It's the Palace Theatre's 100th birthday in 2020 and we're celebrating our decades-long history as the hub of entertainment in Newark throughout the year.

While our celebrations haven't quite gone to plan, our team and some of our wonderful regular performers came together to put on a weekend of messages and performances on our Facebook page from the 3rd to the 5th July 2020. You can see the video which finished off the weekend below, featuring Kate Rusby, Steve Steinman, Beyond the Barricade, our sponsors Tallents Solicitors, Theatre of Widdershins, Poet in Residence for Newark Book Festival 2020 Leanne Moden and our team.

100 Years of History

On Monday 5th July 1920, this stunning venue opened its doors as a picture house built by local entrepreneur Emily Blagg, who, in a time when the suffragettes were fighting for female independence, had managed to carve out a successful career in property development. Having opened Newark's first cinema, the Kinema on Baldertongate, in 1913 as well as building The Park and Lime Grove, she made the decision to expand on her small empire and knocked down the Chauntry House to create her vision of the perfect art deco theatre.

Its Neo-Byzantine style was exotic, upmarket and fashionable and from its first screening, a version of King Solomon's Mines, it quickly became a popular haunt for the residents of Newark. Blagg was a shrewd businesswoman and, although she opened the Palace as a cinema, she made sure to fit it out with a sizeable stage and orchestra pit to allow for the possibility that the town's appetite for film might wane. And sure enough, within the year a strong programme of live events was in place.

Since then, a slew of famous names have tread the boards at the Palace. Sir Donald Wolfit began his stage career here in 1921 and returned with Miss Marple herself, Margaret Rutherford, and John Clements a decade later. In 1927, prima ballerina Anna Pavlova graced the stage and in 1950 Cliff Richard had Newark rocking away within its walls.

The theatre has given more than entertainment to the town over the years; its spectacular minarets proved the ideal lookout post for spotting fires during the Second World War.

Since then, the Palace has gone through many changes but has survived threats of closure thanks to the people of Newark, who've rallied on several occasions to save it. While the cinema is no more, the Theatre continues the tradition of hosting fantastic entertainment and bringing famous names to the town, which in recent years have included Jason Manford, Jimmy Carr, Joan Armatrading, Jason Donovan and more.

Our Past, Your Future Fund

To honour a century of being centre stage in Newark and to thank the local community for their lasting support, we are delighted to have launched a brand new legacy scheme: The Our Past, Your Future Fund. Hoping to give back to the fantastic local community, the fund's aim is to encourage and nurture Newark's young talent by offering scholarships and funding to people who aspire to careers in the arts. Applications are due to open in the autumn.

We will be raising money for the fund through a programme of special events including a fabulous community gala in July. Thanks to the kind support of Tallents Solicitors, we are able to commit all proceeds from this event to the fund.

Sponsor A Seat

As part of our centenary year and fundraising for the Our Past, Your Future Fund, we're delighted to have launched a new Sponsor A Seat initiative. This gives our theatre visitors the chance to make their mark on this stunning theatre's historic story as well as the opportunity to contribute to the Our Past, Your Future Fund. The perfect present for a theatre fan or special treat for yourself, sponsors will receive a sponsorship pack including a certificate and complimentary Palace Membership for the duration of your sponsorship.

Prices to Sponsor A Seat are as follows:

3 Year Sponsorship £150
5 Year Sponsorship £225
10 Year Sponsorship £400

Please contact Box Office on 01636 655755 or in person for more details.

Patchwork Palace

We've teamed up with the National Civil War Centre's Learning Team for a project to celebrate our centenary from home. We're calling all crafters to help remember some special times and get history all sewn up! You may not be able to visit the theatre, but you can help us to create our own little piece of history by getting involved in our community quilting project in 2020. 

We are hoping for some squares which build up a picture of the front of the theatre, and others which illustrate performances you have seen and happy times you have spent there.

How you sew your 6 inch square is up to you! Applique, cross stitch, tapestry, embroidery, machine stitched – it’s your choice. Use materials you already have to hand and put your own personality into your stitching. Tell your friends, and let’s make this really huge!

Find instructions here: Patchwork Palace Instructions (PDF File, 685kb)

If you have any questions or would like a bit more guidance, email civilwarlearninguk@gmail.com

Patterns:

Design A Dame

One of the many things we'll miss from panto this year is the jaw-dropping wardrobe of the Dame! Those bright, hilarious, OTT gowns really sum up the fabulous atmosphere of panto and we honestly can't go a year without these festive frocks making us smile. That's why we're asking you to design one!

Conjure up your most colourful, creative and crazy ideas on the template below and you could win a family ticket for next year's pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!

There are two prizes, one for children aged 7 and under and one for 8 to 13 year olds. Send your entry to palace@nsdc.info, making sure to tell us your name and age by 5pm on Wednesday 13th January and we'll announce the winners later in January.

Download and print the template here: Design A Dame Template (PDF File, 1,382kb)

Please note that any images entered may be shared and by sending them in you are agreeing to this. 

Find some inspiration in previous years' costumes:

Heritage Open Days 2020

Heritage Open Days is back from Friday 11th to Sunday 20th September and we're offering you the chance to take a trip behind the scenes of the 100 year old Palace Theatre… from the comfort of your home! In this online mini video tour, our team will reveal some of the Theatre’s fascinating secrets in its centenary year. Check our Facebook page during the Festival dates to watch!