Nottingham - The Show Must Go On
w/e 19 March 2006
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Leo Sayer has recently been at the top of the charts again with a version of his 1977 hit 'Thunder In My Heart' but four years before that, his first success on record was 'The Show Must Go On'. That's pretty much been the case in Nottingham too for despite severe disruption caused by many building projects, road alterations and the construction of the Light Transit Railway (that's the Tram to you and me) the theatres in the city have ensured that the show has gone on and they have been the inspiration to this set of images.

Nottingham Playhouse

The Nottingham Playhouse began life in 1948 in a converted cinema in Goldsmith Street and built itself a national reputation for the excellence of its productions. It was recognised in the 1950s that better premises were a prime requisite and the City Council built the present Playhouse designed by the award winning architect Peter Moro. It opened in 1963 and gained Grade II* listed status in 1996 in recognition of its outstanding Albert Hallarchitectural quality. In 2004 funds raised from grants and various other sources were used to create a new bar and restaurant 'Cast' seen above and a new education space. Outside the Playhouse and also shown above is Anish Kapoor's sculpture , the 'Sky Mirror'. The Albert Hall (right) standing next to the Playhouse is a centre for conferences and exhibitions and also stages orchestral and choral concerts. The Hall is home to the 'Binns Organ' which has been restored and is now in full working order. The organ, given to the City of Nottingham by Sir Jesse Boot, was built in the Albert Hall Methodist Mission by J. J. Binns in 1909.
Theatre Royal

A major road realignment and the construction of the tram system has created a pleasant open space in front of the Theatre Royal but the facade with its Corinthian columns still looks very similar to when it first opened in 1865. In the early days it staged music hall and variety shows, opera, drama, and by the twenties and thirties of the last century it was staging musicals and pantomimes. Its heyday seemed to have passed by the late 1960s but it was purchased by the City Council in 1969 and restoration work begun so that when it reopened in 1978 it featured facilities that have made it one of the best touring venues in the country.
Royal Concert Hall

The success of the Theatre Royal's restoration led to the second phase of the project which saw the Royal Concert Hall being built between 1980 and 1982 on the site of the old Empire Theatre of Varieties. The Empire originally stood alongside the Theatre Royal and opened in 1898 on the site of the Royal's old dressing rooms. For sixty years until its closure in 1958, the Empire hosted more risque shows than its The Corner Houseneighbour and such stars as Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd topped the bill. It was finally demolished in 1969. Now opposite the Royal Concert Hall and seen in the reflection above and also in the small image right, is one of Nottingham's newest entertainment centres, the Corner House. Built on the former site of the local newspaper, the Nottingham Evening Post, it is promoted as being the city's 'Leading Leisure and Entertainment Destination' with bars, restaurants, computer gaming, shops, nightclubs, health, beauty and fitness centres. Not quite 'theatre' in the same sense as the Royal or the Playhouse but the complex also includes a multi-screen cinema.
Arts Theatre

The Co-operative Arts Theatre officially opened its doors in 1948, the same year as the Nottingham Playhouse on Goldsmith Street, although the actual Theatrical Society traces its roots back to the Co-operative Choir in the early 1900s. An accompanying drama group calling itself The People's Theatre was formed in 1944 and gave performances in the Co-operative Hall in Parliament Street. As the group's popularity grew the department store's Directors purchased the George Street Baptist Chapel for use as a cultural centre and since then, it has not only become well established in the local community but is also used by both amateur and professional visiting groups to stage plays, operas, musicals, revues and pantomimes. Last week's production was Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Pirates Of Penzance'.
Lace Market Theatre

Another amateur group operates in a small theatre tucked away in a narrow street in the Lace Market area not far from the city centre. The theatre appropriately called the Lace Market Theatre is owned and operated by a registered charity and produces a varied programme of drama, comedy and musicals. There is also a Youth Section for 11 to 18 year olds running a number of activities including regular Drama Workshops.
Djanogly Theatre

Our final port of call on this whistle stop tour of Nottingham's theatreland is at Highfields Park. This is the University of Nottingham's public arts facility, Lakeside. The centre is situated in the D. H. Lawrence Pavilion (inset) and includes a restaurant, galleries and the Djanogly Theatre which has seating for 250 people. Year round events include exhibitions, drama, music, ballet, comedy, contemporary dance, visual art, literary and family events, cinema and workshop activities for children and young people. So whatever your taste, there is something to suit everyone within easy reach of the city centre and as Leo Sayer sang:'The Show Must Go On'.

Each of the theatres featured on this page has a website and you can find out more about them and their current productions by following these links:
Nottingham Playhouse - The Albert Hall
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall - The Corner House
The Arts Theatre - The Lace Market Theatre
Lakeside & the Djanogly Theatre

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