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A Brief History of the Palace Theatre Newark
The Palace Theatre opened on 5 July 1920 and was constructed by a local business woman Emily Blagg, who was also Clerk of Works, Quantity Surveyor and supplier of bricks on the site of the Chauntry House, a former Queen Anne residence.
Emily Bragg came to live in Newark in 1887 when she was 20 years old. A confident and enterprising young lady, her first job involved selling silks and textiles. Her flair for colours and interior design did not go unnoticed by her employer. She was promoted to buyer and soon became so successful, she progressed into other business ventures. She started her own brick company, built a number of houses and ultimately realised her dream of building a theatre. Despite encountering many problems, her forceful, astute and confident nature ensured her theatre was soon open and ready for business.
The Palace has seen several changes of ownership since Emily Bragg died in 1935. In 1972 Star Cinemas relinquished ownership of the Palace to Newark and District Arts and Leisure Association who in turn handed over responsibility to Newark & Sherwood District Council in conjunction with Newark Town Council.
The first performance at the Palace Theatre in 1920 was a film screening of King Solomon's Mines.
Live shows were frequently programmed with films. The Actor Manager Donald Wolfit played here in 1921 with the Charles Doran Shakesperean Company. Anna Pavlov danced at the Palace, while George Robey and Cicely Courtneidge were both visitors in the early twenties.
The first 'talkie' arrived on 21 April 1930. 'Broadway Melody' was screened after major investment in new equipment.
The Palace Theatre is now part of Newark & Sherwood District Council's Leisure Services Department.
A team of volunteers works as front of house staff at each performance.
The theatre became a listed building in 1993 and has recently had a number of improvements to the foyer, box office and bar areas.
A full history of the Palace Theatre up to 1972 can be obtained in 'The Palace Years' by Tony Lloyd and is available from the Box Office, Tourist Information Centre and Newark Library priced £6.50.