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1910

1911

July: First performance of ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’ by Norman McKinnell and ‘Pot Luck’ by Gertrude Jennings in an upstairs room at the corner of Leazes Park Road and Percy Street. The name is ‘The Clarion Dramatic Club’, the takings are 14/6.

Norman Veitch, one of the founders, set the sights high: ‘If we’re going to murder plays, let’s murder the best.’ Ever since, the policy has been to seek out and present on Tyneside plays of quality and interest which, often, the audience might not otherwise have the chance to see.

1911

September: G.B. Shaw ‘s ’The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet’ is banned by the Lord Chamberlain but performed by the People’s.

1915

The theatre moves to premises in the old Royal Arcade and remained fully active throughout the first World War. Opening play is Galsworthy’s ‘The Eldest Son’.

1920

1929

The Phoenix is born.

The phoenix became our emblum after the theatre relocated from the city centre to Rye Hill. This move our third since being founded in 1911 made the legendary symbol of rebirth and resurrection an appropriate one. Thereafter the phoenix became a familiar sight on our posters, programmes and stationery.

1930

1933

J.B.Priestley stays awhile and includes the People's in his "English Journey".

Edward II1936 Our Silver Jubilee. Bernard Shaw visits us again, to see 'Candida'. He comments that the floor is cleaner than on his previous visit. He makes his last public speech from our stage in his "English Journey".

1939

Sybil Thorndike makes her first visit

1940

1940

After the Government ban, productions continued. In the 1940's we present world premieres of O'Casey's 'Cock a Doodle Dandy', 'Purple Dust' and 'Red Roses For Me' and Peter Ustinov's 'The Banbury Nose'.

1944

The Tyneside Film Society (founded in 1934) amalgamates with the People's Theatre.

1947

The Tyneside Music Society is founded as part of the Group.

1948

Art Exhibitions became a regular feature of the Group's activities.

1949

Poetry readings are added to our work and the concept is born of one building housing all our activities and being a true Arts Centre.

1950

1950

We are in early with first Newcastle productions of plays by John Whiting, Harold Pinter, lonesco, Beckett, John Arden, John Osborne, Ugo Betti, Fritz Hochwalder.

1955

Peggy Ashcroft, accompanied by John Gielgud, launches our major building appeal fund.

1959

The unfailing support of the Tyneside audience for our choice of play encourages us to purchase the Lyric Cinema, Heaton. It takes all our assets--£27,000--and we set about raising the necessary money to turn it into an Arts Centre.

The ultimate cost--all raised--proves to be £180,000 and generous donors include local authorities and business, the Arts Council, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Northern Arts and many other corporate and individual supporters.

1960

1960

The phoenix logo evolves to a new design.

1962

One of our last performances at Rye Hill is our own musical version of 'Sweeney Todd' as part of the Blaydon Races Centenary Celebrations.

The new Arts Centre opens with Shaw's 'Man and Superman'.

1962

The People's Theatre moves to its present home in Heaton.

The move proved to make the significance of the phoenix even more relevant to our story. Very shortly after we vacated our old premises at Rye Hill, the deserted building burned down. One theatre member, the actor and artist Jummy Garbutt, salvaged a few charged planks from the ruins, fashioned them into representations of the phoenix, which are still on display today at the front of the theatre.

1963

The Young People's Theatre is founded, providing 100 youngsters with regular creative activity each Saturday, and opportunities to perform their productions before appreciative audiences.

H.R.H. Princess Alexandra visits us.

1969

The theatre is host to the famous Kathakali Dancers. Peter Brook flies up from London to see them.

David Benedictus stays with us for six weeks and creates "Dromedary" for the first Newcastle Festival

1970

1970

John and Hilary Spurling come to see his play "Macrune's Guevara" which we present for the Newcastle Festival.

1971

For our Diamond Jubilee play we return to Shaw and present "The Philanderer" to many old friends and guests from civic and business life. The Lord Mayor congratulates us on our anniversary.

The BBC makes a half-hour film about us and the narrator is former People's actor, Alan Browning, famous as a lead in "The Newcomers" and "Coronation Street".

1972

World premiere of North Shields playwright, Tom Hadaway's 'A Quaker in Cullercoats'.

1973

Christopher Fry gives us the first amateur rights of 'A Yard of Sun'.

'People's Lit' is founded to provide evenings of informal poetry, prose, conversation and occasional music.

1976

Our 65th anniversary and Tony Harrison grants us the first amateur rights of his adaptation of 'The Misanthrope' - our eighth annual contribution to the Newcastle Festival.

Sid Chaplin becomes theatre President.

1980

1981

Studio Theatre seating 90. built at the back of the main auditorium The opening production is Shakespeare's 'Henry V'.

1982

The main auditorium is rebuilt, removing the separate Circle to provide a single tier of 500 seats, which can be divided by moveable shutters for audiences up to 300.

1983

The Young People's Theatre makes its first trip overseas, performing Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas in New York

1986

After a lapse of some years a newsletter for members resumes publication under the title 'Offset'.

1990

1991

Our 80th Anniversary. Chris Goulding publishes 'The Story of the People's' (to date).

1992

The Music Society celebrates 45 years of chamber music with a recital by Julian Bream.

2000

2004

The season is rearranged to allow the Royal Shakespeare Company to hire the theatre during their annual residency in Newcastle. This is because the Newcastle Playhouse is undergoing major refurbishment.

2005

With the launch of a new look website and a new domain name tickets can now be reserved online which marks a first for an amateur theatre in Tyne and Wear.

2009

Sir Ian McKellen, Patron of the Little Theatre Guild, visits the People's Theatre and spends time touring the theatre and meeting its members.

2010

2014

We announce plans for a major redevelopment costing £1.6m. By Christmas we have raised £500,000

2015

The People's Theatre launches its new brand.

2016

The Theatre goes green and introduces a new E-season brochure to be emailed to all subscribers to our mailing list.

2016

Midsummer Night's Dream - A play for the Nation

A co production between the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and amateur companies accross the UK

17th, 18th, 21st, 24th & 26th March 2016 - Northern Stage

Following an intensive audition process and months of rehearsals the following 6 members of the People's Theatre played the Mechanicals in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream - Produced by the RSC. Our excellent amateu performers were joined on stage by professionals from the RSC including Ayesha Dharker, Lucy Ellinson, Chu Omambala & former People's Theatre member Laura Riseborough.

People's Theatre Mechanicals Cast

Pete McAndrew - Bottom, Jo Kelly - Quince, Stuart Douglas - Snout, Michael White - Flute, Gordon Russell - Snug

Creatives Chris Heckels - Director, Laura Halford-Macleod - Assistant Director

http://www.dream2016.org.uk/

2016

​Dream 2016 

Midsummer Night's Dream - A play for the Nation. A co production between the RSC and Amateur companies accross the UK

Royal Shakespeare Theatre - Stratford upon Avon - 20th June 2016

The People's Theatre Mechanicals cast perform on stage at the home of the RSC!

Six members of the People's Theatre have the experience of a lifetime performing on stage at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stratford upon Avon, joining the cast of the RSC.

https://www.rsc.org.uk/a-midsummer-nights-dream/about-the-play

2016

The People's Theatre launches its brand new website.

2016

The stunning new foyer is completed and opened to the public, just in time for the Panto 2016