*Tacitus (c. AD 56 – c. 120)
“…My ‘local’ was the Wood Green Empire, one of Frank Matcham’s later (if not his last) designs. Pantomimes of course, and variety bills — and touring productions, e.g., The Quaker Girl. It became a TV studio for a while, but then was demolished, and replaced with a warehouse..”
“I was fortunate enough to work in most of the Moss Empires. The most stalwart employee of the circuit was the booker Cissie Williams. Her, ‘If your late it will be never’ mantra, still works for me today. I know for a fact that her rantings re punctuality still apply to my work ethic. The stage managers would have little black books supplied by Cissie in order to keep records of an artiste’s punctuality, performance, attitude etc. You daren’t do a minute more or less than your allocated time. With having two performances a night punctuality was of the essence.
My local theatre was the Nottingham Empire.”
The Jones Boy:
“(Dorothy Squires) approached us and told us that she wanted us to appear on a bill that she was presenting at Finsbury Park Empire some 3 weeks after. We told her that, although we were not working that week, it would not be possible for us to go to Finsbury Park Empire because our act had not been ‘passed’ by the head of booking – Cissy Williams. (Jokingly known to a lot of the comics around at that time as ‘Keep Death Off the Roads’) Dorothy blew her top, as she was prone to doing. She immediately got on the stage door telephone to The Moss Empires Booking Office and asked to speak to Cissy Williams. During quite a long tirade of colourful language she forcefully pointed out to CissyWilliams that she (Dorothy) was personally ‘presenting’ the show and she would include on HER bill whoever SHE wanted and slammed the telephone down. We did the week. As a result we were ‘passed’ by Cissy Williams to play the entire Empire Theatre circuit. Dorothy was indeed a real rough diamond, she even recommended us to Decca Records which resulted in a recording contract with them, we owed a great deal to Dorothy…I don’t think Cissy Williams dared to tangle with Dorothy ever again.
Adios Amigos. Bernie”