OLD THEATRES magazine --- Edition 1 IS NOW AVAILABLE AS A RE-PRINT. STILL WONDERFUL VALUE at just £8.00 (includes UK postage and packing)
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Edition 1 of OLD THEATRES magazine was launched in Wales, on stage at the former Coliseum theatre, Aberystwyth in front of a music hall backcloth, and with the support of our first Patron, Mr. Ken Dodd, O.B.E. He told readers: “I know this magazine will be a revelation and a dream come true for artistes in the business. It will be our link for us all to contribute to our success”. The Coliseum, whilst remaining a theatre has become a survivor as a stunning music hall museum for ‘all things past’ in the area. The town now has a new theatre forming part of the Aberystwyth’s University complex.
Rightly so, the Coliseum is described in the magazine’s first article as one of the prettiest museums in the country. It celebrated its centenary in 2005.
Also on the bill for this first edition was an article on Cannock Hippodrome, known as the miners’ music hall—its history being full described, along with illustrations of its exterior, auditorium and ‘behind the scenes’. From the archives readers were also shown rare pictures and details of the Frank Matcham designed Hanley Theatre Royal before and after its serious fire which gutted the auditorium in 1949. A further article also detailed what happened after that date with views of the new auditorium—one of the first new theatres to be built since the war.
Brian O’Gorman, son of Joe O’Gorman one of the famous O’Gorman Brothers introduced himself by describing how Variety artistes prized and guarded their individuality, with their clothes and dress being the first importance.
Then readers were shown the ornate Shrewsbury Theatre Royal, still standing but about to be converted into luxurious apartments. (Its progress is seen in later Editions.) And we visited the Palladium Theatre, Llandudno, to discover its use new use as a popular Wetherspoon’s pub which opened in 2001. Patrons can now sip their pints on stage whilst viewing the auditorium with montages of stage and screen artistes looking down at them from the boxes. Still in Llandudno, we took our first visit to the Grand Theatre which, since the 1960s, had been one the popular places to see ‘live’ entertainment for its many holidaymakers. (Again its progress is followed in later editions).
And we started the first of our popular Profile articles with our own memories of comedian Larry Grayson, who was a great personal friend of our Chairman.
Back to the West Midlands, we reported on the state of play at the Sandonia Theatre, Stafford, which was originally built as an Opera House. As reported in a later edition, it remains closed, but it certainly has a tale to tell. One of our principal articles charted (in full colour) the story of Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre where a preservation group is raising funds to restore the ornate structure to become a showplace again. And what a task it is with a huge auditorium. Again, with a montage of pictures, we take a look around the building, and will continue to encourage members in their efforts.
Readers were surprised to read the article on Theatre Dressing Rooms as going back to earlier days, many halls of entertainment had dressing rooms which left much to be desired! And that’s being kind! (We stressed that most modern dressing rooms now offer the highest available standards). Even before we introduced the magazine, friends in the business were writing in of their experiences in OLD THEATRES. And there is a memorable tale of how the ‘iron’ (safety curtain) got stuck after the Interval at Derby Hippodrome resulting in artistes having to perform their acts in the side aisle of the stalls.
But more trouble was to follow, and details are included in later Editions.
All of us at OLD THEATRES are delighted at the excellent responses we receive from readers as we endeavour to record histories of Britain’s cherished theatre buildings. Please support us by ordering copies from us. By doing so, you are helping to enable us to produce worthy publications, recording your memories of our halls of entertainment over the years.
If you are interested in what we are doing, we would be delighted to hear from you---as a theatre devotee like ourselves, or as a member of a theatrical group performing on stage or supporting your local theatre as a member of the audience.
We’ll be delighted to arrange for a copy of the magazine to be posted off to you. please des UK postage). *Copies are also posted overseas after we have advised you on the postage costs.
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