Sixty years on and old school friends Frances Allen and Anne Bradbury are treading the boards again.
They are pictured back on the same stage on which they appeared as 12-year-olds in Cinderella over Christmas and New Year 1952-53. For both it was their first time back at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, since those festive appearances.
Frances and Anne were classmates at Westloats School, Bognor Regis, and both were members of the Marjorie Moore School of Dancing in the town.
And that’s how they were selected to appear as part of the Beams Juveniles troupe in the panto.
Anne, 72, says: ‘It was hugely exciting and the first time either of us had been away from home.’
‘We got permission from the education authority to be taken out of school for six weeks.’
And Frances, 71, adds: ‘We had digs somewhere in Southsea, but I can’t remember where it was. We spent Christmas Day with a Mrs Bow(e) whose daughter Monica was also in the dance group.’
The dancing duo had lost touch for decades until they met again at a school reunion 50 years on.
That brought back memories of their Kings appearances and they wrote to the theatre asking if they could be shown around.
Anne adds: ‘It’s wonderful to be back and the old place has hardly changed.’