Maurice Poole, one of the leading authorities and collector of Windmill Theatre memorabilia, will discuss the history and importance of The Windmill Theatre as well as introduce a rare 1969 documentary and display a collection of colour photographs taken in the early 1940s (taken by the House manager at the time). Also in attendance, two original Windmill Dancers, who will be on-hand for Q&A.
Purchased in 1930 by Laura Henderson and managed by Vivian van Damm (she left the theatre to him after her death in 1944, although van Damm went on to call Mrs. Henderson ‘a great strain on one’s nerves’ in his 1952 memoir), the theatre produced some memorable and elaborate revues. Famed for pioneering tableaux vivants of motionless female nudity (‘if you moved, it’s rude’), The Windmill Theatre was never closed during even the worst times of the Blitz. The phrase ‘we never closed’ quickly and jokingly turned into “we never clothed’ and the theatre went on to thrive during the war.
The theatre was inherited by van Damm’s daughter after his death in 1960 only to close in 1964 and reopen as a cinema. After a decade showing films, the theatre was then reopened as a club by famed impresario Paul Raymond and thrived in the 1970s, only to close for a second time in 1981.
Monday, Feb 6th
Sanctum Hotel, 20 Warwick Street, private cinema downstairs
£5 members, £10 non-members