Stratford East to celebrate 125th birthday

Reporter: Matthew Amer, first published Fri 20 Nov 2009 13:12

If there wasn’t already enough excitement surrounding the Theatre Royal Stratford East pantomime, a special performance of Aladdin will be held on 17 December to mark the venue’s 125th birthday.

On 17 December 1884, the stage at the east London theatre was performed on for the first time, with actor/manager Charles Dillon playing the lead in Richelieu. A century and a quarter later, the theatre’s audience will be whooping with excitement, laughing, cheering and clapping their hands, partly because of the panto, but also to recognise the building’s achievement and history.

Funds from the performance, which has tickets for sale at its usual affordable prices, along with £50 fundraising tickets, will be used to help support the theatre’s future.

Speaking about the anniversary, Kerry Michael, Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East said: “Our 125th birthday evening promises to be a great night with lots of familiar faces and dear friends. It’s a special time for us at the moment with more of our work than ever touring nationally and internationally and as exciting plans grow for 2012 it feels fitting to take a moment to celebrate the wonderful legacy we have inherited and the huge amount Theatre Royal Stratford East has achieved.”

The Theatre Royal Stratford East’s history has seen it grow from a converted wheelwright’s shop to the home of Joan Littlewood’s influential Theatre Workshop Company and into its current role as a theatre with a big reputation working closely with its diverse local community.

It is somewhat fitting that this landmark birthday will be celebrated by a performance of Aladdin, as the show reunites the creative team behind 2007’s Cinderella, a show that also created history. It is the only pantomime to have ever received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination.