Raising the dead

Comedy show reopens 'ghost' theatre

An abandoned Victorian theatre that has lain unused for more than 70 years is to be opened to the public - for a cult late-night stand-up show.

Andrew Maxwell is to host a special version of his spooky Fullmooners show at the theatre inside Alexandra Palace on November 24.

The venue originally opened in 1875, with a capacity of around 2,000. Many leading actors of the age, including Beerbohm Tree and Ellen Terry, appeared on the stage.

It was most famous for grand pantomimes and spectacles, and boasts an extraordinary system of trapdoors and flys, operated by wheels and counterweights, which were used to create dramatic visual effects. The machinery is believed to be unique in a public theatre in Europe.

But it closed in since 1936 and has since fallen semi-derelict, having been used to store BBC scenery, props and equipment.

However, moves are now afoot to restore the venue to its former glory, starting with the Fullmooners show.

Actress Juliet Stevenson, who is backing the campaign to restore the site, said: ‘I was amazed to discover that such a beautiful theatre existed inside Alexandra Palace. It is a fascinating site with an intriguing history.’

Acts already confirmed for the gig, taking place on the night of a full moon, include Ed Byrne, We Are Klang, Phil Nichol and Peter Serafinowicz. Click here for tickets.

Fullmooners, which also features hip-hop dancers, singer Lady Carol and ‘concierge’ Sir Tim FitzHigham, usually runs at London’s Comedy Store. Here’s a promotional video giving directions to the Alexandra Palace venue.

Published: 5 Nov 2007

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