The New Theatre in Abington Street, Northampton was designed by the respected Theatre Architect W. G. R Sprague and opened on the 9th of December 1912, the same night as The Theatre Royal, Guilford, with a Variety show, the highlight of which, according to the local paper of the time, was 'Smaragda's performing cat.'
Right - The auditorium of the New Theatre, Northampton circa 1947 - From a period New Theatre publicity handout. - Courtesy Alan Chudley who writes: 'While still a Sam Newsome house, the New Theatre staff rewired the Theatre. This image is showing the then new Strand Electric "S" type footlights. The black lamp in the centre of the footlights is an Ultra- Violet lamp widely used in Revue and pantomimes.
In 1939 Reginald Foort who was the staff organist at the BBC brought his Mollor Organ to the New Theatre for a week and it was apparently so huge that it required five giant Pantechnicon trucks to deliver it and the Gallery Entrance of the Theatre had to be excavated by three feet in order to get the largest part of the organ into the building, part of which weighed two tons. The job took twenty men from noon on the Sunday until 5pm on the Monday to complete and was only just ready for the evening performance by Mr. Foort. The instrument was later to become the BBC Theatre organ after its original Compton was destroyed in the war. Later the Organ was moved to the Methodist Church in Hoxton.
In its later years the New Theatre became a Number Two Variety house under Freddie Butterworth, but it did very poor business, and in its final years it staged mainly strip tease shows, thus earning the title of' 'The Newd Theatre.' The Theatre closed its doors for the last time after the last performance of 'Strip, Strip Hooray' in 1959. Its contents were then auctioned off before the building was demolished in 1960.
Right - A Bill for 'Strip! Strip! Hooray!' at the New Theatre in 1959, the last production at the Theatre before it closed - Courtesy Paul Bland.
Half a century later a Primark store now stands on the site of the former New Theatre, (See photo below.)
Chudley writes: 'The only time that I went to Northampton
was in 1967 when the late Osborne Robinson, the Northampton repertory
Company's resident designer was designing "Jack and the Beanstalk"
for use at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Left - A Programme for 'Sleeping Beauty' with Cyril Fletcher at the New Theatre, Northampton in December 1957 - Courtesy Susan Clarke.
Above - A strip of tickets for the New Theatre, Northampton which were retrieved from the floor of the Theatre by Alan Ashton, former projectionist at the Savoy Cinema, Northamptonin, in 1959 and during the auction of the New Theatre's assets before demolition.
Above - The New Theatre, Northampton - From an early 1900s Postcard.
Above - The Demolition of the New Theatre, Northampton - From a photograph taken on the 28th of January 1960 by Mr. S. Day of the Northampton Camera Club - Courtesy Paul Bland.
Above - The Site of the New Theatre, Northampton in 2008 - Courtesy Susan Clarke.
Below are some pictures of the demolition of the New Theatre which were published in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo in 1959 and were kindly sent in by Alan Ashton, former projectionist at the Savoy Cinema, Northampton.
Gradually disappearing is the vast span of the roof as timbers ripped off.
Forlornly, strips of the ceiling decoration now hang over the familiar proscenium painting.
The huge girder construction of the circle as seen from what was the circle bar.
The shambles at foot was front-row stalls.
Above - Pictures of the demolition of the New Theatre which were published in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo in 1959 and were kindly sent in by Alan Ashton, former projectionist at the Savoy Cinema, Northampton.
Northampton variety star Bertha Willmott pays a final visit to the doomed theatre where she was so often top-of-the-bill - From the Northampton Chronicle & Echo of 1959 - Courtesy Alan Ashton.
Above - Northampton variety star Bertha Willmott pays a final visit to the doomed theatre where she was so often top-of-the-bill - From the Northampton Chronicle & Echo of 1959 - Courtesy Alan Ashton, former projectionist at the Savoy Cinema, Northampton.
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