End of an era as drama group closes

Gloria (third from left) winning Best Group at the Hearts and Stars Awards.

It’s been the end of an era – after the curtains finally closed on the tap and drama group at Filwood Community Centre after 36 years. 

Knowle West Arts Promotions was run by Gloria Tucker who was “inspired by musicals” to set it up 

Over the years she has won Best Group and Lifetime Achievement for her hard work in the Hearts and Stars awards – and been ably assisted by her friend Edna Quick. 

Now Gloria (77), who has recently had a hip operation, has put aside her dancing shoes  –  but has many happy memories – including seeing some of her pupils step into the limelight themselves…  

She writes: 

“Janet Greenslade and I worked together and did the tea dance in the community centre with Jean Ford playing the piano and a guy called Ken on the drums.

Janet used to do the majorettes and I helped her – until I decided to run the drama as I said it was my dream to put on a production and a panto….We joined in the carnivals and we did old time musicals.

When I first started the group we were up to about 50, I had two classes going. In 1983 was the first production of Cinderella. 

Gloria (right) and her sister Barbara Watts in Cinderella.

I taught them tap and drama because I loved the musicals. My most memorable time was doing the Sound of Music – the first time working with older people and very young.  

George was 83 when he played Captain Von Trapp and the younger one was only five and a half. It made the young respect the older ones. 

Some of my students have gone on to perform – Ryan Limb went to university and then to London and started doing shows and performing on big cruise ships. Daniel Quick sung on the X Factor and got to Boot Camp. 

Former drama group member Daniel Quick performing at last year’s Knowle West Fest. Picture Tanya Hazell, courtesy of Filwood Community Centre.

I had to finish because of my hip and nobody wanted to take it on. It’s a special gift teaching children how to do this – I do miss it.” 

Following Gloria’s appeal, a new theatre group will be starting at Filwood Community Centre in September, run by The Tobacco Factory.