Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust (APPCT) has launched a public fundraising campaign to support the restoration of its stunning Victorian Theatre, dating back to 1875, bringing it back to life for theatrical performances, cinema screenings, comedy and live music, and set to open its doors in 2018.
The Victorian Theatre, which, apart from the occasional one off event, has been closed to audiences for 80 years, is part of a larger East Wing Restoration Project which will transform the eastern end of Alexandra Palace into a new cultural destination, to rival the best on offer elsewhere, while doing justice to the building’s rich and eclectic history. It is part of a sustainable, long-term plan for Alexandra Palace which will see it achieve its full potential and safeguard it for future generations.
Under the plans, the eastern end of the Palace, comprising the BBC Studios and the Victorian Theatre, will be repaired and refurbished, and the glazed East Court will become the Grand Hall it was designed to be, a space for the public and for exhibition. The overall project represents the largest investment in Alexandra Palace for a generation. Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is contributing £18.8m towards the project, while Haringey Council is contributing £6.8m. Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust have committed to raising the remaining £1m to enable the project to be completed.
Originally built as The People’s Palace, this campaign will enable people to contribute to a bright future for this much loved, iconic building. The website, support.alexandrapalace.com, will detail ways in which people can donate, from inclusion on a donors’ board to sponsoring theatre seats.
The theatre is an incredible piece of theatrical history, the existence of which is not widely known. It remains frozen in time, with much of the original décor and rare stage machinery still in place. It was created to showcase opera, musicals, plays and all kinds of entertainment – ‘wonder and spectacle’ for the people. It even hosted early cinema screenings.
Alexandra Palace bears witness to the vitality and exploration of the overlapping specialities of architecture, civil engineering, building and decorative arts in Victorian London. The Theatre is one of the most architecturally significant and historic parts of the entertainment complex and the auditorium remains remarkably intact, making it one of the oldest now surviving in London and is architecturally, historically and archaeologically of rare interest. The Trust is pleased to support the refurbishment of this important historic theatre to bring it back in to public use. The Theatres Trust
Working in conjunction with award-winning architects Studios and leading theatre designers Charcoalblue, the restoration plans will create an adaptable performance space for an audience of up to 1,300, while retaining the original character and feel of the theatre.
Louise Stewart, Chief Executive of Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust said:
“The theatre has been hidden away for over 80 years, which has created a unique and atmospheric space which you can’t fail to be moved by. Alexandra Palace is the original ‘Peoples Palace’, held in trust for the public to enjoy forever, so we are appealing to the public to help us to make sure that this truly wonderful space can once again delight and entertain them, the audience it was intended for.”
Every donation received will go directly towards the theatre’s restoration and will receive a permanent tribute for playing a part in transforming Alexandra Palace. A donation of £25 or more, will receive a credit on the donor board in the restored East Court; £100 gets both a name on the donor board and an exclusive preview tour of the theatre ahead of its public unveiling; £450 buys a plaque with your chosen name on one of the retractable seats in the stalls, as well as the donor board and preview tour and for £900 the theatre will place a plaque with your chosen name on the back of one of the fixed seats in the theatre circle.