'It's in my blood': Final curtain call for longtime Savoy Theatre employee
Published Saturday, September 21, 2019 4:35PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, September 22, 2019 12:23PM ADT
If the walls inside the historic Savoy Theatre could talk, they’d have countless stories to tell. The same can be said for Dave Bailey, a soon-to-be retiree who many say is part of the fabric of the iconic attraction in Glace Bay, N.S.
“I’ll miss the place because I’ve been here for so long,” says Bailey. “It’s in my blood, I guess you could say.”
For nearly 50 years, Bailey has primarily worked as the facilities house technician, but he’s done everything from booking shows to building sets and much more, and will undoubtedly be missed for his talents.
“I said, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to need three people to replace him,’” says Pam Leader, executive director of the Savoy Theatre. “That’s not even exaggerating.”
Bailey has seen the theatre through its ups and downs, including a fire that nearly destroyed the historic landmark in 1991.
“It started on the stage as a matter of fact; it was opening night of the Summertime Revue,” says Bailey. “I was the last one leaving the building – the next morning I get a phone call at 5 a.m. that the place is on fire. We shut it down for two years – it was quite a fire.”
Bailey also developed friendships over the years with many of the performers who took the stage, including the late Rita MacNeil.
“It’s great when you’re walking across the stage, and she’s sitting backstage waiting to go, and she would say ‘Hi Dave, how are you doing,’” recounts Bailey. “That was a great thrill for me at that time. She was fun to work with – she was a great lady.”
The Savoy Theatre is known for its decades of productions, as well as its rumoured paranormal happenings, but Bailey says he has never met the famous Savoy Ghost.
“No, I’ve been here at two and three o’clock in the morning, and nobody ever tapped me on the shoulder,” says Bailey.
Bailey says he’s still not sure what retirement will look like for him, but he still plans to be around the theatre once in a while.
“It will never be it for him,” says Leader. “He may not be on payroll, he may be retiring, but he will never give up this theatre.”
And although Bailey is exiting the stage at the age of 71, he will always be one of the many stars who stepped foot in the historic theatre.
“It was a great place to work,” says Bailey. “I had a lot of fun here.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore