One of the most iconic buildings in Northampton town centre has completed its relaunch as The Old Savoy ‘The Home of the Deco Theatre’. And the new look has been given a massive ‘thumbs up’ by local people, with hundreds of enthusiastic comments on social media.
In a grand ceremony prior to the opening night of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ – The Deco’s Christmas Panto – pensioners Ken and Doreen Ridley cut the tape, and declared the start of an exciting new era for the popular entertainment venue. Visitors to The Deco Panto, and future productions, now enter through the front doors, and into the foyer, as they would have done in days gone by. Previously, visitors entered by the side entrance.
Ken and Doreen, from Daventry, celebrate 67 years of marriage on December 20th, and as they have done since 2009, will mark the occasion with a visit to The Deco‘s Christmas Panto. It was where they first met back in 1948, when the building was then The Savoy. It was then a cinema, and as teenagers, they were there with friends to watch a film.
“We love Panto, and we have very fond memories of The Savoy,” said Doreen, now 87. “So when they started putting on Pantos it was a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary, we’ve been coming every year, and we absolutely love it.”
They are now treated as VIPs by Deco staff, and were the obvious choice to perform the opening ceremony of ‘The Old Savoy’ according to house manager Jill Roach. “We absolutely love Mr and Mrs Ridley, and they were the obvious and perfect choice to do the honour for us,” said Mrs Roach.
“They didn’t stop for the opening night – they want to enjoy our Panto as they now traditionally do on their anniversary, and it is our pleasure to host them each year.”
The Old Savoy originally opened its doors as The Savoy on May 2nd, 1936. It became The ABC in the 1960s, hosting concerts by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, among other iconic bands of that era. More recently it has been The Jesus Centre, with The Deco operating within it as an independent, family run theatre.
Now Stage Right Productions, who manage The Deco, are looking after the whole building, running it as an entertainment venue, a community hub for the town, and making it available for hire for privately run conferences, events, business meetings, parties, and more.
“The response since the news about the relaunch was announced earlier in the year has been immense,” said Jill Roach. “But over the weekend, since we threw those doors open for the first time and rebranded the outside of the building, the response we’ve had on our various social media platforms as been truly wonderful and extremely positive.
“This is clearly regarded as a popular development for Northampton Town Centre, and we are thrilled to be giving this building back to the people of Northampton.”