A visit behind the scenes and even the walls, of the old Empire Theatre in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire. So I was delighted to here that the Heritage Open Days were allowing guided tours of the old theatre building.
In the eighties it was converted into an amusement arcade and now has incorporated a laser quest on the upper floors.
I had been fore warned that there was uneven floors and dimly lit rooms, so I went prepared dressed in leggings, t shirt and flat shoes! I am so clumsy that I was worried I would fall through the ceiling but happy to report that I remained unscathed, and so did the building! On arrival there was a information display on the ground floor of the centre showing photographs and some of the artefacts that have been compiled so far.
The tour was really interesting and the main tour guide was very knowledgeable and must had done hours upon hours of research. He presented it in a very interesting way and pointed out the architectural features, including the stage arch, the original windows and floor as well as giving out interesting facts and information. We were walked along the balcony and saw the old stage door entrance. The dressing rooms were under the stage and many times I have walked past the outside of the building and not noticed the bricked up windows and old gas light holder outside of the boarded up stage door. The dressing rooms can only been viewed by somebody crawling on the floor and looking through a small hatch. I would love to see what, if anything is still down there. I hope that the walls still have the echos of Tessie O’Shea, Bruce Forsyth, Sabrina and many other actors who have treaded the boards there.
Looking over the theatre above the suspended ceiling there is a feeling of being in the theatre. Under all the layers of black paint is a story to tell. The features remind me very much of the theatre in Leeds, ‘The City Varieties’ Wouldn’t it be fabulous to bring this theatre back to its full glory to Cleethorpes? My dream is to bring a variety theatre back to Cleethorpes, to show case drag, burlesque, variety and fabulous entertainment. Possibly in the night club style but with family entertainment as well.It is such a shame that I have so many ideas but not the money!But it does not hurt to dream!This has inspired me to find out more about the history of local entertainment venues. Do you have any stories to share on the Empire Theatre or any other venues? Do you agree it should be brought back to a theatre or has this time been and gone?Let me know your thoughts.
Sparkle Hugs and Glitter Kisses xxxx
All photos, unless stated, are the copyright of Lorna Liza.