Worthing dance school seeks star pupil from 1950s for 80th anniversary

Glendale Theatre Arts principal Mandy Chapman would love to trace Ann White for the dance school's 80th anniversary
Glendale Theatre Arts principal Mandy Chapman would love to trace Ann White for the dance school's 80th anniversary

Glendale Theatre Arts is desperate to trace a former star pupil, ahead of the Worthing dance school’s 80th anniversary.

Principal Mandy Chapman has gathered a big group of past pupils for a celebration next month but is still missing a few favourites.

She said it was only by chance she realised this year was such a momentous occasion but having spotted the 1939 start date while going through old photos, she wanted to do something big to mark it.

Now, the race is on to track down Ann White, one of the star pupils from the 1950s.

Mandy said: “As a school, we are taking a trip down memory lane to celebrate our 80th anniversary, marking the occasion with a Glendale Big Anniversary cabaret-style reunion for pupils past and present on Sunday, July 14, at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing.

“We have ex-pupils flying in from all corners of the world, so are fully expecting there to be an abundance of dancing and singing, plus an opportunity to reminisce, laugh and have a good old chat.

“There will be displays of photos, uniforms and costumes relating to the past, as well as video footage and messages from those unable to attend.

“We would love to see any ex-Glendalians come along and help us celebrate. In particular, we would love to find Ann White, who was one of Wendy’s original star pupils. If anyone knows of her, please contact us, as we’d love to speak with her. It would be amazing if we could locate her in time for the big event.”

The dance school was founded by Mandy’s mum, Wendy Merson and over the years, its talented students have gone on to perform in West End shows, UK tours, world cruises and blockbuster films.

Mandy said: “Wendy was a true professional, who entered the world of showbusiness at the tender age of just 12. Her work highlights included dancing with the Victoria Girls and Billy Cotton’s Showband. Wendy continued her dance training in London and after moving to Worthing at the outbreak of the war, opened what is now Glendale Theatre Arts.”

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Mandy began dancing from the age of 11 months, won her first class at Worthing Music Festival aged two and continued to appear in festivals and shows throughout her dance career.

Mandy was just 14 when she taught her first dance lesson at Glendale, in its premises in Broadwater Road, as her mother recovered in bed for ten weeks from a slipped disc.

Wendy bowed out as principal in 1976 and Mandy took over the reins, meaning she has been successfully running Glendale for more than 40 years.

Mandy said: “It was only by chance that I realised it was a big anniversary for us, while going through a number of old photographs some time back. The years have flown and I truly had no idea.”

If you were a Glendale pupil and would like to attend the party, telephone 01903 205525 or email glendaletheatrearts@googlemail.com for more information.