Home > Memories > Vi Godfrey Carr – From Portable Days

Vi Godfrey Carr – From Portable Days

From portable DaysVi Godfrey Carr began her theatrical career as a baby and it almost ended during the Second World War when she lay across an unexploded bomb, in the wreckage of a cinema.  In this fascinating memoir, she recalls life in the Portable and Fit Up theatres – travelling companies which, in the days before cinema and television, took entertainment to the rural areas.

Her mother, a Northumbrian girl with a beautiful voice, ran away to London and married George Austin Knox, member of an old theatrical family. In the 1890’s the Austins started their own Portable Theatre in Durham which they took, with great success, to mining communities all over the North east. As well as acting, troupers had to sing, dance, play instruments, change scenery and care for the horses which provided the transport.

Vi married another popular entertainer, Will Godfrey, and for many years they acted together. During the war, they were with ENSA, the organisation which provided entertainment for the troops, playing while bombs fell in Birmingham and Coventry. Finally, they returned to Ushaw Moor, Co. Durham. She has contributed too many television and radio programmes.

From a book “From portable Days” by Violet Godfrey Carr – A Personal Account of Life in the Theatre as told to Neil McNicholas.

Foreword by Roy Hudd

### Anyone remember the Portable Theatre, hard to imagine with the entertainment of now, this must have been such a thrill for the hard working miners of the time.

I managed to get a copy of this book,,, very interesting,, available on Amazon.

Paul Clough

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  1. noodles29
    September 25, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I well remember Mr & Mrs Godfrey as they were known to us kids. Mr Godfrey was the manager of the Club Hall Cinema next to the Big Club on Station Road. I had no idea they had a theatrical background and the family background was so colourful. It must have been a big step from appearing in live theatre to being manager of the Club Hall cinema. I think Bill (as he was known) and Vi are both buried in the graveyard at St. Josephs in Ushaw Moor. Brian Mc.

  2. Sheila Hall
    September 29, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I remember Violet (or Auntie Violet) as she was known to me. My friends and I occasionally visited her after school to see if she needed any shopping – or just to say hello. I think she lived in Flass Avenue. She was a lovely lady – very glamorous and theatrical as I recall.

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