For many of its stars one of the Theatre Royal Brighton's most precious memories was a tiny bar where they could get a cup of tea, shot of whisky or kindly ear.

The Single Gulp bar was hidden behind the stage and opened only to those who had performed at the venue on New Road.

From the mid-Fifties to the mid-Seventies it was run by one the theatre's unsung heroes, Lily Redman.

The formidable but charismatic darling of the theatrical world was so loved by the celebrities of the time that Marlene Dietrich bought her great-grandaughter a present and Dora Bryan went to visit her in an old people's home.

Her walls were covered with signatures of those who had performed there and between bottles the shelves were filled with photographs.

She mixed with the likes of Dirk Bogarde, Peter Finch and Danny La Rue, who signed a picture "To my darling Lily".

Even Princess Margaret paid the hallowed drinking den a visit when she went on a backstage tour one time.

Her grand-daughter Julie Cherriman, Hammy Way, Shoreham, said: "All the stars loved her.

"She was so warm and friendly and just had a way about her.

"The Single Gulp was her life and she loved the atmosphere there - the glamour and the drama of it all.

"She loved a party and became part of the theatre and its world."

Mrs Cherriman still treasures the autograph book her grandmother gave her when she was 12, which includes more than 50 signatures from the likes of Alec Guinness, Noel Coward and Warren Beatty.

She never visited the bar herself because of its strict celebrity-only policy but her husband Arthur, once got an unauthorised peek.

She said: "When my first daughter was born in 1962, her first great granddaughter, my husband went down to tell her.

"The maternity hospital was really near the theatre in those days and she was so excited about it.

"When he got to the door and told the guard why he was there he got ushered in which was very rare - it was hallowed ground.

"Apparently there was quite a celebration in the bar that night. Marlene Dietrich said 'Get the champagne out' and everyone clinked their glasses for my daughter.

"Marlene must have thought an awful lot of my grandmother because she also came in the next day with a present of a bendy clown for her."

Other regulars included What's My Line presenter Gilbert Harding, who lived in Brighton and would often pop in for a drink, Diana Dors who was a particular fan and came to visit every time she was in Brighton and, of course, Brighton's longest standing star Dora Bryan.

Mrs Cherriman said at one time she bumped into Dora and mentioned who her grandmother was.

She said: "She told me: 'Oh my dear, of course I remember Lily. I even went to see her in an old people's home.' "I think she was genuinely really fond of her and thought of her as a friend."

The Theatre Royal Brighton is this celebrating a landmark birthday this year and The Argus and BBC Southern Counties Radio are collecting 200 memories for 200 years.

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To find out more about the 200 stories for 200 years project, click here.