Star’s daughter backs Dudley Hippodrome campaign

The daughter of one half of the legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy has backed plans to save the Dudley Hippodrome from demolition.

Stan Laurel's daughter, Lois Laurel-Hawes

Lois Laurel Hawes, daughter of Hollywood star Stan Laurel, says it would be a “tragedy” if the old theatre, where her father once performed with comedy partner Oliver Hardy, was lost.

The 84-year-old pleaded with Dudley councillors not to make the mistake of bulldozing the Castle Hill art-deco style landmark.

Dudley Council wants to demolish the former theatre turned bingo hall and replace it with a 120-space car park but English Heritage and the Theatres Trust have criticised the plans.

Miss Laurel Hawes, who lives in the US, wrote a letter of support to the Friends of Dudley Hippodrome after hearing about their campaign.

“I believe it would be a tragedy and a terrible shame if this happened,” she said.

“I say that not only because my father and other famous stars appeared there but it would deprive the area of such a wonderful boost to the community.”

She also welcomed proposals by the friends’ to reopen the 1,700-seat theatre as a community arts venue and for touring productions.

“I am very impressed by the exciting plans for the future of the building which can make something the people of Dudley will be really proud of.”

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