With seating for 700 people at the time, the concert hall was used for a variety of purposes and not just for stage shows. Numerous touring companies, Pantomimes and Matinees were performed, as well as weeklong Shakespeare festivals from Stratford upon Avon. Later on there were films, with the opening of the Malvern Picture House in 1923.
In 1995 the Malvern Festival Theatre Trust was created and lead by long time local Nicolas Lloyd. January 1997 saw the Theatre closed for major refurbishment, following a 5.2 Million pound award from the national lottery.
Malvern Theatres continues to build on its reputation for attracting the biggest names and the finest drama. Summer 2012 has been no exception.
August saw Felicity Kendal grace the stage in Relatively Speaking. Felicity Kendal is one of the UK’s most popular actresses who shot to fame with her role in BBC television’s The Good Life. The show saw good numbers through its run at the theatre with reviews like beautifully crafted, wonderfully funny and charmingly English.
Our own Elizabeth Snelling from accounts took her mother to see Radio Times, which ran though September. Heart-warming and fast-moving, Radio Times is a fabulously entertaining musical, chock-full of quick-fire gags, side-splitting routines and classic songs from Noel Gay (Me and My Girl). Highly praised by the national press, it features the combined talents of West End stars, Gary Wilmot and Sara Crowe.
Whether you’re a local who enjoys the occasional coffee and cake in the café, or a visitor from elsewhere here to see a world class show, the theatre has something for everyone and always has a lively and bustling atmosphere on a Friday and Saturday night. Pre-theatre dinner bookings are another welcome consequence to the Abbey Hotel and other surrounding restaurants, giving Malvern a small boost in the local economy and social activity.
Hope to see you soon,
*Alex Cooke, Accounts Department at The Abbey Hotel, Great Malvern, Worcestershire*