Victoria Theatre (Halifax)
|Victoria Hall, The Civic Theatre|
|Address||2 Fountain Street
|Capacity||1,512 Seated (1,860 part-standing)|
The theatre was first opened on 8 February 1901, when it was known as the Victoria Hall. In 1960 the hall was purchased by Halifax Borough Council who, after an extensive alteration and repair programme, converted it into a theatre and changed the name to The New Victoria.
In 1973 the name was changed to The Civic Theatre, before being renamed The Victoria Theatre in 1993.
The main auditorium has a capacity of 1,512 fully seated (or 1,860 part-standing), and has hosted many high-profile and international performers in addition to supporting a wide range of local community events and activities. The building houses a large pipe organ built by William Hill in 1901 and later rebuilt by Rushworth & Dreaper when the hall received a proscenuim stage.
In 2004, British rock band Status Quo first performed at the theatre, and have made frequent visits to the venue. They returned on 12 October 2008 as part of their Pictures: 40 Years of Hits Tour 2008.
In 2006, the theatre hosted a number of famous acts, including Embrace, with tickets selling out in just four hours following the success of their 2006 FIFA World Cup anthem "World at Your Feet", and Morrissey, whose tickets sold out even faster. Elkie Brooks, Jo Brand, an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, the Chuckle Brothers and illusionist Derren Brown.
On 3 October 2007, Ian Brown played at the theatre to a sell-out crowd.
On 14 April 2012, the Victoria Theatre played host to a special production of Titanic performed by the Halifax Amateur Operatic Society. To mark the centennial of the sinking of the ship, the final performance of the run began at 11.40 p.m. – 100 years to the minute the Titanic hit the iceberg.
The annual pantomime is a big event for the theatre, produced by Coventry-based production company Imagine Theatre and written by the creative team behind The Tweenies. Recent pantomimes include Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Since 2009 the pantomimes have been headlined by actor, Neil Hurst. who has gone on to achieve notability in Halifax, West Yorkshire due to his involvement with these shows.
Calderdale Council invested in the theatre, performing major improvements to the theatre building, including new toilets and cloakrooms, rewiring and adding a VIP suite. The council also outfitted the stalls with new seats at a cost of £335,000.
According to theatre manager Tim Fagan, the work was performed over a ten-year period and, once the programme was completed the theatre received positive comments from the acts appearing on stage. The management team hope to stage some Agatha Christie adaptations, as well as possibly inviting the National Theatre Company or the Royal Shakespeare Company to perform. Mr. Fagan would also like to host more rock and pop events, and to support local musicians and bands. The theatre has been designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage.
- "Victoria Theatre". Calderdale Council. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- "Engelbert one of the highlights of my life...". Evening Courier (Halifax). 2007-12-07.
- "Status Quo rock back to Halifax". Evening Courier (Halifax). 2008-03-28.
- "Tour Dates 2008". Status Quo Official Site. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- "Top acts now attracted to revitalised Victoria Theatre". Evening Courier (Halifax). 2006-04-06.
- "Victoria Theatre faces cash crisis". Evening Courier (Halifax). 2006-11-27.
- "'I'm so proud of Victoria Theatre facelift'". Evening Courier (Halifax). 2007-11-07.
- Historic England. "The Victoria Theatre (1245344)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 September 2011.