Molly Limpet’s Exhibition

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On Saturday June 22nd Molly Limpet’s Emporium opened up to the public

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Aladdin’s Cave for Dames and Ugly Sisters!

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The day was packed with panto aficionados,Dames, Producers, and Panto fans – hosting an exhibition of costumes, with Panto Dame & Wig creator, David Robbins and some bling Jewels to make the eyes water- all under one roof!

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More sequins than there are in Julian Clary’s pedal bin!

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Thanks to Daniel Dawson for the photographs. I was away that day, but it sounds like everyone went to the Ball!

 

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THE GILLIAN LYNNE THEATRE

It is with sadness that since publishing this article Dame Gillian Lynn died on 1st July 2018 leaving behind a huge legacy of work in this country and throughout the world. gillianlynne2

THE GILLIAN LYNNE THEATRE

The West End has a New Theatre – The former New London Theatre has been named in honour of Dame Gillian Lynne.

In March 2018  Lord Lloyd Webber announced the theatre would be renamed to celebrate Dame Gillian, choreographer of Cats for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn. It is the first west end venue to be named after a non royal woman.

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The above photograph by Craig Sugden

This theatre has a long association with the Musical “CATS” – the musical premiered here in May 1981 and ran until 2002.

Gillian Lynne was made a CBE in 1997, and created Dame in 2014. She is ninety-one years old, with a career that saw her principal dancer at Sadlers Wells Ballet, and at the Royal Opera House, and Principal dancer at The London Palladium.

She has choreographed and staged Phantom Of The Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  among her many talents. When I was working at the Haymarket in Leicester it was Gillian Lynne who choreographed the production of “My Fair Lady” with Tony Britton, Liz Robertson and Dame Anna Neagle.  She received a new category of Olivier award for her outstanding achievement of the year in a Musical.

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Dame Gillian has appeared in pantomime- her first principal role was as Puss In Boots at The Coventry Theatre in 1957 with Harry Secombe starring and the up and coming Morcambe & Wise as the Miller’s Sons.

In 1962 Dame Gillian appeared as Queen Of Catland, opposite Dick Emery in “Puss In Boots” at The London Palladium Pantomime. The Pantomime also starred Frankie Vaughan, Jimmy Edwards, Joan Regan, Mike and Bernie Winters and Audrey Jeans.

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Dick Emery with Gillian Lynne

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The Gillian Lynne Theatre is directly opposite the Qdos suite of offices in Drury Lane.

PETER BYRNE : The Service

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Tuesday 12th June 2018

After several years as a resident of Denville Hall, The Actor’s retirement and care home in Northwood, west London, Peter Byrne died on May 14th.

A Service was held at Breakspear Crematorium nearby, with a full house, and a very moving tribute to “A terrific actor and a great bloke”, as it said on the order of service, or Programme as it was referred to.

The service was conducted by The Reverend James Fields, with Paul Elliott giving a personal tribute, the reading of a letter from Sheila Welch and a tribute from Peter’s Step Daughter, Vivien Gee.

A great turn out of Family, friends and colleagues who worked with Peter over a huge career- Just some of that career is mentioned in an earlier item on this Green Room Site.

I wasn’t able to remember everyone that was there, but I made an attempt to recall some- and there was a lovely atmosphere of remembering and recall anecdotes and off and on stage moments with his mates, back at Denville Hall.

Apologies to those I’ve missed out- perhaps you can let me know the names I didn’t quite catch or recall and I can add them here.

Vivien and Anthony Gee

Val Foice & Family (Peter’s Cousin)

Paul and Linda Elliott,

Haydn And L J Elliott,

Lalla Ward (Chairman of Denville Hall)

Chrissie from Denville Hall

David Webster

Sheila and Nick Welch

Doreen Hermitage

Audrey Laybourne

Spencer K Gibbons and Rudi Gibbons

Rev Cindy Kent

Ken Morley

Anita Graham and Richard Harris

Mark Wynter

Joe Harmston

John Hobbs and Ian,

John Newman & Daphne Palmer

Chris Moreno

John Fleming

Sarah Whitlock

Sylvia Carson

Moira Foot

Belinda Carroll

Nigel Ellacott

Andrew Ryan

Christopher Ryan

Madeline Smith

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A very lovely reception hosted by Denville Hall afterwards, and a big thank you for looking after us so well in this beautiful house.Thanks to Paul, Linda, Haydn and L J Elliott for organising such a tribute- It was a great send off. We left the service to the sound of “Dixon” himself, Jack Warner, singing the theme song “An ordinary copper” to the successful series, the one that Peter Byrne appeared in for 432 episodes, over 22 series and made him a household name.

God Bless Peter. It was a joy and a pleasure to have known  “A great bloke”.

 

Gary Wilmot MBE

Congratulations To Gary Wilmot, who today receives the MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List!

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Long known as Dame Gary, This amazingly talented – performer has been officially recognised, and has received the MBE . Here at IBY we couldn’t wish this honour on a nicer chap!

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Gary will be appearing as Dame in “Snow White” at The London Palladium this season, his second time as Dame at this famous West End Theatre.

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Follow this link to our “SPOTLIGHT ON GARY WILMOT”

https://ibygreenroom.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/spotlight-on-gary-wilmot/

 

Summer Panto Continued

Panto In The Park. July 2018
Pumpkin Pantos in association with Camberley Theatre present
 ‘Panto in the Park: Red Riding Hood’ this summer!
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Bursting with brilliant songs, jam-packed with jokes and crammed full of colourful characters, Red Riding Hood is a panto so funny you’ll be howling with laughter!

This performance takes place at 1pm at London Road Recreation Ground, Camberley, GU15 3HB on Saturday 28th July.

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Here is a link to the show trailer: https://youtu.be/pmDWyY3zkdU 

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Summer Panto is on the way!

Half-term is over, and all over the UK Children’s shows kept families entertained during the week’s break. I enjoyed seeing the Stiles & Drewe “Goldilocks” at The Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford- great fun for all and one hour of sing-a-long entertainment with a happy family of porridge eating bears, A lumberjack and his fiesty daughter Goldi, perfect for the holidays.

Coming this summer- not one, not two but THREE pantomimes at Blackpool’s North Pier Theatre- Two for children and one strictly Adults only! Here’s the information:

 

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Gerry Graham Pantos & Productions bring some pantomime fun to Blackpool’s North Pier Theatre during August 2018, With not 1, not 2 but 3 Pantomimes!

For the family they present Cinderella every Wednesday in August at 2.30pm & 7pm & You are invited to join them for a up-to-date family friendly presentation of this well-loved, heart-warming rags to riches romance, with loads of comedy, pathos, music and audience participation, it’s a show not to be missed!

Then every Thursday in august at 2.30pm more family fun as they present Dick Whittington & his cat! Join them as Dick Whittington searches for Fame & Fortune, Will He find it or will Queen Rat & Capt Pigseye stop him? There’s only one way to find out – Book your tickets today!

Then for the big boys and girls who are 18 and over every Thursday in august at 8pm they present- Carry On Whittington, The Confessions of a Country Boy…
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It’s a bawdy pantomime only for big boys and girls over the age of 18!
Join the very raunchy team for a night of hilarious fun – it’s the perfect night for Hen parties, couples or just a group of friends!Once again – Carry On Whittington is a STRICTLY ADULTS ONLY EVENT.

An annual Holiday treat in Weymouth is “Pirates Of The Pavilion”, presented by Made To Measure Pantomimes, the company that presents the Panto each year at The Pavilion Theatre.

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Pirates of the Pavilion is brought to you by the Producers of the Award Nominated Christmas Pantomime- SLEEPING BEAUTY, Made-to-Measure Pantomimes!

Pirates of the Pavilion is set to return in July with a brand new Jurassic adventure that’s guaranteed to have your ROARING with laughter!!

Featuring ‘REAL’ dinosaurs, including an eye-popping Flying Pterydactyl!

Pirates Of The Pavilion runs from Monday 30th July 2018 to Wednesday 29th August 2018

The Pavilion theatre tells us that they will be running a Relaxed Performance on Thursday 31 July at 1pm to accommodate people on the autism spectrum, as well as those with communication difficulties and learning disabilities.

Slight changes will be made to the show itself; any loud noises or strobe lighting will be omitted, the auditorium lights will be left on and audience members will be free to leave the theatre and spend some time in a quiet area set up in the foyer at any point during the performance. However, the fun, slapstick, comedy, music and laughter will stay exactly the same!

Bookings for the relaxed performance can only be made via the Box Office, call between the hours of 9:30am – 6pm or call  01305 783 225.

 

 

 

PETER BYRNE 1928-2018

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Peter Byrne died this week at Denville Hall,at the age of ninety,  where he has been a resident for the past five years. Peter was born in East Ham in 1928, and trained at The Italia Conti school in Clapham.

His Father had been a musician, and at one time was a member of Jack Hylton’s Band.

He started his career with The famous Will Hay Company- “although by that time unfortunately he’d finished making films by then”- and appeared at the age of sixteen in the Royal Command Performance in sketches with Nervo & Knox and The Crazy Gang. He recalled “The next day there were photographs of us in all the papers, with The King, The Queen and Churchill watching us!”

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Peter became one of the most famous faces on television when he joined Jack Warner in the BBC Television series “Dixon Of Dock Green” as PC Andy Crawford. This was in 1955 and he remained with it for 430 episodes, over twenty years until 1976.

Peter had previously appeared in the forerunner to “Dixon” not in the film of that name, but in the stage version in the West End with Warren Mitchell.

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When I was growing up Saturday night was “Dixon” night on BBC TV. It began with a blue lamp and the familiar face of Jack Warner bidding us “Evenin’ All” as a new episode took place- twenty six years of BBC Drama, with Peter Byrne as “The Housewive’s Choice” as the matinee idol looking Andy Crawford. My Mother was a huge fan. When I appeared in pantomime with Peter my parents made the long trip from Swansea to Stevenage to see me. It was more for my Mother to meet Andy Crawford. It was a the highlight of my career in her eyes. I was working with her hero!

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Peter was a leading figure in the world of Pantomime. For a while he was director of productions( 1965-66) for the Bournemouth Theatre Company, situated opposite the Pavilion Theatre, alongside his friend Paul Elliott, a fellow actor he had met on the set of “Dixon”.

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Not long afterwards Paul persuaded Peter to join him in setting up a pantomime company. It was called E&B.The name stood for Elliott & Byrne.

Peter assisted Paul in running the company, performing in pantomimes and directing pantomimes. Soon they began to increase the number of venues, and Peter began to realise that he truly preferred being onstage and directing to being a part of the business side of this blossoming Pantomime Dynasty. Peter continued to work for E&B, the name remained, but he bowed out of management. Paul went on to expand E&B until it presented thirty pantomimes each year- the story of this will be revealed when Paul Elliott publishes his book this Autumn.

Peter Robbins and I were so fortunate to have Peter Byrne as our Director and as our “Daddy”- Baron Hardup when we did our very first E&B Panto “Cinderella” at Stevenage. The one where my Mother travelled many hours to see, and never forgot meeting Peter.

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Peter directed and starred in that very first E&B panto in 1983 at The Gordon Craig in Stevenage..Peter (Byrne) would remind us, every time we met over the years of how  that we tried to bribehim- our director-by taking him to tea at The Ritz , to see if we could do a boudoir scene we had been performing the previous two years. It must have been a good tea- we got a boudoir scene, and a further twenty nine odd years of scenes that followed!

 

Peter was a very fast director. He soon got the show blocked and rehearsed and on- but he never left the wings. After an exit as Baron he would remain watching from the wings for every show- he loved every part of the stage experience. It really was his life.

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He appeared and directed many pantos- both in the UK and for Paul Elliott in Vancouver and in Victoria BC.

He gave an interview at Bradford Alhambra for The Telegraph & Argus when he was Directing and appearing in panto. It was gloriously tongue in cheek.

“Oh yes, I’ve done all the classical roles.. Abanazar.. King Rat.. you name it!”

As Director he held the talents of Ronnie Corbett, Jimmy Cricket and Ted Rogers as the finest in Pantoland.

On stage Peter appeared in countless National Tours and was frequently in The West End. He appeared in “The Blue Lamp” onstage, as well as Boeing Boeing, The Unexpected Guest, Deadly Nightcap,Caste,  There’s A Girl In My Soup, Double Edge, Witness For The Prosecution, Move Over Mrs Markham and At The St Martin’s Theatre in The Mousetrap.

I once met him in St Martin’s Lane and we chatted about the play he had just re-joined. I said I thought he wasn’t going to do it again. “Ah yes, “ he said, “But we need an extension on the house!”. In truth wild horses wouldn’t have dragged him away from live theatre. It was everything to him.

Peter Byrne appeared in film, from Reach For The Sky (1956) to Watch Your Stern, Raising The Wind, The Iron Maiden and Carry On Cabby (1963) He was continuously working.

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Television appearances, apart from “Dixon” included Holby City, Doctors, Blakes 7, Bluebirds and playing Derek, The Gentleman Caller in Nellie Boswell’s life in “Bread” for three years.

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He was in Paul Elliott’s “Run For Your Wife” in The West End, and when Paul wrote a comedy “There’s No Place Like A Home” set in the mythical “STollberg Hall”, Peter joined a cast of celebrities and “old Pro” performers that changed as the play toured. He appeared alongside the likes of Gorden Kaye, Brian Godfrey,Barry Howard, Sue Hodge, Jan Hunt,  Joan Savage, Don McLean, Ken Morley, Geoffrey Davies and Brian Cant. Even the voice of Jeffrey Archer was heard in this madcap comedy set in an actors retirement home.

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Peter entered Denville Hall several years ago. He kept in touch with his close friends and family, and saw a lot of both Paul and Linda Elliott. I relished running into Peter- at The Mousetrap, or a great evening catching up at The Mill Sonning, and one very glorious afternoon at Paul’s Birthday Party.

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All afternoon I sat on the sofa with Peter and was regaled with his stories and anecdotes about life in the film and TV studios. Stories of taking short cuts thru the studios crossing through the set of “Wicked Lady” in Gainsborough Studios, stories of Margaret Lockwood, James Mason, Patricia Roc, and the film stars of the 1940’s and 1950’s that he met and worked with. Sheer joy. What a wonderful afternoon that was! Sadly, it was the last time I saw Peter Byrne. THAT is how I will remember him. A true man of the Theatre. A joy. Bless you Peter Byrne, and love and thoughts to family and his many friends.