David Buckle, age 76, patron and past employee of the Grand Theatre

“In the early days when the war was on, of course, theatres were closed. And then eventually the government restriction was lifted and they tried to get people to the theatre. The evening performance used to start, as far as I can recall, at about half past six at night. The last bus was nine or half past nine. All the lights in the buses were camouflaged so that you couldn’t see out into the street. As a child who adored the theatre, it was absolutely magic. I can remember going to see things like The Desert Song and Rio Rita and was absolutely mesmerised when that curtain went up. Outside there was the blackout and it was very dark and only the radio to listen to. When we went to the theatre everyone dressed … the men would be in suits and ties, the ladies would always be in their best gowns and frocks. One has to realise that when the war was on there was so little to do. It was a night out.”

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