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Magical place.

THIS photo of Oozells Street School in 1974 was taken by Constance Coles and I thank her and her daughter, Margaret Corless. Not long afterwards the tower was knocked down.

It was rebuilt during the development of Brindleyplace. The advertisement suggests that the building was then being used for the Costume Hire by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. On the left is Pantomime House.

This had been a treasure trove of theatrical costumes, props and sets that had been established by the impresario Emile Littler.

He had been appointed manager of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1931 and three years later struck out on his own, when he produced Aladdin at the Prince of Wales on Broad Street. The pantomime was a roaring success and thenceforth Emile Littler was acclaimed as the panto king.

With the destruction of the 'Prince of Wales' in the Blitz, he was forced to look outside the city for venues but it remained the centre of his back-stage operations.

Opened by at least 1940, Pantomime House in Oozells Street was a magical place. It was where all the scenery, props and wardrobes were sent when the various pantomimes produced by Emile Littler finished in February each year.

Fifty wardrobe women made and repaired dresses and sewed on millions of sequins under the watchful eyes of Mrs P L 'Physhe' Wright. The workforce also included ten carpenters who made the sets and two women who painted them.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 6, 2011
Words:240
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