GRANDMA'S SHOP Takes The Stage This Summer

Julie Flower present Grandma's Shop, the story of an eccentric grandmother, her stray cats and her legendary second-hand Sheffield clothes shop told by her granddaughter.

By: Jun. 18, 2024
GRANDMA'S SHOP Takes The Stage This Summer
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Julie Flower present Grandma's Shop, the story of an eccentric grandmother, her stray cats and her legendary second-hand Sheffield clothes shop told by her granddaughter

In 1980s Sheffield, behind the vintage dresses, buttons and carrier bags in what appears to be an ordinary second-hand store in the city's trendy Devonshire Street is its extraordinary owner, Hilda, a local eccentric who looks after stray cats with the shop's takings. Written and performed by Hilda's granddaughter Julie, Grandma's Shop tells the story of Hilda and her shop with no name, which became one of the mainstays of the local counterculture scene, with many punk musicians and creatives regularly stopping by for items they couldn't find anywhere else, as well as a chat with ‘Auntie Hilda' as she was affectionately known in the community. This one woman show looks at family, memories, celebrating difference and the stories items in second hand shops have to tell.

Hilda Flower opened her shop in the early 1960s to support herself following her legal separation from her husband in the 1950s which was an event so rare for the time that she was featured on the front page of the local paper. She also put some of the shop's takings towards feeding the thirty stray cats that congregated at the rear of the shop where she lived. Hilda embraced her eccentricity and volunteered for an international study on the subject. She was also interviewed in some UK newspapers including the Guardian where she spoke to psychology researcher and journalist Geoff Beattie who went on to regularly appear on Big Brother. Julie worked at the shop when she was a teenager every Saturday until it closed in the mid 1990s. Hilda passed away in 2007. 

Julie Flower said, “Helping my grandma out at the shop on a Saturday morning as a child was like entering a magical, four-storey dressing-up box.  After rediscovering the Guardian article, I decided I wanted to know more about the memories of people who visited the shop and met Hilda.  Shops like hers provided open and friendly spaces within communities and impacted on many lives, yet the stories of people like her rarely get told.  So this show is really about collecting and exploring memories, my own and those of others.  It's a living, breathing history project, and I've used online forums and more analogue means, to discover new things.  I think she would have loved the attention, given an infectious giggle, and asked if you'd like to buy anything!''

Julie Flower is an award-winning improviser, an actor and writer who is part of improv duo Twinprov, AI-informed improv group Improbotics and new-writing theatre group Orange Works. She has performed at the Fringe with Improbotics in 2023 and with Orange Works from 2018 – 2019 and 2022- 2023. She's also a leadership development facilitator, coach and university lecturer with a background in public service and charity leadership. Grandma's Shop is Julie's debut show as a writer.

Gilded Balloon, 2 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6JA

4 – 26 Aug (not 12), 12.20 – 13.20

Previews 31 July – 2 Aug: £8

Sat – Sun £11

Mon – Fri £10 | 0131 622 6552


2 June,                        

Brighton Fringe

Brighton Toy and Model Museum, 52-55 Trafalgar Street, Brighton & Hove, BN1 4EB

2pm | £10 – 8 (concession) | 0131 622 6552

4 July,                         

Tunbridge Wells Fringe

The Green Duck Events Space & Bar, 53 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2AY

8pm | £9 - £8 (concessions) | 07899998249

7 July

Tabard Theatre London

2 Bath Road, London, W4 1LW

3pm | £Tickets TBC| 020 8995 6035


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