Curtain comes down on Cherie's Dress Circle shop

Curtain comes down on Cherie's Dress Circle shop

Nicky Driver, daughter of Dress Circle owner Cherie Sharpe, surrounded by the cothing which will be sold off in memory of her mother.

Cherie Sharp, who founded Dress Circle.

First published in Beyond the Headlines

For two decades Cherie Sharpe was an important figure in amateur dramatics, supplying costumes to groups and stars such as Danny La Rue.

Now Dress Circle is closing down and thousands of outfits are to be sold in a tribute to Cherie who died in July at the age of 67.

Members of dramatic groups from as far away as London and Norwich will travel to Yeadon this weekend for a chance to buy some of the outfits which were Cherie’s pride and joy.

And those attending will find an Aladin’s Cave of costumes – including glittering dresses, formal suits and sequined stage outfits.

For amateur thespians, and individuals looking for an evening gown, wedding dress or fancy dress outfit the sale promises to be a treasure trove.

But for Cherie’s daughter Nicky Driver it will be an emotional experience and a poignant tribute to the mum she lost to cancer.

Since her mother’s death Nicky has been sorting through more than 3,000 dresses, 300 wigs, hats and other paraphernalia and will be selling them all at her mum’s shop this weekend.

“This was her passion – she loved it. It is such an amazing task I have been left with. I wish I had the passion to carry it on – but I don’t,” she said.

“She was likeable and bubbly and everyone’s friend really. She always had a smile.”

Originally a secretary who started her own secretarial business, Cherie began making a living out of her love for dressing-making in 1991.

“Her main love was sewing – her mum was a seamstress,” Nicky said.

“She got into fancy dress and opened a shop, Dress Circle, in Otley.

“She started doing amateur dramatics and started being wardrobe mistress for a lot of the theatre companies.”

Cherie made the costumes for a vast array of productions – including Guys And Dolls, Caberet, Oklahoma, Oliver, Fiddler On The Roof, and South Pacific. She also made man-sized sequinned dresses for Danny La Rue when he appeared in La Cage Aux Folles at Leeds City Varieties in 1994.

And she didn’t stop at dresses.

“I have 300 wigs to sell – she used to sit up until 3 in the morning making them,” Nicky said.

Cherie was also a mainstay of Otley’s Victorian Fayre, providing many of the costumes and herself attending in full Victorian dress.

Even after she was struck down with cancer in January she continued with the work she loved.

“She went into hospital and they were doing That’s Entertainment, and from her bed she was still doing her costumes.”

Anyone is welcome to attend the sale which will take place at Dress Circle, Unit 2, Sizers Court Henshaw Lane, Yeadon from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and from 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

Stock includes fancy dress, theatrical outfits, evening gowns, ballgowns, fur coats, DJs, and two of the outfits worn by Danny La Rue.

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