Woman's Best Friend


Many great performers have walked the corridors of our 200-year-old theatre, and during the management of Lilian Baylis several four-legged prima donnas were prone to walking alongside them.

Once Lilian acquired a car in 1926 she finally had a means of transporting her beloved pets to the theatre each day where they got to rub shoulders with theatre royalty. Unfortunately, her terriers were despised by the staff and performers due to their constant hysterical ‘yapping’ amidst conversations in Lilian’s office.

Nevertheless, they certainly made an impact:

‘If I had to mention anything that I found really irritating about her it would be her dogs – long, tangle-haired creatures that left you wondering which end you were patting. Always in the office and always in the way, they spent their time charging at their owner in an effort to get onto her lap, rattling in their progress the inevitable teacup, breaking up any sequence of conversation with yelps that made me long to throttle them. I suffered their presence year in and year out. She would wander round the theatre carrying these shapeless mops, one under each arm. If she wished to point out any feature of interest a dog was dropped; it would land, yelping, on your feet, successfully drowning the observation that led to its downfall.’

Ninette de Valois

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