The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

'A Stage Struck Man'

A Profile of Donald Auty (1937 - 2014)

Donald Auty in an interview from the Television Documentary 'The Story of Variety' With Michael Grade.

Above - Donald Auty in an interview from the Television Documentary 'The Story of Variety' With Michael Grade which can be viewed here.

Donald Auty was born in 1937. He became stage struck when he first visited a touring pantomime at the Dewsbury Empire in 1942 and was still stage struck, at the time of first writing this piece, in 2003. He spent most of his schooldays and youth in Blackpool with his Uncle Jack Taylor who was a great Northern Producer of Summer Seasons, Touring Revues, and Pantomimes, who trained him in all aspects of Theatre. He then went on to stage and company manage top class tours, pantos, and summer seasons throughout the British Isles for the top managements of the day.

Donald went to Beirut in the late sixties and was chief of production at the famed Casino Du Liban for four years. At this time this was the most spectacular revue venue in the world with all the shows mounted in Paris and then transferring to the Casino.

When civil war loomed in Beirut he came back to England in the early seventies and went back to work with Moss Empires who he had worked for previously. At the time they were co-producing a tour of West Side Story with a young producer who had appeared in Coronation Street called Bill Kenwright. Moss Empires at this time were running down their production department and he joined Bill Kenwright as production manager and remained there for eight years.

In the late seventies he went to Paris to work with Bernard Hilda on tours of musicals and top revues in Europe and the middle East. He was responsible for the last British tour of a Paris Lido Show starring the Blue Bell Girls in 1980 called Hullo Paris.

He returned to the U.K. in the mid eighties and was involved in running the Light Entertainment, Summer show and Pantomime Division of Barry Clayman Concerts and Apollo Leisure. During this time he was general manager for all stage shows starring Michael Barrymore and producer for Pantomimes starring him at the Dominion theatre in London and the Opera House Manchester. Also Summer Seasons in Scarborough and Bournemouth.

When the bottom fell out of summer seasons in the late nineties and pantomime runs became restricted he went back to Paris and worked from there, and from home in England, as consultant with tours of Eastern European Companies to Western Europe, though he was by then a freelancer and tried to work no more than six months of the year.

The Stage Newspaper's Obituary for Donald Auty in 2014 - Courtesy Roger Edwards.Sadly Donald Auty passed away in July 2014 but you can see, from his many articles on this site, how enthusiastic he was about his profession and Theatre in general. He was also passionate about his hobby, Railways. When the above article was written Donald was working on a spy novel based around the war time variety in Europe and the U.K.

Right - The Stage Newspaper's Obituary for Donald Auty in 2014 - Courtesy Roger Edwards.

Donald was always a great supporter of this website and is sadly missed, but his input into the site lives on today. Donald wrote a great many interesting and informative articles especially for the site, an index to some of them can be found below.

Articles by Donald Auty on this site:

Those Variety days
Pantomime in the 1940s 1950s
Pantomime economics of 50 years ago
Summer at the Winter Gardens and Pavilion Bournemouth 1961- 67
Working Newcastle's Palace Theatre in the 1950s
Bridlington Summer 1963
Twighlight of the Touring Review
Blackpool Wonderful Blackpool
Moss Empires' Theatres in the Fifties

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