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The following books and magazines are highly recommended for anyone interested in Theatre architecture and the history of Theatres and Music Halls, past and present.

 

The Theatres Trust Guide to British Theatres


Click here to buy this book at Amazon.co.uk
Please note that I have been generously granted permission to use some extracts from the indispensable book 'The Theatres Trust Guide To British Theatres 1750 -1950, John Earl & Michael Sell',on this website. However, these extracts are copyright and should not be furthur re-produced without the express permission of the Publishers.The book is available from the publishers, A&C Black (tel 01480 212666).

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

 

British Theatres and Music Halls

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.co.ukThis book outlines the history of theatres and music halls from the late sixteenth century to the present time, noting changing fashions in entertainment and evolving official attitudes to safety that have, at various times, influenced the architectural character of the buildings. Particular attention is given to the thirty-five years before the First World War, when music hall and variety entertainment developed rapidly, accompanied by a masive surge in theatre building. The account is enlivened with illustrations of theatres, their architects and their audiences.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

After The pictuires by Keith G. Rose.

Buy 'After The Pictures' by Keith G. Rose at Amazon.co.ukKeith Rose, who has been a regular contributor to this site over the years, has spent the last 5 years creating an almost encyclopedic history of Liverpool's Cinemas for this new book, 'After the Pictures', which is a wonderful collection of historical information and images for Liverpool's Cinemas, and some Theatres which were turned over to Cinema use, most of which are now lost to memory. The book has a a vast amount of wonderful historic images and is Highly Recommended.

The book's summary reads: The number of cinemas in the Liverpool area peaked at over ninety and this book tells the story of the rise and fall of them, plus their eventual fate. An A to Z gallery of the picture houses gives brief details of each one, along with external, internal views and ephemera. As a bonus there are four case studies, which detail the politics behind their creation and the reasons for their demise.

With hundreds of pictures, some in colour, plus line drawings and paperwork, this is a must for anybody who was a cinemagoer, or who just wants to see what we had and then lost. Five years in the making, this is the end product to share the memories of a vanished era.

After The Pictures by Keith G. Rose is Published by Alba Printers Ltd. Dumfries, Scotland Softback, 193 pages, A4, ISBN 13:978-0-9554737-2-2 Price £16. 99. Buy this book at Amzon.co.uk.

 

Britain Had Talent A History of Variety Theatre by Oliver Double

Britain Had Talent by Oliver Double - Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.ukThis new book by Oliver Double on the history of Variety Theatre will be of interest to anyone who remembers it, or would like to know more about it. It covers the whole period from its early beginnings as the successor to Music Hall, right up to its demise in the 50s and 60s, and the beginning of Television's dominance over it. There are two main sections to the book, firstly the history of variety itself, and secondly what it consisted of, and the personalities who made it happen. There is also a small section entitled 'Variety Now' which explains how the form is still hanging on in various ways and places against all the odds. Although the book is mainly textual it does have some nice illustrations and there is a wealth of well indexed information here from someone who really knows variety inside out, highly recommended.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

The book is published by Pelgrave Macmillan and the jacket's 'blurb' follows:

'In the first half of the twentieth century, variety theatre ran through the centre of British cultural life like the lettering in seaside rock. Hundreds and thousands of people up and down the country flocked to fill Hippodromes, Empires and Palaces to see a string of variety acts. From singers to acrobats, jugglers to comics, dancers to ventriloquists, magicians to performing animals and nude acts, the variety show packed out twice nightly shows, six days a week at its height.

Britain Had Talent tells the fascinating story of variety theatre, tracing its origins from the low-lit taverns of the Victorian era, how it evolved in the face of competition from cinema and radio, through to its decline during the 1950s.

A Legacy for now - Oliver Double provides an engaging, vivid and detailed history of variety and explores its performance dynamics and techniques. The resilience and versatility of variety theatre is a testament to its place in popular culture and Double ably demonstrates the strength of variety's legacy with its influences on the birth of stand-up, the rock gig, acts like punk singer Ian Drury — not to mention providing the basic template for the current hit TV show Britain's Got Talent.

A rich line-up - Former comedian Oliver Double has drawn on a wealth of research materials including rare footage, contemporary reviews, trade magazines and antique theatre programmes — and has interviewed veteran performers like Vera Lynn, Ronnie Ronalde, the Beverley Sisters, Roy Hudd, Barry Cryer, and the glamorous strongwoman Joan Rhodes — to create a lively and detailed account of this fascinating and phenomenally popular theatre form.'

 

The Alhambra Glasgow by Graeme Smith

The complete history of the Glasgow Alhambra is told for the first time, in full colour, with 400 illustrations, in this new quality-bound softback book by Graeme Smith and is highly recommended.Famous for glamour and humour, variety, pantomime, musicals, ballet, opera, drama and dance the immense ALHAMBRA THEATRE stayed ahead of other theatres. Opening in 1910, at the corner of Waterloo Street and Wellington Street, and designed by eminent architect Sir John James Burnet, its managing director Sir Alfred Butt gave “the best of European and American Vaudeville attractions” in the “Resort of the Elite.” Its founders supported cinema, jazz, cabaret and ballrooms.

The complete history of the Glasgow Alhambra is told for the first time, in full colour, with 400 illustrations, in this new quality-bound softback book by Graeme Smith and is highly recommended.

The book is priced just £20 and can be found in all good bookstores and online at the book`s own website www.glasgowalhambra.co.uk

ISBN 978-0955942013

Graeme Smith is also the author of the book 'The Theatre Royal Entertaining A Nation' shown below.

 

The Theatre Royal Entertaining A Nation by Graeme SmithThe Theatre Royal Entertaining A Nation by Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith's book 'The Theatre Royal, Entertaining A Nation' - From Cowcaddens to the Colosseum, from Hope Street to Hollywood... for entertainment, drama, pantomime, music and song, this is the fascinating story, fully illustrated, of the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

Available from www.glasgowtheatreroyal.co.uk for £19.95 Post Free.

Graeme Smith is also the author of the book 'Alhambra Glasgow' shown above.

 

A THEATRE FOR ALL SEASONS The History of the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

A THEATRE FOR ALL SEASONS The History of the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham This new book by Michael Hasted with a foreword by Steven Berkoff will be published on the 30th of September 2011 by Northern Arts Publications, an imprint of Jeremy Mills Publishing Ltd.

Hardback, 196 pages, lavishly illustrated with more than 200 pictures, full colour throughout. Price £17.99.

ISBN 9781906600617

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

More information about the book is available at its website here.

 

 

Coventry's Forgotten Theatre: The Theatre Royal and Empire

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.co.ukTed Bottle is the author of 'Coventry's Forgotten Theatre, The Theatre Royal and Empire' published by Badger Press, in which he describes the Theatre's fascinating history in detail and includes glimpses of other Coventry Theatres and Music Halls, with an informative background of nineteenth Century English Provincial Theatre.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

 

Mr Phipp's Theatre: The Sensational Story of Eastbourne's Royal Hippodrome

Click the cover to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.I highly recommend this new book by Mark Jones and John Pick which describes in detail "The Sensational Story of Eastbourne's Royal Hippodrome" - formerly Eastbourne Theatre Royal. The books sets the story against a social history of the town and contains a Foreword by Peter Longman, director of The Theatres Trust

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

 

British Music Hall - An Illustrated History

Richard Anthony Baker's new 300 page illustrated book on British Music Hall comes highly recommended for newcomers and experts alike.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

 

Frank Matcham & Co

Frank Matcham & CoA New Book About The Famous Theatre Architect, Frank Matcham, edited by David Wilmore with an introduction by Alan Bennett and essays by John Earl, Görel Garlick, Iain Mackintosh, Andrew Saint, Michael Sell & David Wilmore. With 237 pages and over 100 illustrations in both colour and black and white the book is published by Theatreshire Books, Dacre Hall, Dacre, North Yorkshire, HG3 4ET. Hardback Price £30 + £5 p&p.

 

Scene/Unseen

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.co.ukThis new book celebrates the working buildings at the heart of the British theatrical industry. Focusing on the theatres in the West End, it looks at their architecture and history as well as examining what it is that constitutes a West End theatre.

Apart from the expected wonderful pictures of Auditoriums, and the Grand Entrances and Bars, this book has a plethora of pictures of the hidden areas inside London's West End Theatres, including The Grid, Fly Tower, Understage, Wardrobe, Stage Management Areas, Dressing Rooms, Stage Doors, Lighting and Sound, even a Thunder Run. Highly Recommended. M.L. 2004.

Click to buy the book at Amazon.co.uk.

 

A Boy From Nowhere

David Mitchell has contributed a number of interesting articles for this site over the years and his book of memories detailing the life of a boy born to a poor family in London’s East End Docklands is a fascinating read and full of first hand information. Included are descriptions of the conditions of poverty which existed in pre-war times in the East End, what life was like then, and how the situation changed when war was declared on 3rd September 1939. There are also many mentions of David's favourite East End Theatres and what went on in them. More information on David's own website here.

David Mitchell's 'A Boy From Nowhere' is available from Melrose Books or online from various distributors. - Click to buy this book at Amazon.co.uk.

 

Old Theatres of the Midlands

Terry Kirtland's 'Old Theatres of the Midlands,' with a foreword by Ken Dodd, is a fascinating and well illustrated book looking at the many Theatres, past and present, that have been part of the Midland's Theatrical scene. Terry details each Theatre's history and illustrates them with a plethora of wonderful images you probably won't have seen before. Highly recommended.

Available from the Old Theatres Website for £10 plus P&P.

 

Old Theatres Magazine

Following the success of Terry Kirtland's book 'Old Theatres of the Midlands' a new thrice yearly Magazine edited by Ted Bottle is now available by subscription at only £7 including UK post and packing. This Magazine is a must read for anyone interested in Theatre Architecture, Lost Theatres, and what went on in them. Packed with fascinating information and interesting photographs of Theatres that have, for the most part, disappeared into history. Terry talks about the latest edition below:

HERE’S A TASTE OF WHAT YOU WILL FIND IN THE CURRENT EDITION OF

OLD THEATRES MAGAZINE

(Winter Issue No. 16)

OLD THEATRES MAGAZINE (Winter  issue No. 16)Welcome to Britain’s ‘New Look’ OLD THEATRES magazine.

Our Winter 2013 Edition has something for everybody who love our valued halls of entertainment

Do get in touch! You will be made very welcome.

The Winter Edition of Britain’s cherished OLD THEATRES magazine (No. 16) is now available. With a great ‘new look’ and a record number of over 150 pictures, it is packed with information. It is certainly another great issue, recording theatres, past and present, together with readers reminiscences. Produced voluntarily by retired journalists, authors and historians, together with editorial help from its readers, this unique publication of theatre nostalgia continues to publicise our halls of entertainment so our theatre stock can be saved for future generations to enjoy. Every edition gets great reviews wherever it is seen, enabling information to be recorded for all time. Again, the magazine is packed with articles, features and memories within its 52 pages—each edition becoming part of our history and a handy reference source.

To purchase a copy of this latest edition (No.16) please send a cheque for £7 (payable toT.G. Kirtland) to us at 20, Rife Way, Felpham, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO22 7BW. (Payment includes UK postage and packing.)

(If you wish us to send this copy to a friend, be sure to make this clear to us by providing details of the delivery address.)

Further information is provided on our Web pages www.oldtheatres.co.uk

Do please contact us by E Mail, if possible: oldtheatres@googlemail.com.