A KNOWLE choreographer is hanging up her dancing shoes after an incredible 40 years of devising routines for the Warwickshire Gang Show.
Mum-of-two Helen Wilkes was a 16-year-old Tudor Grange School pupil, about to start her A levels, when she went to audition for the production.
For the first show, she was a member of the dance team, in the second she was made choreographer and has continued in the role for every performance since.
But now she’s decided to stand down and the show at the end of this month will be her last.
“It was a very difficult decision but I think it’s time I made way for someone younger and gave my knees a rest,” said Helen.
“When I started [in 1972] I was a member of the 1st Knowle Scout Group, which came under Warwickshire. I’d gone along for auditions, but never thought I’d get in, I was so chuffed when I did.”
During her stint with the WAGS, Helen has choreographed shows at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, London’s O2 Arena and Fort Worth, USA.
And she still has fond memories of the “tin shed of a theatre” in Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa, where the first ever show was performed.
“We had a band come in and when they played dust would come down from the ceiling and there were certain seats that couldn’t be used because of holes in the roof!”
Nigel Hailey, WAGS chairman, said: “Helen is one of those people who can get teenagers with two left feet to dance.”
The 41st Warwickshire Gang Show takes place at the Royal Spa Centre from February 20-25. Buy tickets on 0845 218 3540.