Watford Palace Theatre

Last updated

Watford Palace Theatre
Palace Theatre, Watford.jpg
Watford Palace Theatre from the outside in 2008
Address20 Clarendon Road
Location Watford, England
Coordinates 51°39′26″N0°23′50″W / 51.6572°N 0.3972°W / 51.6572; -0.3972 Coordinates: 51°39′26″N0°23′50″W / 51.6572°N 0.3972°W / 51.6572; -0.3972
Public transit Watford Junction railway station
Capacity 600
OpenedDecember 14, 1908 (1908-12-14)
ArchitectH.M. Theobald
BuilderBarker Brothers

Watford Palace Theatre, opened in 1908, is an Edwardian Grade II listed building in Watford, Hertfordshire. [1] The 600-seat theatre on Clarendon Road was refurbished in 2004. It houses its own rehearsal room, wardrobe, cafe and bar.

Listed building Protected historic structure in the United Kingdom

A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, Cadw in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.

Watford Town & Borough in England

Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, South East England, 15 miles (24 km) northwest of central London.



The theatre was originally built for the Watford Hippodrome Co., Ltd. The foundation stone of what was to become the Palace Theatre was laid on 3 June 1908. Five days later Mr H.M. Theobald, the architect, lodged the notification of his intention to build the theatre. Construction was undertaken by Barker Brothers of Maidenhead, and took six months, opening on 14 December 1908. [2] The opening proprietors were the Watford Palace of Varieties Co., the Managing Director: Mr. T.M. Sylvester.[ citation needed ]

Maidenhead town and unparished area in Berkshire, England

Maidenhead is a large market town in Berkshire, England, on the south-western bank of the River Thames. With an estimated population of 67,441, Maidenhead is the largest town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. The town is situated 25.7 miles (41.4 km) west of Charing Cross, London, 11.7 miles (18.8 km) northeast of the county town of Reading, 28.3 miles (45.5 km) southeast of Oxford, 8.0 miles (12.9 km) east-south-east of Henley-on-Thames and 5.8 miles (9.3 km) northwest of Windsor.

In early days it put on variety shows and plays, mostly imported from other theatres. Variety artists who appeared at the Palace included Marie Lloyd, Evie Greene and Lottie Lennox.[ citation needed ] The theatre also puts on regular Christmas pantomimes.

Variety show entertainment made up of a variety of acts

Variety shows, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is entertainment made up of a variety of acts including musical performances, sketch comedy, magic, acrobatics, juggling, and ventriloquism. It is normally introduced by a compère or host. The variety format made its way from Victorian era stage to radio and then television. Variety shows were a staple of anglophone television from the late 1940s into the 1980s.

Marie Lloyd English music hall singer, comedian and musical theatre actress

Matilda Alice Victoria Wood, professionally known as Marie Lloyd ; was an English music hall singer, comedian and musical theatre actress. She was best known for her performances of songs such as "The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery", "My Old Man " and "Oh Mr Porter What Shall I Do". She received both criticism and praise for her use of innuendo and double entendre during her performances, but enjoyed a long and prosperous career, during which she was affectionately called the "Queen of the Music Hall".

Evie Greene British actor and singer

Edith Elizabeth ("Evie") Greene was a much-photographed English actress and singer who played in Edwardian musical comedies in London and on Broadway. She is most notable for starring as Dolores, the central character in the international hit musical Florodora. She also sang on the world's first original cast album, recorded for this musical.

For almost a decade (around the early 1960s), when Peter Cleall began his career at the Palace , the theatre was managed by actor Jimmy Perry, best-known for co-writing the television series Dad's Army [3] [4]

Peter Cleall is an actors' agent and former actor who is probably best known for playing wise-cracking Eric Duffy in the London Weekend Television comedy series Please Sir! which ran from 1968 to 1972.

Jimmy Perry English writer, scriptwriter, producer, author and actor

James Perry, OBE was an English script writer and actor, best known for devising and co-writing the BBC sitcoms Dad's Army (1968–77), It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1974–81), Hi-De-Hi (1980–88) and You Rang, M'Lord? (1988–93), all with David Croft. Perry co-wrote the theme tune of Dad's Army, "Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr. Hitler?" along with Derek Taverner, for which Perry received an Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors in 1971.

<i>Dads Army</i> Classic British comedy TV series

Dad's Army is a BBC television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, and broadcast on the BBC from 1968 to 1977. The sitcom ran for nine series and 80 episodes in total; there was also a radio version based on the television scripts, a feature film and a stage show. The series regularly gained audiences of 18 million viewers, and is still repeated worldwide.

In September 2004, the theatre re-opened after a two year £8.8million Lottery funded refurbishment, which included more public space, two bars, a daytime café, air cooling and new seating. Access to the building was improved by the introduction of a lift to all levels, ramps and automated front doors.

National Lottery (United Kingdom) national lottery in canada

The National Lottery is the state-franchised national lottery in the United Kingdom.

In October 2015, the theatre won the Promotion of Diversity Award (joint winners with Leicester Curve) at the UK Theatre Awards 2015. [5]

RIFCO Arts is resident theatre company. [6]


The theatre has been producing work for over 100 years. Alongside touring productions, the theatre provides programmes in new writing. [7] [8]

Related Research Articles

Arthur Lowe was an English actor. His acting career spanned nearly forty years, including starring roles in numerous theatre and television productions. He played Captain Mainwaring in the British sitcom Dad's Army from 1968 until 1977, was nominated for seven BAFTAs and became one of the most recognised faces on television.

David Croft (TV producer) English writer, producer and director

Major David John Croft, was an English writer, producer and director. David Croft is particularly noted for producing and co-writing a string of popular BBC sitcoms with Jimmy Perry and Jeremy Lloyd including Dad's Army, Are You Being Served?, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi! and 'Allo 'Allo!

Midland Hotel, Manchester

The Midland Hotel, often referred to simply as The Midland, is a grand hotel in Manchester, England. Opened in September 1903, it was built by the Midland Railway to serve Manchester Central railway station, its northern terminus for its rail services to London St Pancras. It faces onto St Peter's Square. The hotel was designed by Charles Trubshaw in a highly individualistic Edwardian Baroque style. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Ian Lavender English actor

Arthur Ian Lavender is an English stage, film and television actor. He is known for his role as Private Pike in the BBC comedy series Dad's Army. He and Frank Williams are the last surviving major cast members.

Russell Brand British comedian, actor, and author

Russell Edward Brand is an English comedian, actor, radio host, author, and activist.

Jimmy Gardner (actor) actor

Edward Charles James Gardner, DFM was an English actor.

<i>The Way Ahead</i> 1944 film by Carol Reed

The Way Ahead (1944) is a British Second World War drama. The film stars David Niven, Stanley Holloway and William Hartnell, along with an ensemble cast of other British actors. The Way Ahead follows a group of civilians conscripted into the British Army to fight in North Africa.

<i>Murder Most Foul</i> 1964 film by George Pollock

Murder Most Foul is the third of four Miss Marple films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Loosely based on the novel Mrs McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie, it stars Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple, Charles Tingwell as Inspector Craddock, and Stringer Davis as Mr Stringer. The story is ostensibly based on Christie's novel, but notably changes the action and the characters. Hercule Poirot is replaced by Miss Marple and most of the other characters are not in the novel.

Janet Davies (actress) actress

Janet Kathleen Davies was an English actress best known for her recurring role as Mrs. Pike in the long-running sitcom Dad's Army.

Colin Bean actor

Colin Bean was an English actor, best known for his role as Private Sponge in the BBC comedy series Dad's Army.

Dominic Anthony Holland is an English comedian, author and broadcaster. He won the 1993 Perrier Best Newcomer Award in Edinburgh. His BBC Radio 4 series, The Small World of Dominic Holland, won a Comic Heritage Award. Holland has also published three novels.

Mavis Gladys Fox Pugh was an English actress who made many appearances as mainly upper class ladies in several sitcoms including Dad's Army, Are You Being Served? and Fawlty Towers, as well as having a regular role in You Rang, M'Lord?. Before appearing on television, she had a long and successful career doing rep theatre, including at Arthur Brough Players.

<i>Dads Army</i> (stage show)

Dad's Army: A Nostalgic Music and Laughter Show of Britain’s Finest Hour was a 1975 stage adaptation of the BBC sitcom Dad's Army. Following the success of the television programme, the stage show was commissioned by Bernard Delfont in the spring of 1975.

Eric Longworth British actor

Eric Longworth was an English actor, best known for his semi-regular part in the popular BBC comedy Dad's Army as Mr. Gordon, the town clerk of Walmington-on-Sea.

Richard Dormer British actor, playwright and screenwriter

Richard Dormer is an Northern Irish actor, playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for his role as Beric Dondarrion in the HBO television series Game of Thrones and Dan Anderssen in Sky Atlantic's Fortitude.

Rifco Arts is a theatre company which focuses on bringing British Asian stories to the stage, and audiences from the community into theatres. The company was founded in 1999 by director Pravesh Kumar.


  1. Russell, Eugenia; Russell, Quentin (31 August 2015). Watford and South West Herts in the Great War. Pen and Sword. p. 89. ISBN   978-1-78346-374-9.
  2. Cooper, John (15 July 2016). Watford History Tour. Amberley Publishing Limited. p. 30. ISBN   978-1-4456-5778-3.
  3. McCaighey, Mark (3 March 2015). The Dad's Army Movie Dossier: The Making of Jimmy Perry and David Croft's Classic Film. Andrews UK Limited. p. 8. ISBN   978-1-78538-143-0.
  4. McCann, Graham (18 December 2015). Dad's Army: The Story of a Very British Comedy (Text Only). HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 23–4. ISBN   978-0-00-738942-1.
  5. "UK Theatre Awards". www.uktheatre.org. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  6. Caines, Matthew (13 January 2015). "Rifco theatre company chief: 'diversity does not always mean cost'". The Guardian.
  7. "Palace Theatre Watford". Archived from the original on 25 June 2004.
  8. Kanaber, Daniel (24 March 2014). Shiver. A&C Black. pp. 12–15. ISBN   978-1-4725-7922-5.