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Report - Alexandra Palace Theatre

Discussion in 'Theatres and Cinemas' started by Heracles, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Heracles

    Heracles 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Abandoned for 65 years. The suspended ceiling has suffered quite a bit of damage and looks pretty much beyond repair. I've heard rumours of plans to rip the entire theatre out and use the space for accomodation and although the floor plan on the website suggests that refurbishment is taking place, we saw no evidence of this... :(

    The whole palace is in a bit of a state. The theatre seems to be the only bit to have retained the orginial charm of the building. I haven't seen the exhibition hall, but other parts have recieved a rather unsympatheic overhaul... add to this the kind of crowd the place attracts and it's surprising that the theatre, although decrepit, is largely untouched...

    Was nice spending the night in here. Quite a sight to wake up to... :)

    Visted with Mr Silent Motion & a friend.

    Some history on the theatre, stolen from theatretrust.org.uk:

    Johnson’s partner, Alfred Meeson, designed the first Palace which burnt down in 1873, soon after it was built. It was immediately replaced by the present building. Although the theatre is large, it forms a relatively small part of the entire Palace complex, whose history is not traced in this entry. It is not known whether Johnson had assistance with the design of the theatre, but the evidence of the building itself suggests that it was the work of someone with little previous experience of theatre design. Its history has been depressing. It was an abject commercial failure in the decades when theatre business generally was at its most profitable. The theatre, last used as a television scene store, now looks abandoned. It is completely embedded in the Palace complex. Although it has one external wall, its separate identity is not discernible in the long north elevation of the Palace. The auditorium is extraordinary - more like a big music hall or concert hall than a theatre; a great rectangular room with raked floor, the long sides now occupied by low enclosed corridors (presumably inserted to improve means of escape) which give the impression of side slips. There is a single balcony, facing and far distant from the stage and there was originally a second, upper balcony, now removed. The present appearance of the room probably owes more to Macqueen Pope, who ordered the 1922 alterations, than to Johnson. Coarse plaster ornament of two periods, the bolder work on the ceiling not unpleasing. Figure sculpture, probably original, in niches either side of the proscenium. The existing, faded ‘toy theatre’ colour scheme, although not original, is highly evocative. The most interesting survival is the stage, designed for elaborate transformations. It has a fine complex of wooden machinery both below stage and in the fly tower, all in restorable condition. A primitive set of scene grooves from this theatre is now in the possession of the Museum of London. The auditorium is one of the oldest now surviving in London; archaeologically of rare interest but intractable as a theatre. It would make a splendid concert room or large cabaret restaurant, if there was ever call for such an enterprise in N22. The future, if it has one, must lie with music and variety, rather than drama. Alternatively, the auditorium might be reconstructed in a more intimate and usable form and the stage restored as a spectacular working exhibit for public enjoyment

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    #1 Heracles, Apr 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2010

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  2. Heracles

    Heracles 28DL Full Member
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    ...and roof:

    (apologies for the orangeness)

    'twas lovely up there. There was a concert going on too. Bonus...

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  3. Heracles

    Heracles 28DL Full Member
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    I thought I'd just add these on to my orginal report. :)

    (A year later!)


    I don't think I'll ever grow tired of this place...


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