The Alexandra Palace Theatre has finally reopened its doors in recent weeks, after an amazing restoration project helped to restore the stunning original features and ensure a grand opening, 80 years after it last closed its doors to the public. Restoration projects for historic buildings such as this are always complex and difficult projects to undertake and it has been a careful process.
The theatre was first opened in 1875 and was home to some of the most advanced productions of the era for opera ballet, music and panto. It was also a space that was used as a chapel during the First World War and a prop store for the BBC at a time when it was the corporation’s headquarters. The restoration project has been a thorough one, with a large portion of the original Victorian features uncovered and restored to its original glory. This includes the original brick and paintwork.
Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust (APPCT) unveiled the restoration work for the Theatre and East Court in time for the opening events in early December. The National Lottery and Haringey Council supported the East Wing Restoration Project, putting forward £18.8 million of the £27 million project total. This is one of the largest ever lottery grants for a heritage restoration project.
Alongside the restoration of the theatre there are plans to build a new creative learning zone and café within the East Court, in order to ensure the space is used throughout the day and all-year round, and not just as a venue at night and at certain times of the year. An interactive installation is also planned to highlight the role of the Palace in the history of British entertainment. The larger Alexandra Palace is surrounded by Grade II listed parkland that ranges 196 acres in size.
The development and restoration is hoped to open up the space as a hidden gem that the people of London would not have necessarily been aware of, as well as enticing tourists and visitors from further afield.
Whenever work is required to restore an historic building, or heritage property, it is vital that the design and work is undertaken by a professional company that has history of delivering high concept, high quality design and restoration where the finest of details matters. Theatres first built in the 19th century, such as the Alexandra Palace Theatre come with plenty of historical features that should be enjoyed by the public and therefore must be enhanced and made pride of place. With the design and the acoustic incredible with the newly reopened theatre it’s time to get down there in the New Year to see what all the fuss is about.
The Ally Pally Christmas Carnival ran at the venue until 16th December, and it has listings for Dylan Moran, Gareth Malone and Alfie Boe, before theatre runs next year. Richard III will be the first theatrical performance in the venue, opening in March 2019 as a Headlong and Bristol Old Vic collaboration.