First opened in 1931, the Windmill Theatre has remained a national institution for decades.
Recently, the BBC online video series, Witness, briefly covered the vast and fascinating history of the Windmill Theatre, featuring a firsthand account from the charming Jill Millard Shapiro, a Windmill girl who performed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
During Jill Millard Shapiro’s time as a performer, the Windmill Theatre was one of the only places in Britain where audiences could watch naked women on stage, making the ‘tableaux vivants’ – French for ‘living picture’ – so popular. These were shows where performers would stand nude before a beautifully crafted backdrop in a pose for over 10 minutes without moving. This was to cleverly dodge obscenity laws that didn’t allow performers to be able to move whilst they were nude. Censorship at its finest folks.
The short video even touches upon the World War 2 days, where nothing stopped the Windmill from entertaining it’s patrons, as it was the only theatre to stay open during the Blitz. Brave Windmill bombshells performed as literal bombs fell about them. This birthed, of course, the famous Windmill motto, “We Never Closed”.
The Windmill’s story is far from over, so come visit one of London’s finest historical landmarks today.