Historic Alexandra Palace Theatre to reopen in 2018
London's oldest theatre will reopen on 1 December following a multi-million pound restoration.
The theatre at Alexandra Palace opened in 1875 with a string of spectacular productions, and went on to be used as a chapel, cinema and later a BBC prop store and workshop.
Although Alexandra Palace is a well-loved attraction - and is the venue for the family history show Family Tree Live in April 2019 - the theatre there had not been used for regular performances for over 80 years.
As the restoration reaches completion, the Theatre will welcome the BBC Proms for a “Proms at…” event (1 September). Jane Glover will conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra for a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s one-act operetta Trial by Jury which premiered in 1875, the same year the Theatre opened. Tickets for this event will go on sale in June.
December’s opening programme is a nod to the Theatre’s variety and music hall roots, a home for both art and light entertainment, as well as reflecting the importance of family theatre. The Theatre’s opening weekend will see a headline performance from a major act on 1 December (TBA), as well as a Gala on 2 December. The Gala, which will be compered by Adam Hills, will feature a variety bill of music, comedy, circus and surprises with special guest to be announced.
Opening of the East Court
The East Court at Alexandra Palace will also re-open in December and will 'fundamentally transform' how the public interacts with the Palace. Open throughout the day, the East Court will welcome everyone, from early morning park users to evening concert goers.
It will be a place that celebrates the Palace’s origins as a 'Fun Palace' and place of innovation and wonder, by showcasing its rich history through exhibitions, art and utilising new technology such as virtual and augmented reality.
Stuart Hobley, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in London, said: “It is hugely exciting that after 80 years a new generation will soon be able to experience the magic of Alexandra Palace Theatre. Thanks to National Lottery funding, this project has breathed new life into the Theatre and East Wing which is set to become a new cultural destination for people across London. Alexandra Palace has entertained the public for almost 150 years and with the completion of this work will continue to do so for many more years to come.”
The restoration project would not have been possible without funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Haringey Council. The East Wing Restoration is a £27million project; the £18.8 million National Lottery grant is one of the biggest ever for a heritage project.