All posts tagged The Old Savoy

Having listened to the Government’s update regarding the Covid-19 crisis, we take on board the advice in regards to mass gatherings, including theatres. To that extent, we at The Old Savoy, home of The Deco Theatre, are in talks with event promoters and organisers, and industry advisers, and will be in touch with all ticket holders and other customers as soon as we can regarding their events.

A sincere ‘thank you’ for your understanding and patience, and rest assured, our staff are working flat out to deal with the many enquiries during these unprecedented circumstances.

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.”

The front of the iconic building that has been a fixture in Northampton town centre since 1936 is being rebranded.

What many people in the town still remember fondly as The Savoy is being relaunched as The Old Savoy, and visitors to shows at The Deco Theatre will be able to enter through the main doors from later this year.

As well as a facelift outside, visitors to the building will be able to celebrate the history and character inside the entertainment venue that opened as a ‘super-cinema’ 83 years ago, and famously hosted The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, among others, in the early 1960s.

The rebranding project is being driven by Northampton based Stage Right Productions, who have been running The Deco as an independent family-run enterprise since 2009, and host shows throughout the year, including sell-out Pantos each December. Stage Right will now be overseeing the running of the auditorium, and associated hires.

“We are absolutely thrilled by this opportunity to open up the front of this beautiful building to our audiences,” said Jill Roach, House Manager at The Deco. “That we are now in a position to do this is just so exciting.”

The Deco Theatre will retain its identity, but going forward will become ‘The Deco at the Old Savoy’, while plans for The Old Savoy will involve further development of the site as a creative arts and community hub for Northamptonshire.

“We feel that this is going to be a really popular development for Northampton Town Centre,” said Jill. “When we celebrated 80 years of the building in 2016 so many people spoke fondly about it, and shared lovely memories of days gone by, and this sentiment was echoed by visitors to our recent Heritage days.

“When we dropped hints about our plans, the response from visitors was not only very positive, but extremely enthusiastic, and we want this wonderful entertainment venue to stand proud and tall in the town as it did for many years.”

The building, owned by Northampton Borough Council, opened to the public as The Savoy, a cinema and theatre, on May 2nd, 1936, before becoming the ABC Cinema in 1961,  then taken over by Cannon in the 1980s, who ran it as a multiplex cinema until 1996, when it was allowed to become derelict.

The charity that acquired the lease in 2004 funded and restored the building under the guidance of English Heritage, with considerable donations from a local church. From then until recently it has operated as a hiring space for many agencies. Stage Right Productions will not only continue to operate the Deco theatre, but be further involved to help develop ‘The Old Savoy’ as a creative hub.

“When we open the famous front doors for the first time for a show, it will be the beginning of a new era for this fantastic building,” said Jill. “This is a wonderful opportunity, and it will take us to a new level in terms of what we can deliver, and offer to, our audiences – we are aiming to have everything in place in time for Panto in December.”

 
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