Philip Lewis began coming to the Grand as a child in the 1930s, when his mother brought him to watch plays from the Upper Circle.… more
David Buckle attended the Grand as a child during the Second World War, when the buses that brought him to the theatre had their windows blacked out.… more
Jill Loach, an avid theatre-goer, recalls a presentation of a new play by “up and coming” playwright at the time, Harold Pinter, on 5th May 1958:“His first full length play, The Birthday Party came to the Grand on its pre-London tour in Spring 1958, mystified us and reputedly played on some nights to audiences in single figures – some of whom left in the interval! Certainly on the night we saw it, the theatre was virtually empty Afterwards we went round as usual to the stage door clutching autograph books. “Did you enjoy it?” said John Slater. “Yes,” we answered honestly. “Did you understand it?” was the next question and we had to admit we hadn’t got a clue!”… more
Putting on a different play each week during the repertory season was demanding for backstage staff as well as actors. David Perry worked as a scenic designer and painter for repertory plays in the 1960s and was haunted by the theatre’s ‘ghosts.’… more
Esmé England was 100 years old when she was interviewed, but she still had vivid memories of working as a seamstress at the Grand. During a performance of Carmen she saved the show, when the singer playing Don Jose almost destroyed the heroine’s costume!"Carmen was a beautiful woman…. she had a most magnificent lace costume. As she walked, Don Jose … stood on her costume and she kept walking. All this lace came undone. I quickly got behind her where no-one could see me and put it together and at the end of the performance, I had to take it home and get it all back together again. I can see him now that lace and him standing in the middle of it. That was a catastrophe."The other photographs and articles show Esme's work on costumes for the 1972 pantomime, Cinderella.… more
Ian Payne was taken to pantomimes at the Grand as a child and brought up by his parents to respect the theatre’s history, so he was very sad when the theatre closed for over two years in the early 1980's:"If I was in town and I was going somewhere, to the bus station in particular, you’d walk past the Grand, it was boarded up - one of the oldest theatres in the country, one of the most respected theatres in the country. A lot of the greatest stars we’d ever produced have trod the boards here and seeing this was just so upsetting. It probably hurt me more because I love theatre and the history of theatre. We were going into recession, jobs were being lost, it was all part and parcel of the whole atmosphere of the country, the doom and gloom climate of the country and as you don’t know when we’re going to come out of this depression, it was the same then. When the Grand Theatre closed, it suddenly dawned on me, it brought home how serious the economic climate was, when one of the most popular theatres in the land had closed and it was just like the heart and soul had been taken out of the town."… more
n 1990, Julia Prior became a member of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Development Trust committee and they asked her to organise a fund-raising night at the theatre. She was taken aback to discover that they meant she should produce a whole show at the Grand, but she duly went to all three of the local amateur operatic societies to ask them to perform part of their show on one night and she also invited her daughter’s show band from Abraham Darby School. After Julia had been taken backstage by her god-father when she was a child and then been a theatre landlady and a keen theatre-goer, at last she was actually working at the theatre:"Unfortunately it was only for one night, on a Sunday night, this was the sad thing – all the hard work that was put into this work and it was only for one performance. I had to open the box office up at home to start with and start selling tickets and then a couple of weeks before the production, the Grand Theatre box office took over…and I did this in 1990, I did it again in 1991 and 1992. We had the full backing of the lighting people and it was such a joy, because I was meeting a lot of people that I’d met previously and was actually working with them and it was the most happy time possible and very successful."… more
Lindsey Grant’s grandmother danced in professional pantomimes at the Grand in the 1950s; her mother is a dance teacher, and Lindsey herself has already performed in many musicals at the Grand."It’s just a total buzz when you go on the stage. At the moment I’m with MusCom, which is Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company and we’re rehearsing for West Side Story. I’m playing one of the Jet girls in it, so I get to do the numbers like America and I Feel Pretty, which are the main numbers in the show. When I first did The King and I with South Staffs Musical Company in I think it was 2004, I played one of the children – there was about sixty of us – and it was really fun, and this time when I do it, I’m playing one of the lead dancers, so it’s nice to have progressed from child actor to doing some dancing on my own."… more
David Buckle attended the Grand as a child during the Second World War, when the buses that brought him to the theatre had their windows blacked out. Here, he recalls his memories of Marlene Dietrich's 1966 appearance at the Grand.… more
From touring companies, need info re timing, strobe lighting, special effects, bad language, smoking on stage, cast changes. more
Sally speaks of Tony Steadman and the versatility of his roles at the Grand Theatre.… more
Eirlais Tomkins recalls the variety of shows she saw at the Grand Theatre, including Tony Steadman's performance in "Of Mice And Men."… more
After about two years being a spotlight boy Phillip Mason moved to work as a stage-hand in the fly gallery above the stage, operating ropes to change scenery.… more
Phillip Mason had never been to a theatre when he was recruited to work at the Grand by a man who visited his school. He began work as a spotlight boy, when he was 15, in 1949.… more
Phillip Mason worked at the Grand from 1949 until 1962 and one of the aspects of the work he enjoyed most was getting to know the actors.… more
Phillip Mason enjoyed the Rep seasons when a different play was performed every week, and speaks of the hard work involving ice shows.… more
Phillip Mason talks about a typical workday for a stage-hand at the Grand Theatre and some of the larger tasks he had to undertake.… more
Gordon Hands is Chairman of the Friends of the Grand. He recalls when, as a four-year-old, he saw the actor who played the Cat in Dick Whittington perform a hair-raising stunt.… more
In the 1950s, the repertory season lasted for 36 weeks. Gordon Hands’ parents attended every Friday and Gordon will never forget the first time they took him with them.… more
Gordon Hands discusses the well derversed reputation of the Grand for its friendliness.… more
Discussing the future of the Grand Theatre, Gordon Hands talks of his hopes and where the venue will push to continue their success.… more
Kathie Lamsdale attended dancing classes in Wolverhampton throughout her childhood and then auditioned for Madame Leminski in Edgbaston, who provided panto dancers for the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham and the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton. She danced in several pantomimes at the Grand in the 1950s, which in those day s ran for eleven weeks.… more
During Kathie Lamsdale’s years in pantomime, she enjoyed meeting many of the stars of the day, including Teddy Johnson & Pearl Carr, Bill Maynard, Norman Vaughan, Malcolm Vaughan & Kenneth Earle, Lenny the Lion, Hilda Baker, Val Doonican, Arthur Haynes and Reg Varney. However, some of her warmest memories are of socialising with the other pantomime dancers and the stage crew.… more
Kathie takes a moment to talk about the times she enjoyed in the theatre when she had nothing to do.… more
Christine talks about her earliest memories of the Grand Theatre, as well as a more recent memory with her niece and nephew.… more
When Dilys Bradbury attended pantomimes at the Grand as a child, in the early 1950s, she recalls that they were very different from how they are now.… more
Dilys Bradbury talks about the unique and special nature of live theatre, as well as the reputation of the Grand.… more
Pat Ball talks about her part in The Witches and the reaction she and the rest of the cast recieved.… more
Pat Ball, who starred in the 1996 production of The Witches at the Grand, recalls her fondest memory as a member of the audience.… more
Millicent Seed began attending the Grand just after the war had ended.… more
Steve Clifton is Assistant Head at Coppice Performing Arts School and has produced fourteen of the school’s annual shows. In 2006 he brought the school’s production of Les Miserables to the Grand for one night only.… more
In 2008, Steve Clifton returned to the Grand with his school’s production of Schools Will Rock You, this time for two nights.… more
Dennis Farley talks about how he started the music nights at the Grand Theatre in the 1960s.… more
Reminising about the music nights, Dennis Farley talks about the acts he arranged to play, as well as some of the problems he had.… more
Anne Surman discusses how she began performing in pantomimes, as well as her favourite moments.… more
Anne Surman talks about putting on charity shows at the Grand Theatre and her memories of them.… more
Talking about her earliest memories, Eunice Parry talks about watching Pantomimes and seeing Norman Wisdom perform.… more
Eunice Parry talks about working in the Box Office of the Grand Theatre in the 1950s.… more
Several years after working in the Box Office, Eunice Parry worked at the Grand as an Usher during the pantomime seasons for a couple of years.… more
Jeremy Brown discusses how he became a member of the board of management for the Grand Theatre.… more
Jeremy talks about the recent Repertory seasons that have been performed at the Grand Theatre.… more
Talking about the staff and the facilities, Jeremy Brown highlights and praises the achievements of the Grand Theatre.… more
Starting as a performer at the Grand Theatre through the GET-IN! program, MJ Mytton Sanneh has had the opportunity to play the part of the young Michael Jackson in Thriller Live. Here he talks about how he started as a performer.… more
Edwina Edwards talks about Madame Lehminski, her ballet teacher.… more
Edwina Edwards talks about her experience during New Years Eve at the Grand Theatre while she performed in the 1950s.… more
Former Chief Executive Brian Goddard talks about the refirbishment of the Grand and the task of getting the money to fund it.… more
Brian Goddard gives praise to the staff of the Grand Theatre for winning the Most Welcoming Theatre Award.… more
Education Officer Louise Bent discusses how she created and organised The W Factor for local school children, as well as meeting writer Jacqueline Wilson.… more
When Ann Eaton was a pupil at Wolverhampton High School during the Second World War, she and her sister received free tickets to attend the Grand’s weekly repertory season from a friend of her mother’s, Mrs. Knowles.… more
Ann Eaton and her sister were in their early teens when they were given free tickets to the Grand’s weekly repertory season during the Second World War.… more
Ian Griffiths discusses the way technology has changed the way the Grand Theatre operates, both for front of house and backstage.… more
Ian Griffiths talks about what makes live theatre a special experience compared to other artforms.… more
Richard Edmonds became arts reviewer and diary editor for the Birmingham Post in 1978 and has been coming to the Grand Theatre ever since. Here he remembers coming to the Grand when he was seven years old.… more
Richard Edmonds recalls a memorable performance of Pride & Prejudice from 1987.… more
Richard Edmonds talks about the warm and welcoming reception that always awaited him upon his arrival to the Grand Theatre.… more