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The theatre inside alexandra palace

Palace on a Hill

This December London’s Alexandra Palace Theatre reopens. The building’s story is unique. Opened in 1875, it was a spectacular playhouse, with audiences of up to 3,000 enjoying pantomime, opera, drama and ballet. The impressive Victorian stage machinery was designed so that performers could appear, fly into the air, then disappear through the stage. But it could not compete with West End theatres. The venue was turned into a cinema, a chapel, a music hall and finally a BBC prop store and workshop.

For eight decades it was closed to the public, a forgotten gem hidden on a hill high above the city. Now, following the £27m restoration of Ally Pally’s east wing, it’s back. The theatre will officially reopen on 1 December and the winter line up includes performances by Gareth Malone, jazz from Ronnie Scott and a run of the Horrible Histories Christmas show.