Dan Leno – A Royal Jester! Tour Dates 2019

Delighted to announce that our 2019 tour dates will start at Chorley Little Theatre on 23rd and 24th March @ 7.30pm. Tickets Now On Sale!

We will also be appearing at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne, on Sunday 2nd June for a special 3.30pm matinee performance. This will tie in with the British Music Hall Society and their Day By The Sea Event which takes place at the theatre on Saturday 1st June.

Tickets will go on sale in January 2019 for Eastbourne.

More dates coming soon!

Raikes Hall & Royal Palace Gardens Exhibition Success

Thank you to everyone who supported this event and helped to make it so very successful – especially as it was the first time the Raikes Hall and its history has been part of Open Heritage Week. Here’s to next year!

We had well in excess of 300 people through the doors for our Raikes Hall & Royal Palace Gardens Exhibition so thank you to everyone who came. Your feedback was fantastic too! Here’s just a few photos of the event – thanks to other exhibitors: Heritage Blackpool, Blackpool Museum Project, Regent Cinema, Strawberry Gardens Community Group and Alan Seddon. Also the fabulous Steve Royle for opening the event for us. Our guest speakers: David Evans (Heritage Blackpool), Kerry Vasiliou (Blackpool Museum Project). Alan Seddon (Local Historian and Raconteur) and Juliette Gregson (Blackpool’s Past). All the talks were full or over subscribed to the point we had to do the talks again to accomodate everyone. We also raised £147.70 for Trinity Hospice – the winner of the rich fruit cake raffle (made by Graham Greenwood) was Nina Russell.

 

 

 

 

Dan Leno – A Royal Jester!

Dan Leno – A Royal Jester!

A New Play in Two Acts

By David Slattery-Christy

Delighted to announce that this play will receive its world premiere at this year’s Lytham Festival. 18 – 22 July 2018 at the Wesley Hall Theatre, Westby Street Lytham.

More Details and Casting Coming Soon. You will be in for a Royle Treat!

Delighted to say I am working on a new play based on the life and career of the legendary Victorian music-hall and Drury Lane pantomime star Dan Leno. It is something that has been in my mind for more than 25 years now. Even before that I had read much about, and become facinated by, the legend that was Dan Leno.

During the mid 1990’s I was lucky to have been given access to the private archive at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, to research material to do with Novello. One afternoon whilst there I was working away and on the far side of the room I heard the sound of papers falling from a shelf. Crossing the room I remember seeing the smiling face of Dan Leno staring back at me from an old publicity photograph. On further inspection I realised that the papers that had fallen were a part of piles of old contracts and programnmes and photographs of Dan Leno’s time at Drury Lane from 1888 to 1903 – when he appeared in the annual pantomimes and created some great and unique dame roles.

That experience has stayed with me all these years and actually brings a chill to my bones when I think of it now. How odd that those particular papers should of their own accord slip off the shelf and draw my attention? That said, it is common knowledge at Drury Lane that Dan makes himself known at times either back stage in the dressing room areas or in the wings on first nights – especially when he wants to help someone. They say that if you see him in the wings on a first night it means the show will be a hit. The picture I have attached to this article is the image of Dan Leno that smiled back at me that day – it shows him as Sister Anne in the pantomime Bluebeard at Drury Lane 1901.

From then on I have thought I must write a play. Recently I saw a pantomime and finally saw a performer who could play Dan Leno and bring all his facial, physical and comedic talents and give us a glimpse again of the greatness that was Dan Leno. It was like the final piece of a jigsaw for me – one that has enabled me to now set about the task of writing the play.

Dan Leno

(George Wild Galvin) 1860-1904

                                                             

Praise Indeed!

Thrilled to get this message from my Literary Agent, Robert Smith, today about Composer of the Week and also my Novello biography In Search of Ruritania

“Just writing to say how much I enjoyed listening to the five programmes on Novello in the Composer of the Week slot on Radio 3, which in turn inspired me to read your book. I liked the format of the programmes, which were very informative and not over-regimented.  I wasn’t expecting the BBC to make special recordings or conduct so many outside interviews.”

“You should be very proud of Ivor Novello In Search of Ruritania.  The level of your research, analysis and understanding is outstanding.  You bring the man to life with all his talents and relationship complexities.  I particularly like the way you persevere in thoroughly understanding some of the people around him, like his mother and Bobbie, in a very fair and non-judgemental way.  The interviews with Mary Ellis and Gordon Duttson were landmarks of how you go deep below the surface impressions.  Without you, their pain and anxieties would have died with them, unrecorded.  Your interviews stand as fine epitaphs to both of them.

Finally, I would mention your own considerable contribution to keeping Novello’s music alive, especially with the public performances in the Grand Saloon, Drury Lane, and of course, through your Novello consultancy on Gosford Park.  Reading those passages in the book was quite an eye opener.”

 

BBC Radio Lancashire

Thanks to John Gillmore & BBC Radio Lancashire for a great interview about my new book Royal Palace Gardens – Blackpool’s Lost Victorian Pleasure Gardens. Listen in and hear for yourself – about 3.15 pm on Wednesday 16 November. The book is available at Amazon and other online retailers and all good book stores.

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David Slattery-Christy & John Gillmore – BBC Radio Lancashire

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