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Watford Palace Theatre

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Watford Palace Theatre

Watford Palace Theatre
Watford Palace Theatre from the outside in 2008

Watford Palace Theatre, opened in 1908, is an Edwardian Grade II listed building on Clarendon Road, Watford. The 600-seat theatre was refurbished in 2004. It houses its own rehearsal room, wardrobe, cafe and bar.

History

The theatre was originally built for the Watford Hippodrome Co., Ltd. The foundation stone of what was to become the Palace Theatre was laid on 3 June 1908. Five days later Mr H.M. Theobald, the architect, lodged the notification of his intention to build the theatre. Construction was undertaken by Barker Brothers of Maidenhead, and took six months, opening on 14 December 1908. The opening proprietors were the Watford Palace of Varieties Co., the Managing Director: Mr. T.M. Sylvester.

In early days it put on variety shows and plays, mostly imported from other theatres. Variety artists who appeared at the Palace included Marie Lloyd, Evie Greene and Lottie Lennox.

In September 2004 the theatre re-opened after a two year £8.8million Lottery funded refurbishment, which included more public space, two bars, a daytime café, air cooling and new seating. Access to the building was improved by the introduction of a lift to all levels, ramps and automated front doors.

Productions

The theatre has been producing work for over 100 years. Alongside touring productions, the theatre provides programmes in new writing.[1]

Recently, the Palace has received critical acclaim for its productions of Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran's Von Ribbentrops Watch (2010), Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (2010) and Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should (2009). Work created at Watford Palace Theatre regularly tours nationally and recent collaborations include co-productions of The Human Comedy with the Opera Group and the Young Vic, which was nominated for the Evening Standard award for Best Musical, Stickman with Scamp which toured internationally and played at London’s Soho Theatre and Tintin with the Young Vic, which toured nationally before transferring to the West End.

Watford Palace Theatre shows films and 'live' and 'as live' streams of opera and ballet, during its theatre season.

Community

In 2010 the Palace began a series of Community Celebrations organised with local people to celebrate yearly landmarks, including events for Chinese New Year, Vaisakhi, Eid, Black History Month and Diwali. The theatre provides a year-round programme for Palace and Hertfordshire County Youth Theatres, adult workshops, backstage tours, a community choir and work with local schools.

References

  1. ^ http://www.hertsdirect.org/comdirectory/comvol/visit2y/vncini3y/735173

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