Shows in the garage

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By: Mary

Mary: One of the thing that my sisters and I used to do was hold shows in the garage and charge people something like half penny to come and watch the show. And then the rough kids in the village used not pay but they used to come just stand in the back because we couldn’t stop them from watching. And I was about seven perhaps, and they put – I was doing a Can Can – so we actually had… Everybody realised that I was a bit flat really for doing a Can Can the skirt wasn’t really really voluminous. Everybody took their petticoats off because this was the 50s so basically my sisters, my big sisters were wearing petticoats. They took them all off and put them on me and shoved me out there. I had no idea what Can Can was but I kicked my legs about a bit.

And the music was provided with a record player that you know, you lifted the lid up and then you put a thing on, but something had gone wrong with the motor so you had to turn it by hand. So you had to put your finger in the middle of the record and turn it by hand and keep a steady thing otherwise some music would dip or go up you know. So they did acting and singing stuff like that. I come from quite a sort of exuberant family really so.

Pippa: And your performances were well attended, were they?

Mary: I think seem to remember so yes, I mean, but that’s probably why I never was really that nervous about performing and things because I’ve done it from a little girl you know.

Interviewed by Pippa Hale and Emma Bearman, May 2023.

Cancan dancer
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