THE COLLECTION

A scene from Carousel, 1958 (5)

Photo Courtesy of Kingsley Wright

Method - scan Date - 2020

A scene from Carousel, 1958 (5)

Date: 1958

Record Number: HFC:2020:11

Those prepared to look beneath the surface, may well be rewarded to find in Carousel, the most thoughtfully moral musical of the century'. TAODS production of Carousel was performed at City Hall between November 10th-15th 1958. Production and Chreography was by Mavis Ward, Musical Director was by G. Trehane Collins, Ballet Mistress Vera Gatley and Chorus Mistress, Gladys Hiley.

Method - scan Date - 2020

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A chorus line up, 1958

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Postcard Memories - Musical Memory

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Memories of the City Hall - TAODS

Joyce : when I joined TAODS there as a waiting list to be a dancer.  They only had 12 dancers and you had to be over 16.  I was 15 when I joined and had just turned 16 when the show was staged in September.  We loved performing in City Hall. Our shows were very popular, especially our plays and the carolaire where there was always a great atmosphere. We also used it for other events – one year we were staging Carousel and held an Autumn Fair in the Hall . We managed to get hold of a proper carousel and put it in the hall for the fair – we made a lot of money that year.   Keith 2 : I joined TAODS because I wanted to chat up Joyce who was already a member there.   Keith 2 : the guttering was inside the back of the building. When it rained you could hear the water running along back stage.  There was also a metal bar at the top of the stage area to keep the pigeons out – they made a lot of noise and you could hear them when the performances were taking place.   Chris : there was always dancing at City Hall – there was a different band every Saturday night and famous people like Victor Sylvester came to Truro.   Joyce : there were also professional pantomimes at City Hall – one year Alan Gale staged a panto.  Keith 2 : when I was stage manager I had a crew of about 9 or 10 people . They were a wonderful team. We sometimes had up to 22 back cloths for a show which had to be changed. We built a gantry and had women up there who would lower down the cloths. It was a hectic time but a great time.   Keith 1 : there was a corridor at the back of the stage which had a cast iron stair case.  When I was the call boy I used to go down the stairs whistling and singing to let people know I was coming as it was a very popular place for a quick snog.  

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Memories of City Hall Annex - TAODS

Keith 1 : the annexe was used a lot for different things, including rehearsals for the main shows.  One Saturday evening we had a singing rehearsal in the annexe. There had been a caged bird show in building next door and the birds tried to join n the singing.  

Chris : it used to be used for teas for the cast between the matinees and the main evening show. On the last night everyone on the stage would be presented with a gift and during that day families would be coming in with presents which were stored in the annexe until after the final performance had ended.  

Keith 1 : we also entertained it to entertain other societies from across Cornwall. We also went to other places.   

Keith 2  : when you had a show which was very popular you would open up the annexe as well – there was restricted views but it let more people in.  

Joyce : there was a proper bar in the annexe  

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Memories of Cecil Gill -TAODS

Joyce : My father Cecil Gill , known as “Cec’, did the sound for all TAODS productions for more than 50 years.  He owned an electrical shop in Pydar Street and as well as doing the sound for TAODS, also provided the sound for key events in Truro, such as the Mayor Making and the Fatstock shows via his van with speakers on the top.  

Keith 1 : Back then health and safety was not thought off and I remember having to climb up a ladder to the beam at the top of the stage and then having to shuffle on my bottom along the beam dragging electrical cables behind me while Cec was shouting instructions from below. Cec also used to go to the City Hall the night before ticket went on sale to supervise the people who were camping out.  

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Memories of Queueing for Tickets - TAODS

Joyce : Ann and Jill always used to camp out in front of the hall overnight before a show so they would first in the queue to buy them.   Keith 1 : eventually more people started queuing overnight and one day there was a big queue with dozens of people camping out to get the best tickets. It was a really rough night with wind and rain and they were all getting wet, cold and miserable when the caretaker opened up one of the dressing rooms so they could sleep inside.  

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Memories of Past Shows - TAODS

Keith 1 : I remember Joyce and Chris taking part in a performance of Kismet.  Along with another girl they were the “three princesses” and came out of baskets and did a dance on the stage.   Joyce – as we were all dressed in the same way the only way people could tell us apart was because “ I was the only one who had boobs”.   Chris : we did Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – that was a real wow – one of the best shows we ever did.   Joyce : we had professional artists such as make up artist Jules Martin and musicians come to help with the shows.  We had our own stewards and front of house people, people who did the wardrobes and worked back stage and a social committee who used to sell the programmes – the women always wore long dresses and the men wore dress suits.  The shows were opened by the Mayor   Keith 1 : It was always recognised that Truro had high standards – when we did Fiddler on the Roof one of the audience said “ I saw the original in London and this knocks it into a cocked hat”   Keith 2 : a man called Les painted the flat for us – he was amazing. One time he did a back cloth of Truro Cathedral which became fluorescent when it was flooded with UV lighting – that got a round of applause in the middle of the show.   Ros : I loved the carolaires – they were such happy times.  Bill White played while the audience was coming in.   Chris : we had some wonderful MD’s – Harry Jordon, known as the ‘lady chaser’, and Hubert who used to banter with a Truro lawyer. They had great rapport with the audience.  

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Memories of Last Night Antics - TAODS

Keith 2 : We never did anything to damage the show but we did have some fun on the last night At the end of our production of the Sound of Music Johnny Moon went up the mountain with the children. It was an amazing sight. On the last night we put stage weights into his bag to make it heavier.  On another night we were doing a plan in which people had to bring a trunk onto the stage. It was usually empty but on the last night we filled it with concrete blocks and other items from below the stage.   Keith 1 : during the performance of the Vagabond King the rogue has to run away and jump into a vat of red wine.  On the last night the inside of the barrel was lined with holly – he was wearing tights and a short tunic and the language was interesting.  Chris : on one last night Anne was due to be presented with a plate of food during the play – on the last night someone got two pigs eye from the butchers and put them with the food on the plate. When she lifted the lid off the plate she had to try not to laugh.   Joyce : we were a family – back stage / front of house – we were all a family.  

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Memories of Moving to Redannick Theatre - TAODS

Keith 2 : we miss the City Hall – we had been told that the Hall For Cornwall would be a hall for the whole of Cornwall – but amateur societies cannot afford to use it. We have lost out . Redannick Theatre is much smaller which means we cannot put on the same kind of shows  it is not the same ….. we had some wonderful years and made lots of money for charity.   Joyce : the shows were the highlight of our year and the highlight of the audience’s years – they were happy days and we miss them. The society has gone down to a small number – we have lost our young people. We did everything to the best of our ability – and it is a great shame.  

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Memories of The City Hall & Hall for Cornwall - The Heart of Things

Before I moved down to Cornwall in 1964, I lived in Honor Oak in London. From the road I lived on, which was on a main bus route, we could see Big Ben - we were right in the heart of things – you could get anything you liked any time you liked. After I left school, I worked at Westminster for a while and then at Worth’s Fashion House. When my husband got a job teaching science at Truro School, we moved to Penelewey, which was - at the time - just a handful of houses, even fewer than there are now. Where we’d have busses running all day in Honor Oak, there was one bus a day now and I thought ‘what one earth have I come to?’ My husband died thirty years ago now and it was after he died that I heard about this place called Hall for Cornwall. It was a new thing for me. It was close and it was affordable. I discovered something there that grabbed me by the heart. One year I went to see something there every week – marine bands, plays, opera, comedy, dancing – anything they had on. The man on the security desk said to me he was thinking about calling Securicor for me, I’d bought that many tickets, and they told me by the end of the year, they thought I’d pretty much bought Row F! I remember seeing one comedy group which was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I laughed so hard it was painful and the man sitting next to me couldn’t stay in his chair he was laughing so much. I remember thinking I need a break from this. It’s strange, I’ve forgotten what they were called now, but I’ll never forget laughing that hard, not ever. It was a change from life, seeing something so different. I was able to feel I was supporting people who were doing creative things while I was doing it. A special place it is, right in the heart of things.

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Memories of 'Bits & Pieces'

I always liked singing when I was young. I used to sing in school at playtime and we had little shows outside the back of our house, by the garage, put a dress on and act and stuff – it was our own entertainment. I used to love tap dancing, but you had to pay for the lessons and we could never have afforded them. We just didn’t have the money for it and those things were out of reach for us. I wanted to be in a dramatic show, but I always felt they were too posh for me, so I never even tried for one. There was one show – Bits and Pieces it was called - there was a comedian and singers, dancing, different things on. There was a woman who was supposed to sing, but she was taken ill and they said, well could you do it, Joan? I said, I don’t know but I’ll give it a go. I remember having a photograph taken of me in a lovely dress – it was green, a satin dress. I was a poor singer though. In the end I sang ‘Blue Moon’ first and then I sang that old Irish song ‘I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen’. I’d never been on the stage before and they threw me right in at the deep end. I couldn’t run fast enough. I stuck it out though. Oh, I will take you back, Kathleen To where your heart will feel no pain And when the fields are fresh and green I'll take you to your home again!

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Karen Pirie Podcast Episode 1: Debbie McCrory

The first podcast in a micro-series, commissioned by Hall For Cornwall with journalist Karen Pirie. In the first episode, hear from BBC Radio Cornwall DJ and former Front Of House Manager Debbie McCrory. Listen to her tales of scandal, intrigue and backstage gossip with a whole host of stars who have graced Hall For Cornwall's stage over the years. Series recorded pre-Covid.

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Karen Pirie Podcast Episode 2: Ed Rowe, Simon Harvey & Richard Healey

The second podcast in a micro-series, commissioned by Hall For Cornwall with journalist Karen Pirie. In the second episode, hear from an impressive trio who frequently work together at Hall For Cornwall. Actor Ed Rowe, Director Simon Harvey and musical director Richard Healey. Hear their discussion of their hopes for the future of the theatre, what they enjoy about working together and what Cornwall can offer by way of support for the creative industries. Series recorded pre-Covid.

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Karen Pirie Podcast Episode 3: Julien Boast & Sue Ferguson

The third podcast in a micro-series, commissioned by Hall For Cornwall with journalist Karen Pirie. In the third episode, Karen interviews Hall For Cornwall CEO Julien Boast and theatre advocate and loyal friend of the theatre, Sue Ferguson. Hear their thoughts on the transformation of the hall and exciting plans for the future. Series recorded pre-Covid.

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Dick Whittington & His Cat poster

The poster is good example of theatre and design trends of the time. Full-colour and eyecatching with a focus on bold type of varying sizes, the poster was set and printed by G & Organ. G & M Organ were a highly prolific organisation specialising in wooden typographic design based in Bristol and known their work in producing theatre posters for theatres across the United Kingdom.

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Jack & The Beanstalk poster

The poster is good example of theatre and design trends of the time. Full-colour and eyecatching with a focus on bold type of varying sizes, the poster was set and printed by G & Organ. G & M Organ were a highly prolific organisation specialising in wooden typographic design based in Bristol and known their work in producing theatre posters for theatres across the United Kingdom.

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Summer Show handbill, City Hall

A selection of handbills pasted up on the walls backstage in the building at different times. The handbills, posters and cast lists were pasted on top of each other and left to fade away as new posters were added. Each poster shows changes in acts booked to perform at the hall, the changing tastes of the public and indeed the changing name of the building. It is alternately named as City Hall and its earlier name, the Regent Theatre within the posters. In-house bands such as the City Hall Trio are also named.

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A collection of handbills

A selection of handbills pasted up on the walls backstage in the building at different times. The handbills, posters and cast lists were pasted on top of each other and left to fade away as new posters were added. Each poster shows changes in acts booked to perform at the hall, the changing tastes of the public and indeed the changing name of the building. It is alternately named as City Hall and its earlier name, the Regent Theatre within the posters. In-house bands such as the City Hall Trio are also named.

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A handbill advertising Babes In The Wood pantomime performance at the 'Regent Truro'

A selection of handbills pasted up on the walls backstage in the building at different times. The handbills, posters and cast lists were pasted on top of each other and left to fade away as new posters were added. Each poster shows changes in acts booked to perform at the hall, the changing tastes of the public and indeed the changing name of the building. It is alternately named as City Hall and its earlier name, the Regent Theatre within the posters. In-house bands such as the City Hall Trio are also named.

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Robert Moreton at City Hall

A selection of handbills pasted up on the walls backstage in the building at different times. The handbills, posters and cast lists were pasted on top of each other and left to fade away as new posters were added. Each poster shows changes in acts booked to perform at the hall, the changing tastes of the public and indeed the changing name of the building. It is alternately named as City Hall from 1926 and its earlier name, the Regent Theatre within the posters. In-house bands such as the City Hall Trio are also named.

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Close up of Regent Theatre handbills

A selection of handbills pasted up on the walls backstage in the building at different times. The handbills, posters and cast lists were pasted on top of each other and left to fade away as new posters were added. Each poster shows changes in acts booked to perform at the hall, the changing tastes of the public and indeed the changing name of the building. It is alternately named as City Hall from 1926 and its earlier name, the Regent Theatre within the posters. In-house bands such as the City Hall Trio are also named.

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Babes In The Wood handbill

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Ticket, Angus & Julia Stone

Angus & Julia Stone are an Australian folk pop band. Also performing on stage in 2014 were acts including Ruby Wax, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Suzanne Vega and The Gruffalo.

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Fleamarkets at City Hall

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Dancers On Stage

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Paint Your Wagon

Paint Your Wagon centres on the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th Century. Joining the many crews of minors, each hoping to strike gold, the plot focuses on the lives of a small group of colourful individuals on their journey to success and possible fortune.

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TAODS Ensemble I

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TAODS Ensemble II

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TAODS Ensemble III

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TAODS Ensemble IV

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Stage Set at City Hall

City Hall and Hall For Cornwall are a receiving house. This means that they programme in touring shows and acts who largely bring their own stage sets, props and costumes, leaving lighting, sound and projections to be provided by the hall's equipment.

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The Hall by Callum Mitchell

Commissioned as part of Hall For Cornwall's Transformation, Callum Mitchell's lyrical poetry and turn of phrase weaves an impactful portrayal of the arts in Cornwall and the role that the theatre has to elevate, support and create alongside this regional talent.

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Without You, There Is No Us, Callum Mitchell

Commissioned during the Covid-pandemic of 2020, Hall For Cornwall Associate Artist, poet Callum Mitchell prepared a dialogue and accompanying animation detailing the importance of interconnectedness for creativity and sustainability within heritage projects. He asks specifically for people to donate their memories of Hall For Cornwall to the Revealing City Hall project.

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Windy Pig

Windy the squeaky pig puppet is a prop created especially for the 2016 pantomime run of Jack & The Beanstalk, produced by Hall For Cornwall. He comes complete with his own bed and wicker basked for transportation!

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Windy Detail

Windy the squeaky pig puppet is a prop created especially for the 2016 pantomime run of Jack & The Beanstalk, produced by Hall For Cornwall. He comes complete with his own bed and wicker basked for transportation!

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The opening of Hall For Cornwall

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The Curious Incident Of The Dog in the Night-Time Programme

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Jeeves & Wooster Programme

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The Woman in Black Programme

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