UK – London – Palladium

Dates: 26 December 1910 – present

Official website: http://www.reallyuseful.com/theatres/london-palladium/

Venue capacity: 2300 (Stalls, 1000; Royal Circle, 600). London’s 5th largest. 

One of the most famous variety venues in the world, the Palladium has been open and showcasing the finest acts and shows for over 100 years.

History

?date
Argyll House is constructed on what is now Argyll Street.

1871
The theatre was rebuilt by Frederick Hengler, and renamed the ‘Grand Cirque’; a circus venue that included an aquatic display in a flooded ring.

1884
The venue becomes the National Skating Palace, and features a rink of real ice.
However, this venture failed, leading to the interior being redesigned by Frank Matcham.

1910 December 26
The London Palladium opens

1912 – Royal Variety Show performances begin. Around half have been at the Palladium. 

1955
Broadcasts of Sunday Night at the London Palladium begin. The theatre is re-equipped with new stage lighting systems to satisfy the requirements of 1950s TV technology. 

1960 September
The London Palladium is Grade II listed by English Heritage.

2000
The Palladium is acquired by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group

People

  • Linford Hudson – Followspot Operator (1960s-2010s)
  • Julian Williams – Deputy LX (late 1960s – 1970s)

Selection of Productions

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat (26 June – 8 September 2019)
  • Snow White (8 December 2018 – 13 January 2019)
  • The King and I (June 2018 – 29 September 2018) Transfer from Broadway, starring Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe
  • Dick Whittington (December 2017 – January 2018)
  • Cinderella (10 December 2016 – January 2017)
  • Eugenius! () Concert performance
  • Cats (revival) (23 October 2015 – 2 January 2016)
  • Sinatra The Man & His Music (10 July 2015 – 10 October 2015)
  • Beyond Bollywood (8 May 2015 – 27 June 2015)
  • Cats (revival) (6 December 2014 –  ?April 2015)
  • I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical (25 March 2014 – 10 May 2014)
  • A Chorus Line (2 February 2013 – 31 August 2013)
  • Scrooge – The Musical (24 October 2012 – 5 January 2013)
  • The Wizard of Oz (7 February 2011 – September 2012)
  • Sister Act the Musical (2 June 2009 – 2011)
  • The Sound of Music (November 2006 – 21 February 2009)
  • Sinatra (February 2006)
  • Scrooge – The Musical (Christmas 2005 – 14 January 2006)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (16 April 2002 – 4 September 2005)
  • The King and I (3 May 2000 – 5 January 2002)
  • Saturday Night Fever (1998)
  • Oliver! (1994 – 1998)
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (June 1991 – 1994)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (30 June 1983 to 28 September 1985) starring Tommy Steele
  • The Liberace Las Vegas Show (17 April – 29 April 1978) featuring The Dancing Waters
  • Sunday Night at the London Palladium (1955 – )
    • October 1963:  featuring The Beatles.
  • Peter Pan (1930 – 1938) hugely popular pantomime which ran every Christmas during this period. 

Stage Technology

Communications

When the Palladium opened, it had it’s own telephone system, between the boxes. 

Drum Revolve

This mechanism consisted of three separate revolving drums.
From The Stage Guide, 1971:
Inner ring: A lift 3.66m in diameter. 
Middle ring: 5.49m in diameter
Outer ring: 9.75m in diameter. 

The outer ring was able to revolve independently of the narrower centre rings, and the middle section could be elevated above stage level.
It was heavily used in the 1991 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The famous drum-revolve mechanism was finally removed in January 2002, immediately after The King and I closed, to make way for the hydraulic mechanism for the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.

Official Website: http://www.reallyusefultheatres.co.uk/our-theatres/london-palladium

Cinderella at the London Palladium as seen in 1966 (British Pathe)

Cinderella at the London Palladium as seen in 1926 (British Pathe)

Royal Variety Performance in 1969 (British Pathe)

Equipment

1971 (from The Stage Guide)
Electrics: Strand CAE board in rear of Royal Circle. Dimmers – 240 (10kW to 2.5kW); 2 presets; groups – 40 memory pistons. Circuits – FOH 74; Flies 88; Stage dips 36; Ladder booms 52. Socket type – 15A BESA, 5kW and 10kW. Total capacity available – 2700A on 3 phases (3 services). Special effects supply – 2 x 100A on 1 phase. Follow spots – 6 Stelmar in rear of Upper Circle. 
Sound: Console in rear of Royal Circle has a 20 channel mixer. 10 amplifiers x 35W. 2 tape decks. 1 turntable. Mic sockets – 60. Loudspeakers – 40 via jack field. 

Archive equipment related to London Palladium over the years

  • Light Console (Strand)
  • C-AE - System C-AE (Strand)
  • Imagine (Arri)
  • Documents


    London Palladium - Arthur Lloyd 
    [External Website]
    From Arthur Lloyd website
    Hilary Gould at the Light Console at the Palladium (c) Alan Ashton
    Hilary Gould at the Light Console at the Palladium (c) Alan Ashton (1942)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [33kb  JPEG]
    From Alan Ashton Collection

    LSI: Oliver (January 1995)
    [6.71Mb PDF]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    LSI: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (May 2002)
    [3.57Mb PDF]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    LSI - The Wizard of Oz (April 2011)
    [4.4Mb PDF]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    Mentions of London Palladium in indexed journals

    Location


    View in Google Maps