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First detailed Victorian history of the Alexandra Palace Theatre

Drama at the Palace

Victorian Heyday: The Alexandra Palace Theatre 1873 - 1901


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This book is the first detailed history of the Victorian heyday at the Alexandra Palace Theatre.

The Alexandra Palace, including its large state of the art Theatre, opened on 24 May 1873 and burnt to the ground 16 days later.

A second Palace was built – including a 3,000-seat Theatre – and reopened in less than two years on 1 May 1875. The Theatre used the most up-to-date technology then available and its wooden stage, with its traps and bridges, is one of the last remaining examples in the country. Its opera and drama productions brought the West End to north London, and its spectacular pantomimes drew full admiring houses. Some of the leading production companies of the age brought top actors, singers, dancers and entertainers to Alexandra Palace.

The story of the Alexandra Palace Theatre is the story of Victorian theatre itself, when theatre, in all its forms from farce to Shakespeare, was the mass entertainment of the growing urban population.

Researched and written by Nigel Willmott and Patricia Brearey, respectively the chair and secretary of the Friends of the Alexandra Palace Theatre (at 2014-15), it reveals for the first time the performances in the theatre in the Victorian period, from opera to variety and the keynote pantomimes; and the performers, directors and designers who brought the productions to life.


Published October 2014. 134 pages. Price: £7.00 to members, £8.50 to non-members.
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