On Monday evening I attended a special tribute to Billie Barrie, founder of The Billie Barry Stage School in Dublin. Billie Barry grew up in a showbiz family and in her teen became part of a harmony group with her sisters Violet and Norma. They toured Ireland and the UK and were regularly heard on Radio in both countries. The late Noel Purcell had a show in Belfast and he invited the girls on it and after that finished he invited Billie to stay on at the theatre as resident singer, dancer and choreographer, where she remained for seven years. She then married and had four children, but then her husband Paddy died and she had to bring up her family alone. She decided to support her family by putting her knowledge of the business to good use and opened up a stage school in 1964 in the Carlton Hall, Fairview Dublin. For almost 50 years The Billie Barry Stage School has nurtured young talents and many have graced stages all over the world. The school has been involved with the Gaiety Theatre Panto for the last 39 years as well as RTE televisions "Late Late Toy Show". Billie retired in 1999 and left the school in the hands of her daughter Lorraine.
During the show on Monday night, Kevin Wall Chief Barker of The Variety Club Of Ireland, presented Billie with the Living Legend Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Variety Club. The show itself was hosted by Irish musical and recording star Tony Kenny and among the performers were,
West End stars, JacintaWhyte , Louise Bowden and Ciaran Connolly. Country Queen, Susan McCann, comedy stars, June Rogers and Richie Hayes, Blues guitarist, Pat Farrell. "Fair City" stars, Jim Bartley and Hilda Faye. Actor Michael Grennell, TV and Screen star Angeline Ball, and folk duo Foster & Allen. There was also showstopping numbers from The Billie Barry Kids. All in all an enjoyable show and true night of Variety. Shown are the program..ticket and photos from the show..