Masquerades (Beauty and the Beast convention)

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Name: Masquerades
Dates: 1991-2000
Location: Birmingham, UK
Type: fan con with guests from the show
Focus: Beauty and the Beast (TV)
Founding Date:
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Masquerades was a Beauty and the Beast (TV) convention.

Its con zine is Masquerades.

cover of the 1994 convention program

An original flyer is here.

According to the 1994 program book, the guests of honor donated their time to attend.


From Gwen Lord in Chatterbox #10:

Helpers Network UK were proud of the fact that in 1991 they were able to launch their first Beauty and the Beast major British Convention - Masquerades/91. It was held at the "Grand Hotel" in Birmingham, England with over 350 in attendance there. The hotel is a listed building and very Victorian, and had an atmosphere which blended well in the B&B theme. It wasn't long before messages were being sent on the pipes etc. Guests that year were Roy and Kay Dotrice, David Greenlee, Armin Shimerman and Kitty Swink his wife. The same hotel was again chosen for the 1993 Beauty and the Beast Convention.

Masquerades/93 which was once again well attended, with guests Roy Dotrice, Ellen Geer and husband Michael Alsop, Jo Anderson, Armin Shimerman and Kitty Swink. It was decided to have a mini-convention next, to fill in until the next "big one". It was decided to use a different location and the Novotel in Sheffield was chosen. Just over 100 attendees supported this min-con.

Masquerades/94 held the weekend before the Bank Holiday, August 19–20 and 21st. A new idea was tried, that of having the Beauty and the Beast British Fan Club join Helpers Network UK. The result of this partnership was a pure joy, as ideas and energies were pooled for the fans to enjoy. Being smaller, it was all so easy to get to know the guests well and feel at ease with them. David Schwartz the B&B co-producer was there, as was his friend Jamie Murray, who when in make-up as Myrh is marvellous. Roy Dotrice had been dreadfully ill since late June/94 and his attendance was very 'iffy', but Roy being the trouper he is, decided not to let his fans down and against everyone's opinion and, his doctors wishes, travelled across England to attend, be it only for one day. Roy was so upset at missing the TunnelCon 3 in Vegas, but was too ill to travel all that way at that time, with Lymes Disease, which he had contracted from a tick from a deer. The Q&A time, signing for the deaf viz Laura's Cavern autographs, art, ball, auction, disco, dealers room and TV room, all made for a fabulous time. Roy Dotrice who has a British based fan association, run by yours truly, gave the fans a rare treat, as Roy went behind the dealers table to sell and promote the sale of his clubs Christmas cards, using his own art on the front with 10% of sales going to the Childline Charity, this proved a very novel idea.

The next convention will be run entirely by the Beauty and the Beast British Fan Club, with convention manager Amber James. This will be a major convention once again, but full of brand new ideas. Basically the same team will be doing it, with a new committee. It will be the Bank Holiday weekend, at the end of May 1996. It will take place this time in London with many B&B guests and even a trip on the river is hoped for. It will be longer, from Friday noon to Monday noon. Advertising worldwide will start soon, so do not miss the next opportunity to gather together as a family. Re-named, it is - "A Moment In Time - The Beauty and the Beast International Convention". Send to Amber or Gwen at Helpers Network UK for details. Whatever you do, don't miss it, start saving now.


Masquerade I was held in August 23-26 1991 at the Grand Hotel in Birmingham, England.

A video from the convention can be found here and photos can be found here.

The guests of honor were Roy Dotrice and Kay Dotrice, Armin Shimerman and his wife Kitty Swink and, David Greenlee. It was the first time any of the cast had attended a British convention. From the 1994 program book: "We don't think anyone could forget that first game of Beastily Blank, when Kitty set the standard for the afternoon!"

Con Reports: 1991

"Masquerades," the first major Beauty & the Beast convention in England...

There were many of the usual features - costume contest, dealers' room, T-shirt contest, video room, and trivia contest, but with something else to set it apart from all other conventions so far - unbelievable accessibility to the celebrity guests. These were Roy Dotrice, his charming wife Kay, David Greenlee, Armin Shimerman and his wife Kitty, a talented actress in her own right as we were to see later for ourselves.

As Roy Dotrice said at one point, "This is the most relaxed convention I have ever attended." David Greenlee echoed Roy's sentiments, calling the convention "partylike." Through informal discussions which seemed to spring up wherever the guests went, attendees were able to get to know them as people rather than as celebrities. Speaking of the some 300 attendees, they came from several countries besides Britain, including Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Canada, and the United States.

During the brief opening ceremony, Roy likened the power of fandom to the recent events in the Soviet Union where the power of the people overcame the establishment, saying "They killed the show, but they can't kill the dream." After the ceremony, the guests mingled with the fans and we had the first inclination that this was no ordinary Con. The literature said, concerning the guests, "By all means talk to them. buy them a drink. tell them a joke..." Thinking of other conventions, I thought "Oh, sure, have a drink with the guests!" But, as a group of us were clustered around David, he said "Let's all go sit down in the lounge," and we all did! The other guests were having similar experiences in various corners of the convention area.

The hotel (called by Roy "the most extraordinary, eccentric hotel I've ever been in") got into the in spirit of the occasion and allowed signs in Gothic script to be placed around the public areas, some of which said: "To the Chambers" (by the elevators), "Pascal's Pipes" (by the telephones), "The Great Hall" (outside the main meeting room), and "William's Kitchen" (outside the main dining room). Drawings of a beloved furry hand pointed directions, and the theme from B&B could be heard often on the hotel Muzak system. Old, but beautifully restored, the hotel had radiator pipes throughout, on which tapping could frequently be heard.

Saturday's events included a postcard story competition (where contestants had to write a complete B&B story on a postcard); part one of the auction (which eventually raised about $3500 for the convention charities); a 2-hour Q&A session with Roy, David and Armin; and a two-hour autograph session, all of which ran smoothly and with the same relaxed atmosphere that never ceased to amaze.

Roy reported during the Q&A session that the script for the B&B movie had been finished and that the film was in "preproduction." (Now on hold.) He also said that he believes, in retrospect, that it would have been better to cast a new actress as Catherine rather than expect the audience to accept a new love for Vincent. "Especially the first girl he meets," quipped David. "He should have shopped around a little!"

Saturday night was the costume contest judged by David and Armin, along with convention helpers. Categories were "Above," "Below," and "Other." The Above" winner was [Catherine F] as Bridgett O'Donnell. Runner-up was yours truly in the bandaged Catherine costume I wore at South of Oz. Two groups won in the "Below" category. "The Outsiders" group from Germany, featuring Tom Brecht in the Vincent costume he wore at Tunnel Con I, were the first-place winners.

Their group included Catherine from "Masques," the Phantom and Christine. Runners-up were the "Moonstone Cavern" (chapters of the UK Chamber B&B Fan Club are called "caverns"), featuring Paracelsus and several tunnel dwellers, one carrying a live ferret named "Morgan." The winner of the "Other" category came disguised as a "Lion" candy bar (there really is a "Lion" candy bar in Britain), and the runners-up were dressed as a Mississippi gambler and a dance hall girl from the Old West. One very clever costume which didn't win a prize but deserves mention here was two women in a flower pot, one with red roses all over her, the other with white ones - they were Catherine's rose bush! The evening concluded with disco dancing well into the night.

Sunday morning saw a T-shirt competition which was won by [Cyndi B] in a beautiful creation showing different scenes from B&B onto which had been sewn a hood and tunnel-dweller sleeves. Tom Brecht was runner-up in a shirt that said in Red letters: "Vincent was here," accompanied by slash marks across his mid-section.

Following part two of the auction, rather than the scheduled Q&A session, Roy, David, Armin and Kitty (with much encouragement from the fans) did some Shakespearean scenes instead. Highlights were Armin doing Richard III David as Puck and Roy as Falstaff. The entire group did scenes from Julius Caesar and Midsummer Night's Dream.

After lunch came a writers' workshop, followed by a game called "Beastily Blank," a take-off on a British game show called "Blankity Blank," which greatly resembles the American "Match Game." (Sample question: "Yancy said to Catherine: 'What is Vincent's ______ like?"').

A delightful play spoofing the filming of "Dark Spirit was presented by the German fans with apologies to the cast and crew of B&B. Tom Brecht, in full Vincent makeup, played Ron Perlman, complete with cigar and copy of Playboy on the TV sound stage.

Another two hour autograph session with all the guests followed. Sunday evening featured the "Masked Ball" and buffet dinner. Roy, as "Father," offered a toast to absent friends; autographed photos of Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman were raffled off; and the dancing again continued into the night. When "The First Time I Loved Forever" was played, everyone gathered into circles, arms entwined, and swayed in unison to the music. Award and closing ceremonies were the final events held on Monday morning (Monday was a holiday in Britain). Awards for all the contests previously mentioned as well as the trivia contest (100 beastly questions Lo be answered in writing) won by Joy Faulkner with an incredible 98 correct!, treasure hunt (a sort of tunnel scavenger hunt which asked for "a hair from Vincent's head" and "Joe's chewing gum" among other things) - art contest and fanzine/story competition.

Winners and runners-up in the British fanzine category were Crystal Cavern 2 and Crystal Cavern I (general); Below the Belt and Fantasies Domain (adult), and Ashes Under Uricorn and Limelight (novella). For foreign zines the winners and runners-up were Kaleidoscope I and Skyline (general); One Day, A Rapture and Love Bade Me Welcome (adult); and Skyline and Kaleidoscope II (novella). The zine awards were voted by the attendees on written ballots. As there were no nominations you could cast your vote for any zine.

Convention-goers warmed to the story of [Ruth M], confined to a wheel-chair, who took the first two steps of her life because Roy Dotrice asked her to try, and the promise of a phone call from Ron Perlman. Roy commented at the closing ceremonies that one of the highlights of the Con for him was meeting Ruth. He also confessed that he had fallen head over heels for Morgan, the ferret!

All in all, everyone had a great time. A big pat on the back to organizers Jacqui Clarke and Gwen Lord, who were called "swan-like" by Roy Dotrice "calm on the surface, and paddling like hell underneath." Organizers of future conventions will have their work cut out to follow the superb planning and magnificent execution of this event. [1]


Masquerade II or Masquerades ‘93 was held on May 28–31, 1993. Images can be found here.

Joyce Clarke's fanzine "Remembrance" was the winning novella in the convention fiction competition.

Tunnel Tales was a small fanzine issued for the registration packs at "Masquerades." It is a mix of Classic and SND 4th Season.

The guests of honor were Roy Dotrice, Jo Anderson, Armin Shimmerman and his wife, Kitty, and Ellen Geer, and her husband Peter Alsop.


Masquerade III was held August 19-21, 1994 in Sheffield, UK.

cover of the 1994 program book

It was called a minicon.

Images can be found here, here and here.

From the Program Book

Welcome to the 3rd Masquerades Beauty and the Beast Convention. As this is a small convention, we decided to change venues and so, here we are at the Sheffield Novotel.


As always, we'll do our best to keep everything on schedule, but you know how things are... If, however, it's your first time, remember, you are amongst the largest family in the world. We care that many of you will have travelled a great distance to be with us this weekend to support this and for this, we thank you. But now you are here, you are in our care and we really do want you to enjoy yourselves.

We ask that you all look around you during the weekend. If you see someone on their own, go across; speak to them; buy them a drink! Engage them in your favourite Beauty and the Beast subject. Please, don't ignore them! We're a family, and we must stick together and make sure everyone feels wanted. So go on, let your hair down and have a good time. For those of you who have attended most of the conventions, don't tell the newcomers that conventions can become addictive and bad for their bank balance!! We don't want to frighten them off - we want to get them well and truly hooked!

Of course, the 'old timers’ know about this next item... If, a couple of days after the con is over, you're back home and you wake up feeling miserable, fed up, depressed and snap at everyone, wishing you were back at the Novotel, then congratulations!! You're suffering from P.C.D. [Post Con Depression]. This condition really does exist, so don't worry about it, it will just mean that your family's worse nightmare has been realised: You HAVE become addicted!!!

Con Reports: 1994

Masquerades 94 - what a weekend! I really enjoyed myself right from the start on Friday afternoon, when I entered the Novotel, Sheffield, to be greeted by so many friends - in fact I was talking so hard I forgot my room number before I got in the lift and had to go back to reception to be reminded of it! Once again Jacqui and Gwen put on a wonderful event, and though I felt a bit disappointed at first because neither David Greenlee nor 'our' Vincent would be there, the presence of Jamie Murray (Myhr) more than made up for the lack. Thank you Gwen for inviting this most amusing catlike character to entertain us all. He certainly had the ladies buzzing round him like flies round a honeypot! Despite having nothing to do with B&B, he fitted in with us all like a true fan and seemed to enjoy himself as much as we did. David Schwartz was also in interesting and amusing guest with his tales of happenings on the set, and of course Roy Dotrice was as witty and entertaining as ever. The only sadness was that Roy had to leave on Sunday morning...


Many thanks to Amber James and the British Fan Club for bringing us the fancy dress competition - only very few competitors, but very good ones - and the very amusing panel game Call My Bluff. Some of the answers were a bit rude - from the men's team in particular - but it all added to the fun. As for the auction on Sunday afternoon, it was four hours of sheer hilarity, as Myhr went around the room sitting on laps and nibbling ears to make people raise their bids! Eventually he disappeared, and some time later a distinguished grey-haired, bearded gentleman entered the room whom nobody quite recognised, though he did seem familiar. The odd thing was that Myhr and Jamie had two distinct personalities, one a complete extrovert (and outrageous flirt), the other quite shy and reserved! I think we all fell in love with both of them.

I'm not sure if the next Chatterbox will be out before Masques, but if it is, let me beg as many of you as possible to attend. It is such a shame to see numbers dwindling at conventions, and though a lot of this is due to finances, health and family considerations, there may still be fans out there who are saying to themselves, "of course I couldn't go, I don't know anyone and I'm much too shy." It's those very people who need to go, for the wonderful benefits they will gain through mingling with like-minded, friendly people, away from the strains and worries of everyday life. And if Jay Acovone can come, as I'm praying, though it looks so uncertain at the moment, it will truly be an event of a lifetime! [2]


Masquerade IV or Masquerades 2000 took place on Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st 2000, "in the ancient city of Nottingham, England."

Fund-raiser zines for this con were Earth, Wind, and Fire and Dancing Waters.

Convention info is archived at Conventions.


  1. ^ by Carol Burgen in Pipeline v.4 n.8/9 (Fall 1991), includes photos of the guests, of fans, of the stage, of the hotel, and of the baby quilt created by Sally Newman that was sent to Linda Hamilton for her baby
  2. ^ from Chatterbox #10 (October 1994)