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 The recent death of Daphne Williams severs yet another link with the days of the Tin Hut, as the old theatre was nicknamed. Daphne ("Daphers" as she was affectionately known) first came to prominence in 1956 when she stage managed The Questors' very first Christmas show, the melodrama Sweeney Todd. Sweeney — in which I directed and played the eponymous barber — was put on hastily to raise money for the newly-created New Theatre Fund. Until then there had never been a special Christmas show and disaster was forecast. Strict instructions went out that no money at all was to be spent on this ridiculous experiment.

Nevertheless, Daphne gallantly stepped in to stage manage and conducted a masterpiece of economy and improvisation. In the end we spent just seven-and sixpence (40p), and that went on a brand of red toothpaste we used for blood.

It was such a success — thanks in no small measure to Daphers — that Christmas shows have continued at The Questors ever since.

Daphers continued to work backstage for several years after that, usually stage managing the Christmas melodrama, and everybody knew her cheerful smile and warm personality. She stopped being active in the sixties but kept in touch and her last appearance was at the 2004 Tin Hutters' Reunion. She came to that with her old friend Pat Digby, for many years her DSM on the Christmas show.