For this week’s #MondayMemories we turn to Cindy Rumley who took a job as an usherette at Poole Arts Centre in 1986.  A few years later she photographed the panto dress rehearsal. 

“It started informally but the producer soon gave me the regular job of doing a collection to go backstage for the artists. I also took whatever opportunity I could to photograph any performer who agreed and have built up quite a collection.

When working on stage door I would sometimes pluck up courage to ask the performers for photos. Timothy West and Prunella Scales asked me to call them a taxi and, as luck would have it, it was late arriving. After calling them again I took the opportunity to ask for a photograph while they waited. The result was a lovely photo with her head resting on his shoulder.

To me, the most exciting encounter was with Richard Todd. I’d fallen in love with him at the age of ten – I can’t remember if it was Robin Hood, The Sword and the Rose or Rob Roy that I saw first – but in my mind he was a Hollywood star and there was no way I’d ever meet him. So, to find he was coming to Poole was really beyond my wildest dreams! I took a couple of photos and left copies in his pigeonhole backstage. He wrote me a lovely letter to say thank you. Somehow I never doubted that he would. A real gentleman.

I photographed the Queen when she came to reopen Lighthouse but, in my excitement, just missed Prince Philip. I also saw Princess Diana when she came. That was a lovely occasion but, alas, no photograph.  nd I never got to catch David Essex – he kept sneaking out by the wrong door!” 


Photos by Cindy Rumley

Published 13 July 2020