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The Woolwich Granada Opening Souvenir Brochure

DOWN THE CENTURIES TO GRANADA

An illustrated article by Theodore Komisarjevsky who fashioned the interior decorations of the Woolwich Granada - From a souvenir brochure produced to celebrate the opening of the Theatre in 1937

Granada's Architects: Cecil Masey F.R.I.B.A. and R. H. Uren, A.R.I.B.A.

The Front Cover of the Woolwich Granada Souvenir Brochure - Granada Woolwich London England - The Most Romantic Theatre Ever Built

Above - The Front Cover of the Woolwich Granada Souvenir Brochure Granada Woolwich London England - The Most Romantic Theatre Ever Built.

DOWN THE CENTURIES TO GRANADAThe style of decoration I employed for Granada Woolwich is Gothic. The word "Gothic" comes from the name of an ancient people known as the Goths. The Goths were direful, hairy, unwashed, bellicose ruffians. In their crude buildings we find the first suggestions of what is known nowadays as Gothic architecture.

Various peoples in the East, less direful than the Goths and not so hairy and unwashed, stole some of their architectural ideas and embodied them in the own temples and palaces. The Mussulmans and the Byzantines adapted the eastern architectural achievements to their tastes and needs. The Crusaders on one side and the Moors on the other acquainted Europe with the beauty of Mahommedan buildings, and the mediaeval knights and barons, as well as the mediaeval churchmen, adapted the eastern architecture to their tastes and needs.

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Later on, when interest in Roman and Greek civilization was spreading throughout Italy, certain "classic" elements began to be incorporated in the canons of mediaeval architecture.

Everyone knows that there were no proper theatrical buildings at the times described, and it may seem absurd that I selected the Italian Gothic style, used mostly in churches, to decorate the interior of Granada Woolwich.

I had to adapt to modem tastes and needs what the unshaven and unwashed Goths invented, and what the Mussulmans, the Byzantines, the mediaeval barons and priests and the Italians, adapted to their tastes and needs. It goes without saying that those people had not the slightest notion of the necessity of the air in public buildings being "laundered in synthetic mountain streams" or having to feed the "thousands of pipes and twenty thousand other parts" that go to make up the "mighty Wurlitzer organ."

It was a laborious job to achieve all the necessary adaptations, but I thought it very worth while. The public that comes, as I hear, even from the Malay States to see Granada Woolwich is, I hope, in agreement with me. If there are a few grumblers who think that a "church style" doesn't suit a theatre, I'd like to point out to them that not only during the Gothic period in Europe, but before it in the East and after it in the Renaissance and Baroque times on the continent, the architectural decorations of churches did not differ greatly from those of places of amusement.

Houses of worship were not intended to be like cold and dismal drill halls or mortuaries. They were not meant to depress people. Churches were designed for "religious shows" which had the same origin as the shows of the "secular theatre." The aim of ecclesiastical architecture was to attract people, to offer them not only rows of pews in which to say their prayers but romantic relaxation and artistic pleasure amid surroundings of hope, colourful beauty and harmony.

Theodore Komisarjevsky

Theodore Komisarjevsky

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