Newsletter #3

Sat 3 Jun 2023

Newsletter #3

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All the latest news from RSTC

Welcome to Issue #3 of the RSTC Newsletter.

We aim to keep members informed of what is going on in and around RSTC and what is on offer during the coming months. We always welcome feedback and suggestions from members on anything concerning the events we stage and how they are carried out.

Contents of this Issue

·         History of the Gillian Lynne Theatre

·         Upcoming Events

·         What’s new on the Website

·         Membership Numbers

·         Members’ Questionnaire 2023

·         Comments from Members

History of the Gillian Lynne Theatre, London

Members may be interested in the fascinating history of some of the theatres we visit. Here is a brief history of the Gillian Lynne Theatre which we visit shortly to see ‘Crazy for You’.

                                                                 Gillian Lynne Theatre
                                                                 Gillian Lynne Theatre

One of the newest theatres in the West End, the Gillian Lynne Theatre (formerly New London Theatre) was re-built in 1973, on a site that has housed a theatre since Elizabethan times. Originally named the Mogul Saloon, the building lasted between 1847-1919, housing variety shows. Gillian Lynne – renowned choreographer of Cats, Phantom of the Opera and many other shows – is the only living person to have a London theatre named after her. In 1919, the theatre was renamed the Winter Garden Theatre, reopening with P. G. Wodehouse's Kissing Times. Throughout the early 20th century, Gershwin musicals began to rise in popularity, with the theatre hosting Primrose (1924) and Tell Me More (1925). A hugely popular production of Funny Face (1929) also played at the venue, starring Fred and Adele Astaire. Following the bout of musicals, the theatre began to stage plays such as George Bernard Shaw’s On the Rocks (1933) and Walter Greenwood’s Love On The Dole (1935). After a closure of several years, the theatre reopened with dramas, including Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution (1953). Sadly, the theatre began to lose audiences and closed once more in 1959. In 1973, the Gillian Lynne Theatre was re-built and has gone on to house several large, successful musicals and plays, as well as Eurovision Song Contest heats, but is perhaps best-known for acting as the original home of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats (1981-2002). In 2008, the theatre put on Gone With the Wind - A New Musical, starring Darius Campbell and Jill Paice, which closed after less than two months! This was followed by Imagine This - A New Musical, which had even worse luck, closing after less than one month. In 2009, the Gillian Lynne Theatre struck lucky with the transfer of the National Theatre's War Horse, which ran at the venue until early 2016. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway hit School of Rock the Musical transferred to the venue in 2016, earning rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. The musical played its final performance at the venue in March 2020.

Next Issue: History of our coach operator, Hodge’s Coaches, who are celebrating their centenary in 2024

Upcoming Events
At the end of May, we enjoyed the Everly Brothers Dream at Sonning Mill at one of their Sunday evening concerts. In June, also at Sonning Mill, we see their summer musical the legendary Gypsy. July sees us venturing to Birmingham for what should be a fascinating day out, with a canal boat tour of the City Centre, a guided coach tour followed by a stop at the Jewellery Quarter where a substantial proportion of the UK’s jewellery is both made and sold. In August, we visit the Wycombe Swan Theatre to see a production of  Oliver staged by young people taking part in a Summer Drama Workshop project. Finally, in September, we return to the Magic Circle HQ in Euston – by popular demand – to see their Magic Circle Mysteries show. What’s New on the Website It is now almost a year since we started the RSTC website. After a slow start, it is pleasing to see that many members are now using it on a regular basis. Members may have noticed that a new Stop Press section has been added to the main menu to provide members with last-minute information – such as when there are unsold seats for an event. The Contact section has also proved useful in attracting comments and, particularly, enquiries about membership.

Membership Numbers and Subscriptions 2023-24
At the time of writing (May 2023), our membership is very nearly at our ceiling of 400 with many new members joining recently. A waiting list will shortly be established. We are also pleased to announce that the membership subscription for next year will be held at £12 due to our increase in members and success we have had with this year’s events – most of which have been ‘sold out’.

Members’ Questionnaire 2023


  This year’s questionnaire will be distributed to members in July, with the results available at the AGM in October. This survey is a very valuable tool for the Committee in planning future events. Please make sure you complete and return this document. Your views are important to us.

Comments from Members  
From MW:
Thank you so much for the outing to the Royal Albert Hall we did so enjoy it. What great music and a great way to spend an afternoon we haven’t stopped talking about it.

From JC: Thanks for a lovely day today at the Albert Hall with THE NEW RSTC FLAGS!
From JP: Thank you so much for offering us the return tickets last night to see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.“ The show was brilliant and we thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
Also, Thank you for your input to the RSTC.

If you wish to make a comment, criticism or suggestion regarding RSTC, please do so via the Contact section on the RSTC website