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Report - Alexandra Palace Theatre - May 2015

Discussion in 'Theatres and Cinemas' started by mockney reject, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    The history


    The Alexandra Palace Theatre doors have now been closed to the public for more than 65 years, but when it first opened in 1875 it was designed to seat 2,500 people.


    The second architect had little experience of theatre design, consequently, the large auditorium had poor sightlines and the two shallow balconies at the rear were too far from the stage. The architect made no provision for getting scenery on and off stage.


    The auditorium has more in common with a large mid-nineteenth century music hall such as the ‘Canterbury’ than a theatre.


    Its mechanised timber stage, characteristic of Victorian theatres, is the last surviving of its kind in its original state. The stage designer was T Walford Grieve, one of a family of set designers and painters. The stage was ingeniously adapted to compensate for the idiosyncrasies of the design. It is probably one of the earliest examples in English theatre architecture which has a facility for counterweight flying.


    The building was used frequently as a cinema from 1901 until the outbreak of the Great War. The licensing authority at the time, which was Middlesex County Council, were concerned about the fire risks posed by highly flammable nitrate film stock used at the time. The film goers using the same balcony were not prevented from smoking. The projection box at the very back of the theatre is one of the oldest examples of early cinematography in London. In about 1907, the upper balcony was removed and fire protected staircases were built to serve the remaining gallery.


    The theatre was closed between 1914 - 1918 and utilised instead as a centre for Belgian refugees it was also later used as part of an internment camp for German prisoners.


    Former West End theatre manager and theatre buff, W MacQueen-Pope, was appointed manager of Alexandra in 1919 and set about restoring it. Currently the theatre is undergoing a structural and compliance survey to ascertain its condition. Resulting from these works, a cost plan will be produced and a business case compiled to ascertain its viability for future use.


    Although the theatre has been closed for many years, occasionally they open its doors to the public for viewing; as a safety precaution viewing of the theatre is seen from its foyer.


    The Explore


    After a day wandering around in London that included visiting the abandoned Highgate station and an abandoned chemical works, myself and my companion ended up here.

    We had heard all about the Theatre and I’d seen Speeds report from 2011 and I was keen to have a look inside. After wandering around the outside and finding it pretty secure we ventured inside.

    I’ll let the pics do the talking as always


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  2. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Interesting, just needs some Pigeons & a wide angle lens :thumb
     
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  3. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    I'm working on the lens bit of it lol

    I'm kinda new to the taking proper pics thing, usually always used my phone :)
     
  4. GAJ

    GAJ Mr Muscle
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    Nice to see they've got on really well with restoring it all. It looks no different from all the times I've been in here over the years.

    Good to see it though & well done :thumb
     
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  5. mrwhite

    mrwhite 28DL Regular User
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    wow u must have really sweet talked them to allowing you in, i done permission visit tour last month good to see this without the many visitors i had.

    top job
     
  6. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    I kinda got the impression they couldn't really be arsed with it :(
     
  7. mrwhite

    mrwhite 28DL Regular User
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    nah mate wrong impression, they're doing it up to its original glory and reopening it in 2018
     
  8. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    I hope so, its stunning :)
     
  9. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    First time I saw this you couldn't see the floor, it was piled high with all sorts of junk.
     
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  10. mrwhite

    mrwhite 28DL Regular User
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    was told under the stage it goes 5 stories deep..cant remember why..also another interesting fact underneath ally pally there is a prison cell
    [​IMG]
     
  11. mockney reject

    mockney reject 28DL Regular User
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    Cool :)

    The whole place is an amazing building
     
  12. GRONK

    GRONK 28DL Regular User
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    Nice one pal, that looks stunning.
     
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  13. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Like that...very interesting thanks for postin' :thumb
     
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  14. GAJ

    GAJ Mr Muscle
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    You can't actually go 5 stories below from the theatre although it does go pretty deep with the mechanism for the curtain, but there is an extensive basement under the whole thing. If you've ever looked off the road over the top towards the palace, you'll notice a couple of doors in the plinth. These lead into the basements but are usually pretty well locked. Also if you look round the back, youll see how deep it all goes. I have to say though, despite being in there on 3 separate occasions I never saw anything that actually looked like a cell so I'd take that with a pinch of salt as it was always built to be an entertainment venue. There's certainly a few alcoves like that picture in there but no indication any were used as a cell.
     
  15. GAJ

    GAJ Mr Muscle
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    These doors, padlock on the big one. Not that I'm suggesting this as a way in, as there are other ways ;)

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