Help save Ally Pally’s frozen Victorian Theatre
Written by: Victoria Highfield
Fancy watching performances in a theatre ‘frozen in time’? And before you start, no I’m not talking about some quirky new pop-up (although fantastic in their own right) that will only be around for a couple of summer months.
No, I’m talking about something a lot more enduring. The wonderful people at Alexandra Palace are in the process of restoring their own Victoria Theatre.
It’s been a well kept secret for 80 years but it’s finally being opened up to the public, so you can enjoy special performances, such as plays, musicals and concerts all under an incredibly ornate ceiling of one of London’s most prized possessions *insert dancing emoji here* But there is one small catch; they need your donations to make it happen!
The fundraising campaign has been launched to restore the theatre that was previously opened in 1875 and it contains all of the charm and mechanics of the Victorian era. If that’s not enough history for you then it’s even home to the original BBC radio and television mast which was installed in 1936 for the world’s first ever broadcast – impressive, right?
Almost £30 million has already been raised, including an £18.8 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the East Wing Restoration Project, and represents the biggest investment in the building for a generation. However a further £1m must be raised by the summer of 2017 in order to bring the Victorian Theatre, situated in the North East side of the building, back to life and functioning for 2018.
Once the work is completed, the theatre will have a capacity of 1,300 and will also boast a learning zone, cafe and bar; we all know Londoner’s love a good drink and a snack whatever the occasion! As well as food and drink, the BBC studios will be restored, and there are plans for a museum which will showcase Alexandra Palace’s historical role in popular entertainment.
This all sounds well and good, but how to you go about donating?
There are a range of donation opportunities ranging from those on a budget to those willing to splash the cash. A donation of £25 will see your name credited on Ally Pally’s donor board in the restored East court as well as your money going directly to the restoration project. Or if you fancy yourself as a bit of an art buff and have a spare £900 lying around (this one is probably for the smaller percentile of readers and definitely not myself!) this will get you a plaque *I should think so 😉* with your chosen name on one of the fixed seats in the balcony and a preview tour of the theatre. However don’t fret if you don’t have £25 to your name right now as any donation will be greatly received.
If you’re interested in donating or would like more info then please head to the Support Alexandra Palace website.
Photos via Alexandra Palace
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