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Barrie’s Birthday!

November 4, 2013

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Petrina Derrington, Barrie Stacey & Simon Bashford

Barrie Stacey, legendary producer, performer and author celebrated his 87th Birthday at the CAA in London on Sunday. If it wasn’t for Barrie, I would never have met and worked with Peter Robbins and enjoyed an amazing nearly thirty years of panto fun and laughs.

Barrie it was that suggested that I should meet up with Peter when he heard I was planning to play Ugly Sister for the first time. He even managed to put Peter & I together in a days filming for a lager commercial. We were both Gin & Tonic lads, so the lager stayed untouched for eight hours, but at the end of it we had made a decision that was to last twenty nine years! Thank you SO much Mr Stacey!

It was Barrie who asked Peter & I to extend our “Sister” rapport in his touring productions of “Hansel & Gretel”, “Pinocchio” and “The Wonderful Wizard Of OZ” to name but a few. Along the way we got the huge joy of working with Barrie, with his lifetime partner Keith “Appy!” Hopkins, and the likes of Sue Hodge, Russell Grant,David Carter, Andrew Ryan, Laura Nayman, Taryn Kaye, Jo Castleton, Adrian and Helen Jeckells, Julie Fox, Jay Marcus, Lucy Lavelle,Sarah Whitlock, Claire Cunliffe, Michael Garland and so many jolly people, all part of Barrie’s”Stable”!

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At the CAA tonight the room reflected Barrie’s delight in people. He loves people, and revells in the buzz of a crowd. Although Andrew (Ryan) and I had only an hour to celebrate with the Birthday Boy- we had to set off for Wolverhampton and the Panto Roadshow- we managed to chat briefly to Keith, Barrie and Adrian Jeckells. Paul Holman was there- a long long friend of Mr Stacey, as was Chris Hare, and John & Jim Lavelle, along with Audrey Laybourne, Anne Emery , Pamela Cundell, Audrey Maye (Howe),and a host of theatrical ladies, many of whom have worked with Barrie over the years.

The amazing and vibrant Joan Hall was there, a spry 94 year old. She told me about her panto debut in 1936. How incredible and how honoured to be listening to those words! She told an anecdote about a “Babes In The Wood” at the Theatre Royal Newcastle that made me determined that Joan should get some of her stories down on what we used to call tape! Her great mate Chris Hayward will be called upon to make certain we get to hear her stories, hopefully here in IBY. What an incredible lady. She and Barrie just prove the power of “The Business” in pointing two fingers at “old age”.

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Andrew Ryan & Adrian Jeckells

He still lives right in the very heart of London’s West End, and is still presenting shows- recently at Lewisham and at Ilford. His Judy Garland Songbook, featuring Barrie was there a few weeks ago. Barrie must be, I’m pretty certain, the oldest producing management in the United Kingdom.. Maybe even the world? Certainly he is one of the stars of the West End, and like everyone else there, we were delighted to celebrate his special day!

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Julie Fox, Sarah Whitlock, Nigel Ellacott & Jay Marcus

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Many Happy Returns Barrie! Eighty Seven and going strong! Here’s to more wonderful stories and fun and laughter!

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