Scenes Of City's Funny Girl
Cassandra Stone, now company secretary of the
Nottingham Arts Theatre, has contributed so much
to the theatre over many years.
She freely admits she has done just about
everything: acting, singing, wardrobe, ticket
sales, coffee bar etc.
She and her sister, Julia Hull, who sang with the
theatre's opera group, made their first stage
appearances at St Jude's Church, Mapperley, when
Cassandra was about six.
It was in their genes. Grandmother had been on
stage at the Nottingham Hippodrome and her
grandfather had also briefly been an actor.
Nothing - except courage - could have prepared
Cassandra for one of her recent and memorable
roles at the theatre.... as the Stripper in The
Graduate, complete with tassles!
In a fond and funny look back at a memorable time
at the theatre, in shows with Su Pollard,
Cassandra recalls: "My only claim to fame is
that I was behind Su Pollard in the 'Hup, two,
three, four' cross by the nurses in the 1960s
production of South Pacific.
"It was my first show. We had learned all
the songs and Jeff Bowley, the producer, was
setting the scene.
"Hey up" she said "What's your
name? I'm Su.
"At that time, she had the most beautiful,
long, blonde plait and, from what I remember,
wore relatively normal clothes, a nice lilac coat
and a boater hat, when out round Nottingham. She
looked like the rest of us.
"The next year she got the lead in the
Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg, playing Kathy.
"That must have been the turning point,
because, for some inexplicable reason, she had
cropped her hair short, just when two Teutonic
plaits would have been absolutely spot-on for the
"She played opposite Paul Greensmith as the
Prince and I recall her standing on a table in
the cafe scene, effortlessly reaching top C as
the motley crew of 'students' (not one under 30)
marched round the stage.
"That was when the wonderfully eccentric
clothes started to appear. This was after all the
"She caught her bus on Derby Road near the
Cathedral. The Jaeger Shop was next door. John
Pierrepont worked there and she took delight in
gesticulating wildly to him through the window in
ever more bizarre clothes as he was trying to
take the inside leg measurements of sedate,
middle class gentlemen.
"A year later she played Henrietta in Robert
and Elizabeth, by Ron Grainger, a much-underrated
British musical of the life of Robert Browning
and Elizabeth Barrett.
"Henrietta, Elizabeth's sister, is
hopelessly in love with Captain Surtees Cooke,
played in full regimentals (this was the
sixties!) by John Constable. I can remember the
costumes came with the names of the London cast
written inside them: June Bronhill, John
Clements, Jeremy Lloyd, Angela Richards.
"I'd seen the show in London and loved it,
so I couldn't wait to be in the chorus anywhere.
"However, in the interim Su had played one
of the women trapped in Lorca's The House of
"There was nothing musical or comic in that
play and Su was brilliant.
"The following year, we did My Fair Lady and
again Su was in the chorus. I can recollect that
the costumes for the Ascot scene came terribly
crumpled after their journey from Berman's and I
don't remember Su ever ironing hers! Perhaps the
creases fell out as the week progressed.
"The next show, we both auditioned for was
Oklahoma!. She got the part of Ado Annie. Who
else could have played it? "And if I
remember rightly, she wore the same gingham dress
from our wardrobe when she sang I'm Just a Girl
Who Cain't Say No on Opportunity Knocks (for the
under 40s that was the Britain's Got Talent of
"And the rest, as they say, is history.
She came second in the finals to a singing dog!
But she was on her way...."
16th October 2010