.
This was quite some trip to Scarborough! My first in forty three years! I will be back, most definately!