Music Hall


This section of the website includes information on music hall artistes who performed at The Players' Theatre in the past - as well as those who are still delighting us today. Over the decades, the Players' stage has been graced with an astonishing host of talented performers. The late Peter Ustinov made his London debut in a Players' performance. Clive Dunn and John le Mesurier ('Dad's Army') were regulars, as were Hattie Jacques and Maggie Smith ('Downton Abbey' and countless major films).

Peter Greenwell

Michael Kirk

Mark Walsh

Mark appears all over the World in Theatre shows and in Cabaret. In recent years he has become a regular guest on BBC Radio 2 on the long running programme 'Friday Night is Music Night'
Born in London in 1986 Mark has been working on stage from the age of 8. His first professional engagement was given to him by the legendary Danny La Rue and the two worked together for many years.
Mark is regarded as one of the finest ukulele players in the world today. He has appeared with some of our greatest stars including Dame Barbara Windsor, Dame June Whitfield and the late Danny La Rue. Mark and Danny La Rue were great friends and Mark appeared in Danny’s tribute show at the World Famous London Palladium. Since 2012 Mark has been a regular guest performer on BBC Radio’s “Friday Night is Music Night” with live shows coming from the Hackney Empire London.
Mark also travels the UK as a speaker giving talks on his theatrical career, the history of music hall and variety, and on the iconic BBC Sitcom ‘Dad’s Army’.

David Wykes

Ross Tomlinson

Todd Clifton

Ben Stock

As well as West End, touring and regional musicals and plays including GREASE, HELLO DOLLY, STEPPING OUT, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG and NOEL AND GERTIE, Ben has appeared in music hall with The Players', Hiss and Boo, The Paper Moon Theatre Company and City Varieties.

He is a regular Ugly Sister in CINDERELLA for QDOS and his one man shows have played his London, New York across the UK and Kuala Lumpur. His solo album is also available through iTunes and his website


Leonard Sachs

John Styles

Julia Sutton

Julia Sutton is an English actress and singer.

She appeared in the film Half a Sixpence, the second series of Albert and Victoria, Upstairs, Downstairs, Dixon of Dock Green, and Father Brown.

Sutton has appeared on stage as Nancy in Oliver!, Mme. Dindon in La Cage aux Folles Hortense in Martin Guerre (1995) and as The Bird Women in Mary Poppins (2004–05) and Sister Mary Lazarus in Sister Act the Musical at The London Palladium. She appeared in the TV musical Pickwick for the BBC in 1969. She has also made many appearances on BBC TV's The Good Old Days.

Paul Smith

Paul is a musician and musical director who has played played regularly at The Players' for several years. He often appears alongside Carolyn Allen, with whom he also puts on shows under the name Opera Tottie.

Paul began his career playing for cabaret all over Europe and America. He has worked as musical director in the West End on Godspell, Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Oklahoma!, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at the National Theatre, Paint Your Wagon, The Tempest and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in Regents Park and Howard Goodall's musical Days of Hope.

Paul enjoyed three years as Danny La Rue’s MD on stage and television as well as MD for Ronnie Corbett and Anthony Newly.

His concert work has taken him all over the world playing and conducting for Pam Ayres, Sheila Steafel, Janie Dee and the late great Dame Hilda Bracket.

Laurence Payne

Jim McManus

Martin Milnes

Marie Lloyd

Marie Lloyd - 1870-1922

Marie Lloyd was an English music hall singer, comedienne and musical theatre actress during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was best known for her performances of songs such as "The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery", "My Old Man (Said Follow the Van)" and "Oh Mr Porter What Shall I Do". She received both criticism and praise for her use of innuendo and double entendre during her performances, and enjoyed a long and prosperous career, during which she was affectionately called the "Queen of the Music Hall".

Katie Milton

Katie Milton is Creative Programmer at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch and produces musical shows including Musicals, Jazz, Opera, short plays and encourages talent in the local community. She performs in regular musical evenings called A Musical Celebration, amongst an eclectic programme of work in the Foyer. Most recently, she devised a cabaret show called Famous Songs by Famous Ladies, with fellow performers Caroline Fields, Jan Hunt and musical director David Carter. Katie also produces and performs an in-house music hall at the Queen’s Theatre to great acclaim.

She belongs to the Concert Artistes Association and the British Music Hall Association and is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

Charles Miller

Charles Miller has many years' experience as a director and composer. His musicals include 'No-one in the World', which has played three seasons at the Cochrane Theatre, as well as a successful run off Broadway. His highly acclaimed 'When Midnight Strikes' has been nominated for Best Musical in the Off West End Awards

Peter John

One of the undisputed music hall “greats” of our generation, Peter John has been honoured with the British Music Hall Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born in Liverpool, Peter John trained at RADA and was one of the founder members of the National Theatre Company, performing in Olivier’s original Othello. Moving into music hall, he appeared in many specialist music hall and variety shows. He was one of the regular performers at Vincent Hayes’ pub, the Lord Hood in the 1980’s and was one of the first to appear on stage at the newly opened Brick Lane Music Hall in Brick Lane in 1992. Peter has appeared in more than 30 pantomimes, famously performing dame at The City Varieties, Leeds, for many years.

In recent years Peter has concentrated on music hall and variety and is a regular performer in music hall shows all over the country.

Dominic Le Foe

Hattie Jacques

Lisa Hull

Lisa Hull trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

She began her career at the Players’ Theatre, and her first major role was playing Charlie in ‘Charlie Girl’ at the Victoria Palace Theatre, alongside legendary screen star Cyd Charisse. She next played Cosette in ‘Les Miserables’ at the Palace Theatre during which time she was chosen to sing the role in an excerpt for the Royal Command Performance. Lisa then played Christine in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ at Her Majesty’s Theatre, and was thrilled to be asked to play the part when it premiered at the Opera House, Manchester.

Between these West End blockbusters came various other roles such as Cinderella in ‘Into the Woods’ at Leicester Haymarket, Girl 1 in ‘Songbook’ at the Watermill Theatre, Alice in ‘Bless the Bride’ at Sadlers’ Wells, Emmot in ‘Eyam’ at The Fire Station, Lisa in ‘Three Divas’ at Jermyn Street Theatre, Sonia in ‘Godspell’ at the Barbican Hall, and countless pantomimes here, there, and everywhere.(behind you!) In 2012 she appeared in the blockbuster film ‘Les Miserables’ (oh, the stories she could tell……)

Lisa has been support artiste on tour with Michael Ball, and appeared as a soloist in the VE Day celebration concert in Hyde Park. She has performed her one-woman show in such diverse venues as Pizza on the Park, Palm Beach Casino, The Green Room, and Little Missenden Village Hall!

Loraine Hart

Loraine can be heard signing She's a lassie from Lancashire on Players CD 1.

Jan Hunt

Jan Hunt's versatility has given her the opportunity to perform in pantomime, West End musicals, music hall, cabaret, film, radio and TV, where she was affectionately known for many years as the Crackerjack Girl. Her long association with the Players' Theatre led to many appearances on The Good Old Days and she received great acclaim as the lead role in The Life Story of Marie Lloyd. As a producer with Classic Comedy Productions, Jan has recently co-produced number one UK tours of Dinnerladies, Keeping Up Appearances, Rising Damp and most recently Birds of a Feather.

Marilyn Hill Smith

Judith Hibbert

Judith Hibbert was a regular artiste at The Players' Theatre and twice toured America with them. She has worked extensively in TV, theatre, musicals, cabaret and pantomime and revue on the Edinburgh Fringe. Judith now tours with her own highly successful one-woman show.

Clive Greenwood

Lola Gibbard

Sorcha Finch-Murray

Florrie Forde

Andy Eastwood

Andy Eastwood belongs to the generation of artists who are bringing variety entertainment into the 21st century.Andy's specialities are the ukulele, ukulele-banjo, violin and guitar, and in a high-energy, upbeat stage act, he combines his showmanship and personality with remarkable vocal and instrumental artistry.

Andy has won the acclaim of the public and critics alike, in theatre, cabaret, radio and television.

Clive Dunn

Clive Robert Benjamin Dunn OBE (9 January 1920 – 6 November 2012) was an English actor, comedian, artist, author, and singer.

His first professional stage role was as a 72-year-old man when he himself was still a teenager, and it led to a highly successful career appearing almost exclusively as dotty old gents, notably Dad's Army's Corporal Jones, roles he once joked that he was destined to play due to his skinny, bandy legs.

These characters always had more than a whiff of music hall about them, hardly surprising given Dunn's theatrical heritage. His grandfather was a music hall comedian, while his own father Bobby Dunn was a singer and raconteur who toured theatres, mostly the seaside variety, alongside his wife Connie Clive, a successful comedienne.
He was best known as Lance-Corporal Jones, the zealous old soldier in the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army celebrated for the catchphrases "Don’t panic!" and "They don’t like it up ’em!".

Clive was a regular performer at the Players', where he perfected a routine based on his collection of 'doddery old codgers'.

He can be heard singing 'My Old Dutch' on Players' CD 2.

Johnny Dennis

The late Johnny Dennis had a long association with the Players' Theatre, making numerous appearances over the years, as both a performer and Chairman.

Johnny's many acting talents gave him the opportunity to work with stars such as Sirs Michael Gambon and Anthony Hopkins and on film with Elizabeth Taylor.

Johnny also worked as a cricket announcer and was popularly known as the 'Voice of Lord's'. Read his obituary on the Lord's website here

Philip Day

Philip has appeared in Music Hall all over the country with Miss Jan Hunt’s Magnificent Music Hall and the Players Theatre London. His other work includes major West End Shows, performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and television appearances including The Bill and The Lavender List. Philip has also appeared in the film White Mischief and recorded many musicals as a sessions singer for That’s Entertainment Records.

Geoffrey Brawn

Geoffrey Brawn was a musician and musical director who appeared many times at the Players' from the 1960s to the 1990s. He was born on January 31, 1935 in Kendal, Westmorland, England as Geoffrey Christopher Brawn. He is known for his work on A Little of What You Fancy (1968), It's Ragtime! (1969) and The Good Old Days (1953). He died on May 13, 2018.

Detailed credits include:

Musical arranger of the 1968 film 'A Little of What You Fancy' - a documentary following the history of British Music Hall, its stars and architecture.

1996 adaptation and directorship of F.C. Burnand's original 1862 pantomime "Robin Hood, or The Forester's Fate," performed at the Players' Theatre with Heather Tracy, Vikki Alexander, Clifton Todd, Robert Meadwell, Michael Chance, Tim Godwin, and Kate Alice Woodbridge in the cast.

1995 adaptation and directorship of J.R. Planche's original 1840 pantomime "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood," performed at the Players' Theatre with Robert Meadwell, Donald Francke, Clifton Todd, Loraine Hart, Karen Broughton, Alison Connell, Michael Chance, Jonathan Ball, Peter Wedd, and Helene Witcombe in the cast.

Geoffrey can be heard on the piano in Players CD 1.

Telegraph obituary

Dave Blyth

Talent: Magician and ventriloquist
First appearance at the Players': Eve of the Eve, December 30th 2013

Frith Banbury

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