OLD THEATRES magazine --- Autumn 2010 edition IS NOW AVAILABLE AS A RE-PRINT. STILL WONDERFUL VALUE at just £8.00 (includes UK postage and packing)
Edition 6 of OLD THEATRES magazine has created another new record with no less than 130 illustrations throughout it 50 pages! We have really pulled out all the stops to produce a memorable edition. As you will see, this issue, produced under the Patronage of Ken Dodd OBE, Duggie Chapman MBE and Qdos Entertainment, is very much orientated towards helping to preserve our theatres for future generations to enjoy and it certainly is a “must” for all theatre supporters.
There are success stories, but also sadness at the demolition of two halls of entertainment, Nelson Palace and the interior of Theatre Royal, Chatham. We show poignant pictures of both, together with some interesting views of Garston Empire which faces and an uncertain future. Our cover shows the exterior of Doncaster Grand Theatre where its preservation supporters are hopeful that it will re-open, bringing art, music and culture back to the town.
For supporters of Derby Hippodrome there is good news where a proposal to develop the site to become a car park was turned down by Derby council, producing applause and shouts of joy of joy from supporters who were in the public gallery at their meeting. Readers of this edition will see colour pictures showing an artist’s impression of how a refurbished theatre could look with extended facilities for community use.
We also feature efforts by over 800 supporters of Workington Opera House who want to rescue and bring back entertainment to the currently closed venue. And there is information on a special project to widen the scope of Eastbourne Royal Hippodrome so that it can become a major centre for media as well as the performing arts, with the blessing of the borough council. And there is joy on the Isle of Wight, where Shanklin Theatre has just re-opened, while the Grade II listed Bognor Regis Picturedrome (which was used for stage shows, films and community events) is being purchased by the town council for the benefit of residents and holidaymakers.
Preservation matters are of the greatest importance to OLD THEATRES readers, anxious to support and ensure the continuity of their local venues, and we are delighted to show how the restoration of the famous City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds, is continuing. (The colour illustrations are amazing!) And we also urge support for London’s Wilton’s Music Hall where money is also needed to help preserve the Grade II listed building, believed to be the oldest grand music hall in the world. Again, there are wonderful colour pictures of the famous London Palladium to mark the 100th anniversary of the Ace Variety Theatre of the World, a venue to which all artistes aspire.
It’s a wonderful edition for surprises, and we have good reason to thank our readers and theatre managements for them. Barnoldswick Palace is revealed as an ‘old theatre’, but its current use is surprising! Possibly it could be used for entertainment purposes again, but our pictures reveal many changes over the years. There is also a fantastic collection of pictures and an interesting article by Sally McGrath featuring Butlins former Gaiety Theatres (including one on fire), which were so popular in the sixties. (We know we will have a huge postbag from readers with their memories !)
One of our principal articles remembers the Grade II listed Scarborough Opera House which celebrated its centenary in 1976; but, following constant vandalism, was demolished in 2004. Our timeless pictures show what it was like when it was operating both as a theatre and cinema, and, finally, we witness a broken auditorium as demolition proceeds.
Readers who have been following our information about how Britain’s theatres suffered during the War, can read our researches into which were totally destroyed, and those which were damaged—many of them being repaired so they could open again. And we print full details of The Theatres Trust Theatre Buildings ‘At Risk’ Register 2010 with their concern that more of them could end up abandoned and lying empty. Again, we remember, in old pictures, two unusual theatres at Rhyl, the former Pavilion and Queens Theatres where Edwardian holidaymakers flocked to see shows there. One of them in even had a man made canal in its cellars where, like Venice, gondolas floated by!
Reporting on theatre personalities, we are delighted to include our profile on the much loved gentle Irish crooner, Val Doonican, famous for his long running series at the former BBC television theatre, Shepherds Bush Empire. Val tells us he is still enjoying show business and has no plans to retire.
The story of F.J. Butterworth, the man who kept so many theatres going, particularly during their lean years in the sixties is quite remarkable. Alan Chudley’s detailed account, with excellent colour illustrations, is a wonderful tribute to this man, and he quite rightly says: “If ever a theatre manager deserved to be ‘gonged’, it was he.” Jack Strutt, doyen of the Max Miller Appreciation Society, also describes the great comedian’s connections with Brighton Hippodrome and Holborn Empire.
But, perhaps the most remarkable story of all is about London’s famous Windmill Theatre revealing many old pictures of the building and the artistes, which have not been seen for many years. It tells how Mrs Laura Henderson bought and ran the theatre with her general manager, Vivian van Damm—which became the subject of a major film, Mrs Henderson Presents, starring Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins.
Finally, we publicise the return of many of the cast of Ken Russell’s legendary film, The Boy Friend starring Twiggy and Brian Murphy, who with Ken and others returned to the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, where the film was made 37 years ago—a memorable event in support of the theatre where a new stage has to be built following a fire.
It’s definitely a ‘best value issue’, and as our Editor says in a quote from the late Ronnie Barker: “It’s a fun packed programme”. We think you will agree. Please order your copy, and join in our activities in support of Britain’s OLD THEATRES.
DON’T MISS THIS CHANCE OF PURCHASING YOUR COPY
Don’t miss out ! We’ll be delighted to arrange for a copy of our highly recommended magazine to be posted off to you. Please send us your address details along with a cheque for £8 FOR THIS RE-PRINT OF EDITION 6 (which includes UK postage and packing). *Copies can also be posted overseas, after we have advised you on the postage costs.
Your cheque should be made payable to:
T.G. Kirtland, 20, Rife Way, Felpham,
Theatre managements should give details of their Marketing Manager/Director along with E-mail details. (We will be pleased to add reciprocal ‘links’ to our Web Pages.) Just send us an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to be welcomed aboard. Your input is very important to us. All of us at OLD THEATRES magazine sent our warmest wishes to you, and look forward to hearing from you in support of our worthy magazine, so that we can maintain interest in Britain’s wonderful halls of entertainment so they can go forward to serve future generations of theatregoers.