Alexandra Palace restoration
Bringing the Victorian-era East Wing back to its full splendor and creating a world tourist attraction
Our team of Grade 2 and heritage experts are restoring Darlington's 109-year-old theatre back to its former glory; creating a bigger and better entertainment venue.
This stage has hosted some of the biggest acts in showbiz
The theatre was built in 1907 and opened its doors as the New Hippodrome & Palace of Varieties. It was soon established as a premiere music hall, attracting internationally acclaimed artists such as the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Over the years more famous names have appeared, including Tommy Cooper, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rex Harrison, Dame Vera Lynn and Mickey Rooney
The tired facility now needs a major overhaul and we are going to enlarge seating capacity, improve backstage facilities, introduce a new restaurant area and a grand entrance, transform the neighbouring former fire station into a children’s theatre, and sweep away a century of add-ons and extensions.
Seating capacity will be enlarged
Procured via Scape Group under its Major Works framework for better efficiency, it follows similar projects of cultural significance we are involved in, including restoring Alexandra Palace, creating the History Centre in Plymouth and fitting out the Design Museum’s new home.
It also underlines a trend by local authorities to invest in their heritage properties and bring Grade 2 listed buildings back to full use again to increase revenue streams.
When complete, the newly named Hippodrome will become a key destination for the region, with greater legroom on the seats, improved sightlines and a fully functioning 1,000 seat auditorium. Also, a new entrance will create a buzz along with better back stage areas to accommodate larger touring shows.
Little has changed in 100 years - until now!
Importantly, we’re also preserving the theatre's heritage by restoring much of its Edwardian features, with a heritage gallery offering a permanent record of the theatre’s colourful history.
In addition to the improvements, our restoration will be complemented by the creation of a 150-seat studio theatre called The Hullaballoon, funded by Arts Council England and Darlington Council. Connecting the Civic theatre to the neighbouring Edwardian former fire station, this will be a flagship theatre for children offering opportunities for collaborative working with the Civic by staging events specifically for children, young people and families.
The local paper meets our team on site
The theatre closed in May 2016 and will reopen in autumn 2017, under the new name of Darlington Hippodrome.
Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure:
“Residents can rest assured that, behind the scenes, work is underway to transform this wonderful venue into an even bigger player on the regional theatre stage. It will lead to a host of improvements to the iconic venue including better disabled access and larger bar area.
Bebe House, Dukesway, Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
0191 482 4824