This week's prompt invites us to put on a show and take to the stage. I have nothing particularly historical I my collection, but here is a photograph of my mother dressed up - for what? I have no idea!
My mother is the second figure in from the left - looking very trim and elegant even in that boyish costume.
But what are they dressed up for? There is a clue on the back - with the name of a photographer in Stirling (Scotland). That means it was taken after 1961 when we moved north from England. I do know that Mum went to Stirling to take part in some regional events for the Townswomen's Guild - or was it WRI (Women's Rural Institute) - and these clearly are all women. Was it a play? Mum was never interested in acting and I cannot see her delivering lines in a play. But she enjoyed singing and joined a choir wherever we lived. So so was it a choral performance? Italian or Spanish, judging by the costumes? Is that a bride & groom in the centre with the "priest" alongside. Gilbert & Sullivan's "Gondoliers" came to mind, but there are no gondolier hats. I shall never know!
My first stage performance was at a Brownie's concert when, clutching our teddies, we sang "The Teddy Bear's Picnic". Another year we were dressed in green tights and a green tunic top with green and yellow crepe paper headdresses and collars to do a group recitation of "Wordswiorth's poem "To the Daffodils". The mind boggles at what we looked like! In those days, no photograph was taken to record this happy scene!
Below is a prelude to an outdoor stage performance at the village gala day at Staining, near Blackpool in the 1950's/ But it was raining, so we gathered in the church hall for a photograph. I am the little one of the junior dancers fifth back on the left. We were obviously very well trained, all standing the same way - feet together and skirts held out at the same angle.
Our dresses were apple greens satin, with silver cardboard headdresses and our shepherd crooks garlanded with crepe paper flowers. For me, the worst aspect was the torture the night before of having my hair put into rags, in the hope I would end up with ringlets the next day.
High School introduced me to Gilbert & Sullivan (also a favourite of my mother's) and I was "hooked", singing in most of the operas over the years. Today G & S has fallen out of favour with young ones, but it was such fun, happy to sing, even better to take part in a production (I always loved playing at dressing up) and I defy anyone not to feel uplifted afterwards.
Here I am in the opening chorus of "Patience" which is a skit on Oscar Wilde and the aesthetic movement. I am one of the "20 lovesick maidens we " - second standing figure on the right, plucking my cardboard lyre.
Our affections and affectatiosn change and by the end of the show we are have forsaken our medieval drapery for brighter everyday garb - mine (third from the right) was rather a garish red stuart tartan dress with a bustle and lots of ruffles which I was told to take home and press - a pain to do.
At University, I joined the Savoy Opera Group and the annual G & S performances were the highlight of my year. I loved taking part in them - the dressing up (the girls made their own costumes), the singing and some dancing, plus the camaraderie and friendships built up over intensive rehearsals. We thought we were great!
I am one of these "Dainty little fairies, tripping hither, tripping thither" in the opening chorus of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta "Iolanthe" -Our dresses were in shades of blue and green chiffon with silver trim at the waist, and of course wings, plus a cloche hat covered in petals, and heavy eyeshadow. I am in the deep green dress left of centre.
My favourite "Pirates of Penzance" - and my last production
The shows were such great fun to take part in and look back on -
I wouldn't have missed them for the worlds .
And I can still remember so much of the words and music!
Click HERE to see other performances from fellow Sepians.