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Palace Theatre’s past celebrated in new exhibition

Posted onPosted on 3rd Aug
Palace Theatre’s past celebrated in new exhibition

A new chance to explore the story of one of Newark’s favourite landmarks has opened in the town for a limited time.

Centre Stage: 100 Years of the Palace Theatre celebrates the centenary of the venue, its ground-breaking founder Emily Blagg and the stars who’ve appeared on its stage over the past century.

The exhibition was launched at an evening gala. Invited guests including local dignitaries and council members with representatives from local theatre groups, dance schools and the Wolfit Endowment Fund alongside staff and volunteers of the Theatre.

Also in attendance was Emily Blagg’s great, great nephew David Stephens, who said: “I am very grateful to the Palace Theatre and everyone involved with this exhibition for keeping Emily’s name alive. She was a woman before her time, an unappreciated fact, unappreciated by my own family, and it’s great to see that while she may be gone she is not forgotten. The key to immortality is to be remembered and Emily is being remembered in a very big way.”

The exhibition was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and was put together by the theatre’s team with help from local historian Vivienne Hall and the research of Palace volunteers.

Rosina Rosemary Gough, one of the volunteers who worked on the project, attended the launch and said: “I think this exhibition is absolutely fabulous. I particularly love the pantomime section because pantomime is what I really enjoy coming to the theatre for at the end of the year. The history is fascinating, when you look at the posters and see the people who’ve been here, it’s amazing, like any of the top theatres in the country. The whole thing is a triumph.”

The event also saw the unveiling of the stunning Patchwork Palace centenary quilts. The culmination of over a year of work, the project was co-ordinated by the Learning Team of the neighbouring National Civil War Centre and saw over 100 handcrafted patches submitted by members of the public, celebrating their cherished memories of the Theatre.

Julie Nicholson, another volunteer who helped with research for Centre Stage, said: “The patchworks are fantastic and depict the Theatre in so many ways, from the ushers to the audience, to people who’ve been here, it’s so imaginative!”

Manager of the Palace Theatre, Carys Coulton-Jones, delivered a speech at the event thanking everyone involved and remarked: “2020 was not the centenary we expected but it was a reminder of the way this theatre has stood at the heart of its community for the last 100 years and continues to entertain and support as we head into the next hundred.”

Centre Stage: 100 Years of the Palace Theatre is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm, until 7th August. Entry is free with donations gratefully received to the Our Past, Your Future Fund, supporting local young people who aspire to careers in the arts, and timed slots can be booked at