To coincide with the re-opening of Hull New Theatre this weekend, the staff at Hull History Centre have been busy listing all of the New Theatre programmes from October 1939-February 2008 so that performances, dates and performers can now be searched on our online catalogue.
There are over 2800 individual programmes available. Our catalogue (PDF version, 2.7Mb) includes the names of the productions, the name of the companies that brought the productions to Hull, the date and the names of the principal performers.
The Hull New Theatre opened on Saturday, October 16, 1939 with Noel Gay’s ‘Me and My Girl’ featuring Joan Lake and Reg Andrews.
Performances carried on throughout the Second World War with the theatre’s first manager, Peppino Santangelo, insisting that they carry on regardless. The theatre even suffered a direct hit during May 1941 when the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company made a visit to Hull in order to perform away from the bombing in London!
|The Seashell (Ref L DTNT/1/35/19)|
Famous names of stage and screen that appear in the programmes include Sean Connery in a production of ‘Seashell’ (Nov 1959), Peter Wyngarde who performed at the Hull New Theatre four times between 1947 and 1976 as did John Le Mesurier between 1939 and 1940.
The programmes are not the only resource that we hold relating to theatres. We also have numerous play bills, original building plans, photographs, newspaper advertisements and articles.
The majority of our theatre programmes have come from the Local Studies collection but the History Centre has continued to receive donations of programmes from individuals and organisations. The programmes for other theatres in Hull including The Palace Theatre, Anlaby Road and the Alexandra Theatre on the corner of George Street and Charlotte Street are now also being catalogued and will be made available on our online catalogue shortly. Watch this space…!
Elspeth Bower, Archivist