'So many fond memories' - Norwich Playhouse turns 25

@richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.uk

Stephen Crocker, Norwich Theatre chief executive, and Caroline Richardson, Norwich Theatre Playhouse director, celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Norwich Playhouse. @richardjarmy - www.richardjarmy.co.uk - Credit: smile@richardjarmy.co.uk

The team at the Norwich Playhouse celebrated the venue's 25th anniversary this week.

From Ian McKellen's 80th birthday shows to the debut of Six the Musical, there have been plenty of memorable moments at the theatre. 

Theatre Royal chief executive Stephen Crocker meets Sir Ian McKellen at Norwich Playhouse Credit: Tw

Theatre Royal chief executive Stephen Crocker meets Sir Ian McKellen at Norwich Playhouse Credit: Twitter/stephen_crocker

The venue opened on December 16, 1995 and it was originally a repertory theatre, with resident actors performing shows on rotation.

But this concept didn't work and as debts started to mount the tactics changed and it became a receiving house in January 2000, launching with the Widowers' Houses by George Bernard Shaw, performed by the National Theatre, which sold-out for three nights.

Norwich Playhouse, St George's Street, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich Playhouse, St George's Street, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

After that, the venue went from strength to strength and in 2003 there was a management merger with Norwich Theatre Royal.

In 2018, this relationship was strengthened further and under Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive Stephen Crocker there was a complete merger and now both venues, along with Stage Two, are part of Norwich Theatre.

Norwich Theatre chief executive Stephen Crocker outside the Norwich Playhouse. Picture: Norwich Thea

Norwich Theatre chief executive Stephen Crocker outside the Norwich Playhouse. Picture: Norwich Theatre - Credit: Archant

Caroline Richardson, Norwich Theatre Playhouse Director who has been there since 1996, said: "It is brilliant and I used to say it is like the supermarket with a protective hand over the corner shop." 

With a capacity of 300, the Playhouse has provided a platform for amateur groups, comedians, many who have gone on to become household names, and professional theatre and dance companies who prefer the intimate space.

This includes Six the Musical, which turns the wives of Henry VIII into popstars, and since making its debut at the Playhouse in 2018 it has become a global phenomenon.  

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archan

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archant 2018 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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Speaking about the Playhouse birthday, Ms Richardson said: "This brings back so many fond memories from the last 25 years.

"From Sarah Millican driving herself to the venue before she got famous, to offering Tim Minchin one of his first gigs straight after his Edinburgh debut, to having the great Ian McKellen performing three shows during his 80th tour.

"Even if we have to defer celebrations until such time when it'll be safe for us to get together, we’re so proud and happy to have had your love and support over the last 25 years. Thank you!"

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