“I was stabbed at the Adelphi Theatre. I cannot rest.”: Nineteenth-Century Theatre Ghosts, an online talk

Southport’s THE ATKINSON arts centre presents an interesting-sounding talk via Zoom which is just right for the Halloween season.

At 7.00pm GMT on Wednesday 3rd November, learn about theatre ghosts from Dr Catherine Quirk, Lecturer in Drama, Creative Arts Department, Edge Hill University.

To many historians, the Victorians invented the theatre ghost. Innovations in theatre technology over the first half of the nineteenth century meant that ghosts, vampires, fairies—all things supernatural—were an expected part of the business of the stage. But what happens when those who play the ghosts refuse to exit on cue?

This talk will explore the technologies that allowed ghosts to appear on the nineteenth century stage, and will tell the stories of some ghostly figures who keep the nineteenth-century stage with us to this day. Why were the Victorians so fascinated by the spectacle of a spectre? And why won’t their spirits leave the theatre?

Tickets for the hour-long event are free to members of The Atkinson and £5 for others. You can find details here and book tickets here

BOOKING AND JOINING NOTES: Booking is required before 4pm on Wednesday 3 November. The talk will be presented using Zoom. You will receive an email invitation to join a Zoom meeting just after 4pm on Wednesday 3 November.


Stockton Globe offers free tours!

The huge public interest around Stockton Globe’s recent highly successful reopening has encouraged them to add some more free venue tours to their schedule, which are available to book now. Booking is compulsory for these tours.

The venue says “We’ve loved being able to welcome so many of you through our doors already and due to popular demand we’ll be running some additional tours of the Globe this month! Tours will be taking place this Monday 18th October and again in half term on 26th & 27th October.”

Tickets are free and available to book now at: https://atgtix.co/3FIBWuE


Theatres Trust requests “call-in” for Dudley Hippodrome demolition planning application

Theatres Trust has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to request “call-in” on the planning application to completely demolish the Dudley Hippodrome and the adjacent site.

The Secretary of State has the power to take over planning applications rather than letting the local authority decide.

The Trust comments in a statement: “Dudley Hippodrome has been on our Theatres at Risk Register since 2010 and is a building we consider could be viably returned to live performance and cultural use for the benefit of Dudley and its residents, contributing to rejuvenation of the town in the manner of similar opportunities in Bradford, Stockton-on-Tees and Walthamstow.

The application seeks complete demolition of this asset with construction of a replacement building for further and higher education use. However, Theatres Trust does not feel that sufficient consideration has been given to exploring options for retention and positive re-use of the building and there is a possible conflict of interest with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council determining its own application.

Furthermore, there are sustainability implications of demolition and reconstruction which are not consistent with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency. We have seen elsewhere that the calculated carbon cost for demolition and replacement can be twice that of retrofit, so the carbon cost of demolition of the Hippodrome and rebuilding anew requires recognition.

We await a response from the Secretary of State and continue to support the local group working to save the Hippodrome.”

For more information about the Dudley Hippodrome’s fight for survival, please see the main story here


Society for Theatre Research offers free online discussion

On Wednesday 20th October at 7.30-9.00pm BST, The Society for Theatre Research invites you to attend a free online discussion entitled “That Other British Asian Theatre: British East Asian and Southeast Asian Performance”, focusing on British East and Southeast Asian representation in theatre.

British East Asian and Southeast Asian theatre and performance are perhaps less well-known than theatre and performance created by British South Asian companies and artists. How are British East Asia and Southeast Asia represented by theatre-makers?  So, how has Asia been represented on the contemporary British stage? Increasingly more plays about Asians and on Asian themes have been produced at the National Theatre, the Arcola, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court and more.  There are a wealth of stories, histories and voices that are yet to be explored and told. Join theatre artists Kumiko Mendl and Kwong Loke in conversation.

Kumiko Mendl trained at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris. She is a founder-member of Yellow Earth Theatre Company (now New Earth Theatre), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020. Yellow Earth’s work includes Asian-themed work as well as new versions of European classics such as Miss Julie. Kumiko Mendl is Artistic Director of New Earth, whose work encompasses performance, community engagement and professional development for emerging actors.

Kwong Loke trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is an actor and director.  He was a founder-member of Yellow Earth Theatre Company and of Stone Crabs Theatre, focusing on intercultural performance. Kwong Loke has appeared in The Great Wave (National Theatre), and Pah-La (Royal Court).  He teaches acting and directing in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as directing at drama conservatories.

To book your free ticket to this Zoom event, please find booking and further details here


Mirth, Mayhem and Marvel: A Brief Introduction to Music Halls – from the Historic England blog

Wilton’s Music Hall. London

England’s long history of building grand indoor spaces for socialising and entertainment began with the music halls of the early Victorian era. Originating as an extension of the saloon bars of local pubs and taverns, music halls developed their own style of variety performance, producing a number of big name acts who frequented the circuit, which was widespread across the UK and enjoyed a formidable longevity of popularity.

Now sadly very rare to find, some notable survivors are discussed in this Historic England blog which is an entertaining read in itself.

Find the blog here