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Gaiety Theatre, Isle of Man

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Gaiety Theatre, Isle of Man

Gaiety Theatre
Address Harris Promenade
Douglas
Isle of Man
Owner IoM Department of Tourism
Capacity 898 seated
Current use Fully operational theatre with a year round programme of shows
Construction
Opened 16 July 1900
Rebuilt 1976 Victor Glasstone (major restoration)
Architect Frank Matcham
Website
http://www.gov.im/villagaiety/

The Gaiety Theatre and Opera House is a theatre, on the Isle of Man. The theatre was built in 1899 to the designs of architect Frank Matcham, as an opera house and theatre.[1] It was built within the structure of the former Pavilion, an entertainment hall that had been constructed six years earlier.

The theatre opened on 16 July 1900 with a West End production of "The Telephone Girl" featuring Ada Blanche. The theatre enjoyed considerable success in the Edwardian era, but after World War I the island's tourist industry fell into decline, and so did the theatre.

Various attempts were made to regain its former commercial success, including the 1920s installation of cinema equipment and a 1938 ice show. Income could not keep pace with the cost of maintenance, and by 1971 the Isle of Man government acquired the freehold of the now dilapidated building. In 1976 the restoration began under the direction of architect Victor Glasstone.

The theatre has undergone further restoration beginning in the 1990s and was largely restored to its 1900 opening condition, in time for the centenary celebration in 2000.[1] Exactly 100 years after opening, on 16 July 2000, the centenary was celebrated with a performance of "The Telephone Girl" which opened the Gaiety in 1900. Following that came a performance of "The Corsican Brothers", a play which was popular in Victorian times and a special Corsican Trap was constructed for that performance. It is believed to be the only working Corsican Trap in the World.[2]

Another unique feature of the theatre is the working Act Drop depicting a dancing lady.

Today the theatre continues with productions by local companies and touring productions of musicals, drama and opera. It now forms a part of the Villa Marina complex, together with a nearby 1,500 seat auditorium.

The Gaiety theatre featured on an Isle of Man 24p commemorative stamp, in 1994.[3]

In February 2008, The Gaiety played host to Hollywood movie Me and Orson Welles, starring Zac Efron and Claire Danes. The Gaiety replicates the Mercury Theatre in New York in 1937.

In November 2013 'Glee Live On Stage' was produced at The Gaiety Theatre with an all professional cast. The cast included Wayne Rodgers, Jodie-Lee Wilde, Jarred Page, Kimberley Ensor, Clark Devlin, Jordan Fox, Ruth Morrison, Rachael McCormick, Ellena Leigh, Adam Shorey, Wesley Dow & Leah Shears. Every night at the Theatre a different school choir from around the island was brought on stage to sing selected songs with the cast.

References

  1. ^ a b (Gaiety Theatre, Isle of Man)A brief theatre history accessed 24 Nov 2007
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ (Flags on Stamps)1994 Manx tourism centenary accessed 24 Nov 2007

External links

  • Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre Website
  • Unofficial Theatre website

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