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Neil Sean meets Ann Montini who talks about the Huddersfield Palace Theatre and shares her never before seen photos of the Theatre

Neil Sean's exclusive interviews for this site - Des O'Connor - Alan Scott - Mike Winters - Ann Montini

Anne Montini - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.Ann Montini (shown right) is a Theatre producer and one time variety artiste. Along with her on stage partner Alan Scott, she shares her memories and pictures of the Huddersfield Palace, which is soon to be converted into student flats. While the outside will remain the same what will the students think to living in dressing rooms once frequented by the likes of Billy Cotton, Tommy Cooper and Hylda Baker...?

The Huddersfield Palace Upper Circle in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.Alan’s first ever memory of the Palace Theatre in Huddersfield was to see the late great man of magic Tommy Cooper, "even then you could tell he was going to be a huge star.

Left - The Huddersfield Palace Upper Circle in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

The Palace was a good date but looking at it now you can see how they would have tried out new comics at the Theatre... It had a magical feel to it... Very swish and certainly a venue that any self-respecting act would want to play."

The Huddersfield Palace Upper Circle in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.Ann Montini is a Theatre producer, agent and singing teacher, and she, along with Alan, played the Palace in the dying days of variety but they both got together in the early noughties to stage a reunion of those who had worked and appeared there for a planned documentar.

Right - The Huddersfield Palace Upper Circle in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

The Huddersfield Palace Boiler room in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.Ann reveals, "At this stage the Theatre was closed and I believe that a local church group used an element of it to worship but it was adhoc and all that.

Left - The Huddersfield Palace Boiler room in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

We were lucky enough to be given a tour of the venue which brought back so many happy memories... Both Alan and Myself could not believe how little had changed and although it had been a bingo hall and then a fast food restaurant chain it basically could have easily been whipped back into a Theatre..."

The Huddersfield Palace while in use as a Bingo Hall - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

Above - The Huddersfield Palace while in use as a Bingo Hall - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

"As we toured the upper circle everything was there, the red plush seating… old programmes and of course dust… there is nothing like an unused Theatre to evoke a slight feel of a horror film is there? The creaking floor and the old Lyon’s Maid Ice cream stand which, looking at it, was well used and had no doubt seen many a happy smiling face as they waited for the star turn to come on and make them laugh, all before heading out into the night for a bag of chips and the bus ride home… The place was full of them."

The Huddersfield Palace Upper Circle full of debris in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

Above - The Huddersfield Palace Upper Circle full of debris in the early 2000s - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

Ann also recalls how Alan was actually offered a position of assistant manager at the Theatre in the late 50’s... "He was a regular to see all the shows as by this point he was also a booking agent himself, so he was like a Simon Cowell if you like, looking for new acts and of course cheap acts that he could fill his own Theatre with... he used to have a drink with the manager at the bar and then it happened. 'How would you like to work for the McNaughton group of Theatres?'" Alan recalls, "At that time I was an apprentice also during the day so to be offered such a great job was wonderful but I was too hesitant to accept knowing that 'showbiz won’t provide a trade' as my mother would say..."

The Huddersfield Palace Auditorium in the early 2000s showing the Projector Room and, to the left, the Manager's office, complete with 1950’s Bill inside - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

Above - The Huddersfield Palace Auditorium in the early 2000s showing the Projector Room and, to the left, the Manager's office, complete with 1950’s Bill inside - Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

Alan also remembers the Theatre being turned into the continental in which the stalls were removed to be replaced by tables and chairs with food being served, but as he adds, "It was rather dubious as folk then just were used to taking sandwiches and fruit so what was this new-fangled stuff being served like Chicken in a basket…?" The concept though, he agrees, was, "way ahead if its time but let’s just say the kitchens led a lot to be desired, being an old dressing room that was converted."

This Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. All Images Courtesy Maycon Pictures / Ann Montini / Alan Scott.

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