The Theatre has been closed to the public for 80 years but eagled-eyed television and movie viewers might have spotted it in a number of very special productions.
What Did You Expect? Penelope Cruz and Schweppes
In 2014 Schweppes needed an evocative yet “abandoned” space for a film shoot and Alexandra Palace had the perfect one. The campaign was created by Fred & Farid Paris and was directed by Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).
The storyboard was discovered, amongst a plethora of discarded items, beneath the Theatre’s floorboards. You can find out more about the discovery here. Watch the “making-of” film below to get an understanding of the work that goes into such a beautiful shoot.
BBC Music’s God Only Knows
To launch BBC Music the Corporation returned to Alexandra Palace, 90 years after their first broadcast, with the biggest names in music for an all-star version of the Beach Boy’s classic “God Only Knows”. The final piece featured 27 internationally acclaimed artists (with many appearing in the theatre through the magic of green screen).
Situated amongst the faded grandeur of the Theatre, a mix of set design and CGI created a fantastical world complete with a tropical rainforest, a tiger, birds, butterflies and giant bubbles. Viewers were transported high above the orchestra into a balloon-filled sky, before returning into the empty theatre.
Our Gay Wedding: The Musical
On Saturday 29th March 2014, same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales. To mark this historic milestone Channel 4 broadcast Our Gay Wedding: The Musical. Such an iconic moment required an iconic venue and so the wedding took place in the Theatre. The grooms, Benjamin Till and Nathan Taylor, wrote and staged their entire wedding as a musical and featured performances from The Feeling, Andy Bell, The London Gay Men’s Chorus and West End performer Hannah Waddingham.
The production won the Grierson Award for Best Entertaining Programme and was nominated for the Broadcast Awards, Televisual Bulldog Awards and BAFTA TV Awards.
Enter Shikari Goes Acoustic
Prior to their sold-out 2016 show in the Great Hall, Enter Shikari turned down the decibels for a stunning acoustic set in the near-empty Theatre. Playing to a handful a fans, it was a toned down set that showcased a side to the band many were unfamiliar with. The recording was later released as an EP which is available to stream via Spotify.
The band returned to play Alexandra Palace in 2017.
Inspiring Anna Karenina
Any audience members entering the Theatre who were fans of Joe Wright’s 2012 film adaption of Anna Karenina would be forgiven for thinking they were stepping onto the movie’s set. The majority of the film, which starred Kiera Knightly, was set in dilapidated theatre inspired by the Kirov and the Mariinsky in St Petersburg and the Alexandra Palace Theatre. The Theatre was re-created in Shepperton Studios and shot mostly on a single soundstage. Production Designer Sarah Greenwood worked alongside Set Designer Katie Spencer to create the theatre used in the film. The pair were nominated for Best Costume Design at the 2013 Academy Awards.
Be part of the biggest change at Alexandra Palace for a generation. All donations of £25 or more will be credited on our Donor Board, which will be installed in the restored East Court when it re-opens in December 2018. There is still time to name a seat in the Theatre too. Find out more here.
Alexandra Palace is a charity, run for the benefit of everyone. Our Park, Palace and spectacular events have been enriching lives since 1863, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. To be blunt, we are looking at a £1m shortfall this year and the same again next year. We know this time has been hard on many people but, if you can afford it, your support will help us get through this crisis.