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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

It's panto season!

I've been browsing the British Newspaper Archives this week for mentions of my thespian grandparents – Ken Barton and Winifred Griffiths. Both of them spent at least some of their respective theatrical careers playing in pantomime, my grandfather invariably playing the dame (as you can see in the photo above).

My gran was trained as an opera singer but she left the operatic company she was working for when she realised that she could earn more money in repertory theatre. She travelled all over the country during which time she met my grandfather (I never knew him, he died in 1945) and they married in 1929.

In the 1930s they often performed together, as you can see from the cutting below about the panto Little Red Riding Hood in The Sunderland Echo in 1932 .

The photograph below was taken in 1927 before she married when she was performing in Babes in the Wood at the Birkenhead Hippodrone. This is particularly special because I have the actual newspaper clipping which she cut out and kept.

Apparently she's playing Maid Marion, though I have to confess that, given the costumes aren't exactly traditional Robin Hood style, I'm not absolutely sure which one she is!

Any suggestions?


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