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Many of Britain’s now offer audiences the opportunity of back stage tours. But there is one theatre in its capitol that presents a visit which excels—the famous London Palladium.

On one day each month, this stunning Grade 2* listed Frank Matcham designed theatre, opens its doors up to the public who want to explore its ‘living’ history.

Standing on an important theatrical site, the ‘grand old lady’ of Argyll Street is enjoyed by audiences the world over; and for artistes who have appeared on stage there, it has been the highlight of their lives.

For theatre devotees, back stage tours are a ‘must’ for young and old—an experience to be savoured. But just to tread its boards on stage is a privilege and an honour.

When OT visited the theatre at the end of last year, we asked to join a tour to get visitors’ reactions on their experience. Everyone we spoke to described their visit as ‘amazing’ and ‘fantastic’.

The party gathered in the theatre foyer before being welcomed by tour guide, Mark Fox, Advertising Manager of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company, who explained the history of the site and the construction of Matcham’s theatre in 1910 which retains the façade of an earlier hall of entertainment for Hengler’s Circus, a National Skating Palace and a Corinthian Bazaar.

A mine of information, Mark clearly enjoys being a ‘tour de force’ as, accompanied by his ushers—(some of the great theatre’s former Tiller Girls)—he invited his party to join him in the theatre’s lounge and in the stalls best seats!

The moment to go through the pass door on to the stage was a wonderful highlight as the group stood in awe, seeing the stars first sight of an audience as they walk on to make their first entrance.

(Published by permission from Old Theatres Magazine.)
OLD THEATRES magazine is recognised as Britain’s most unique magazine for everyone who appreciates the value of our country’s wonderful halls of entertainment and the artistes who have trod their boards. It features ‘lost’ theatres, old theatres which have been restored, stories of artistes’ experiences in them, together with extra information which is not normally obtainable in other theatre publications. Each highly collectable edition contains over 100 rare illustrations and articles about theatres past and present, enabling subscribers to go behind the scenes to see how they operate, and read their histories and hopes for the future.

More details about Britain’s OLD THEATRES magazine can be seen on their web pages www.oldtheatres.co.uk or email OLD THEATRES directly at  oldtheatres@googlemail.com.

One Comment

  1. The Palladium is one of the more complicated theaters I have seen. The maze of various entries and lobbies on different levels. Then you are suddenly in the auditorium and it is not facing where you think it should. Hugely wide and not as deep as expected. But Frank Matchum created another masterpiece. His grave may be visited in Highgate Cemetery South.

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