It’s the first season at the Alexandra Palace theatre in 80 years.
It’s well established that London has a theatre scene other cities would kill for, and it’s about to get even better. Hidden in the heart of Ally Pally is a gorgeous Victorian theatre that once delighted Londoners. However, it fell into obscurity and disrepair, until a concerted effort to restore it was launched by Haringey Council. Now the Alexandra Palace theatre, the “oldest new theatre in town”, will be welcoming performers again by the year’s end.
The Alexandra Palace theatre certainly has a colourful life story to tell. When it opened in 1875, it was a revolutionary space, one of the first theatres in London to make use of stage tricks that allowed performers to fly and disappear through the stage. It hosted the big names of the day, starring in pantomimes, plays, and ballet, but the rise of the West End posed an existential threat. Since closing, the Alexandra Palace theatre has been employed as a cinema, a refugee centre, and as prop storage for the BBC. Until now, of course.
After an £18.8 million renovation which preserves the Victorian features, the theatre is ready to enter the 21st century. The Alexandra Palace theatre will make its first appearance during the BBC Proms on September 1st, before the season begins proper on December 1st. The theatre is promising a varied lineup, which includes a jazz concert by Ronnie Scott’s, standup from Dylan Moran, and a performance by TV choirmaster (and the heartthrob of mums everywhere) Gareth Malone.
Under wraps for now is the “major act” that will play the opening night. Meanwhile, harking back to the days of the Victorian variety show, December 2nd sees a gala hosted by Adam Hills, featuring music, circus, and comedy. The Victorians gave the world a lot of things that rightfully got left in the past. The Alexandra Palace theatre, thankfully, isn’t one of them.
Find out more about the work, along with details of the upcoming season, on the theatre website.
Also published on Medium.