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Palladium Marks Centenary, Renovations & Tours

Andrew Lloyd Webber and a host of celebrities today (12 October 2010) gathered to mark the centenary of the London Palladium, which opened on Boxing Day 1910, with a celebration attended by Michael Ball, Lesley Garrett, Elaine Paige and Jonathan Pryce amongst a host of famous guests who have graced the venue's famous stage.

In addition to a toast and the cutting of a specially commissioned cake – an edible replica of the theatre sculpted by cake artist Rachel Mount - Bruce Forsyth, who hosted Sunday Night at the London Palladium, joined Lloyd Webber in unveiling a commemorative plaque in the Palladium’s foyer in recognition of the building’s past.

Lloyd Webber also announced plans for the complete refurbishment of the front of house areas of the theatre, with building work starting as soon as current tenants Sister Act finish their run on 30 October 2010.

The work, which includes repairing and refurbishing the entrance facade, creating a new box office area with direct access to the theatre and installing a lift to improve accessibility to the stalls and toilets, will be completed before the first preview of The Wizard of Oz on 7 February 2011. The show, which opens on 1 March 2011, stars Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Dorothy and recently announced Michael Crawford as the Wizard.

Plans for the theatre also include converting the current box office into three new function spaces, the grandest of which will have the historic roof light reinstated and a new spiral staircase will link it directly with the existing bar.

Speaking at the celebrations Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “today’s celebration is about recognising the rich history of this wonderful theatre and the fantastic performers who have graced its stage. It is also about the beginning of the biggest programme of refurbishment and change in the Palladium’s history and I’m delighted to announce the restoration of the iconic revolving stage and plans for the complete refurbishment of the front of house areas.”

Also to celebrate the theatre's centenary, a series of guided tours have been announced, which will take in displays of memorabilia throughout the building, celebrating its heritage and the major stars that have appeared on stage, as well as areas not usually open to the public. The tours, which may vary according to the building’s daily activities, will run on select dates between 13 October and 29 October 2010, taking an hour and a half to complete.

The London Palladium is a theatre with a varied history, including music hall, variety, revue and pantomime performances, as well as the large-scale musicals which continue to entertain theatregoers today. As well as hosting more Royal Variety Performances than any other theatre, the venue was made famous by television show Sunday Night at the London Palladium which showcased the venue's revolving stage in its finale.

The Palladium is currently home to Sister Act the stage adaptation of the 1992 film which starred Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg now co-produces the musical, which stars Whatsonstage.com Award winner Patina Miller as Deloris van Cartier, the lounge singer put in protective custody in a convent after witnessing a murder. Rumours had circulated that the musical would move from the Palladium into a new West End home, but pulled forwards its closing date to 30 October before announcing it would open in New York on 20 April (previews from 24 March 2011) at the Broadway Theatre.


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