My Story Memory: Shirley Wilton remembers seeing a young Julie Andrews perform for the first time
I have more than one memory. When the Theatre was called the Empire. As a ten year old girl I was present when Ted and Barbara Andrews performed their double act. Barbara on the piano and Ted singing. They then introduced their ten year old daughter Julie who was very thin and small and had to stand on a wooden box to sing in the mike with her step-father. She had the most amazingly powerful voice for her age, and that was her first performance in public. I also attended concerts where Vic Oliver and his orchestra performed, and also much later a ventriloquist called Saveen, whose autograph I have. When it became the Gaumont I worked as an ice cream seller there when the International Ballet performed. I was a singing student at the time studying in London. This Theatre could so easily have become a Bingo Hall when the Gaumont ceased to be. It was largely due to the efforts of Pam Sherborne who was Secretary of the Southampton Arts Council at the time. She walked the streets of Southampton obtaining signatures from every household she could in order to keep it going. She died of a brain tumour some years ago but I have always felt that some memorial for her is over due.