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This palatial venue is back in action, with a newly renovated theatre serving up a mix of gigs and plays
Commonly known as the 'People's Palace' or Ally Pally, Alexandra Palace looks out over north London from a height. Its altitude rewards casual walkers with spectacular views, and its commanding location and 190-odd acres of leafy parkland mean it's often mistaken for a magnificent palace of regal importance.
In reality, it's an offbeat arts/entertainment centre that's making a renewed bid to pull in Londoners for nights out, after decades in the doldrums. In 2018, it re-opened the massive theatre space that had been out-of-action for decades, giving it a makeover that left its most picturesquely crumbling bits intact. So far, it's offered a mix of touring large-scale plays, seated gigs, and kids shows. The adjoining East Court is back in action too, offering an airy conservatory-like space where theatregoers can drink, mingle and take tea. These additions join the venue's existing indoor ice-skating rink, expo hall and a vast gig space where you can catch big names and the odd clubbing event.
Hopefully, this renovation will mark a new chapter in Ally Pally's troubled history. Built in 1873 as a palace for the people, it has experienced bad luck including two devastating fires (the first just two weeks after it opened; the second in 1980 after it was rebuilt), years of poor funding and periods of bad management.
Despite this, Ally Pally continues to hold a spot in the heart of Londoners, and a proud place in history as the birthplace of the world's first regular public television broadcast by the BBC in 1936. There's a bonfire night every year, a boating lake, pitch and putt course, and deer enclosure.
Alexandra Palace Way
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A Christmas Carol
‘A Christmas Carol’ remains the most popular and malleable of seasonal tales, having recently become a seasonal staple at the Old Vic via Jack Thorne’s deliriously OTT version (which has played the last three Christmases on the trot), and also made some...Drama Thursday December 3 2020 - Sunday January 10 2021
The Gruffalo's Child
Tall Stories' musical adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's award-winning sequel to 'The Gruffalo' is packed with inventive storytelling, energy and furry jumpsuits from the cast of three. It winters at a socially-distanced Ally Pally for...Children's Saturday December 5 2020 - Sunday January 3 2021