Item of the Month

Boots for the Dame

Every Pantomime needs a dame and every dame needs a pair of boots. The Wirksworth Heritage Centre item of the month, this month, is a pair of dame’s boots belonging to Wirksworth’s own George Gough. George has been involved in numerous performances in Wirksworth, including writing, directing and starring in the Glee Club of Wirksworth’s production of Peter Pan. Taking his career further he studied Stage Management and Technical Theatre at Nottingham Trent University. Since then, George has worked as a Stage Manager both in London’s West End and around the UK.

These boots were presented to George as a memento of two very memorable performances of Beauty and the Beast at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham. Two sold out Christmas Eve performances were about to be cancelled due to the Dame and the understudy both being too ill to perform. George, then the assistant stage manager, jokingly offered to fill in the role. An hour and a shave later, George was running through his lines with other members of the cast whilst having his makeup applied. Despite not having rehearsed for the role the two performances were a success and George was offered the role of understudy for the dame for the rest of the pantomime’s run. He was presented with these boots by the dame as a thank you for allowing the show to go on.

George is currently working as Stage Manager on The Choir of Man in London’s West End. George’s boots along with other items from Georges career are currently on display at Wirksworth Heritage Centre as part of our Lights, Camera, Wirksworth Special Exhibition. This exhibition spotlights how Wirksworth has shaped the performing arts through the contribution of people from the town. It runs until late September.

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