As the Gaiety Theatre prepares for its 120th anniversary later this year, the Isle of Man Government is asking for people to share their memories and memorabilia.
Completed in 1899 the theatre opened its doors on 16 July 1900 with a West End production of 'The Telephone Girl' featuring Ada Blanche. Since then hundreds of thousands of people have been entertained by singers, dancers and actors from around the world.
The 860 seat theatre is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions but the VillaGaiety team has been busy creating an online memories page which will be launched on Thursday. Many past workers and performers have already shared memories which will be available to watch, listen and read immediately.
Now the VillaGaiety team want more performers and theatre goers to get involved and share their memories, whether it be singing to a packed house, a funny story from a show or simply what made them fall in love with the theatre.
The VillaGaiety team are also appealing for anyone with pictures, programmes or memorabilia to get in touch with plans to create a gallery as part of their anniversary celebrations in July.
Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture said:
‘At a time of social distancing and self-isolation it is more important than ever to remember the joy and excitement theatre has and will continue to bring to our community. This initiative is a wonderful opportunity for the public to reminisce and share memories of the many fantastic performances that have taken place in our theatre over the past 120 years.’
Emma Callin, Head of Villa Marina, Gaiety Theatre and the Arts said:
‘I know how attached many people in our community feel to our beautiful theatre and it is testament to that community performing and buying tickets for 120 years that we still have such a fantastic theatre in operation, especially for a small island. We would love to hear people’s memories and stories to help us celebrate community theatre engagement and look forward to a time when we can all enjoy it again.’