Futurist display marks 90 years

Futurist Theatre pre 1968
Futurist Theatre pre 1968

THE 90th anniversary of Scarborough’s Futurist theatre is being celebrated with an exhibition.

THE 90th anniversary of Scarborough’s Futurist theatre is being celebrated with an exhibition.

The theatre opened its doors on June 27, 1921, and has played host to many stars throughout the years including the Beatles.

To mark the anniversary, Futurist supporters Patricia David and Diana Tasker have prepared an exhibition showing the history and development of the site and the theatre from 1900 to present day.

Using photographs, press cuttings and researched material, the display will show how the programme of entertainment was dictated by the times – in particular the introduction of television entertainment.

Decade by decade, the exhibition will demonstrate how changes were also dictated by the fashion of the times and advances in technology and tastes.

The Futurist was purpose built as both a theatre and “super cinema” for impresario Will Catlin by Frank Tugwell, a Scarborough resident who was an eminent and nationally recognised architect.

The theatre was able to accommodate cinematic entertainment along with music concerts, by the Futurist’s resident orchestra, and live, mainly amateur entertainment.

The first major live event was the ballerina Anna Pavlova dancing with the Covent Garden Opera House corps de ballet in 1927.

Members of the public are welcome to come and view the exhibition, which will be held upstairs at Scarborough Library in Vernon Road.

Invited guests will attend a preview on Tuesday at 11am. The exhibition will then open to the public after lunch.

It will be on until the library closing time of 7pm on Thursday June 30.

Fact file

- The Beatles performed at the theatre in December 1963 as part of their lengthy Autumn tour, performing hits such as ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘She loves you’ and ‘I saw her standing there’.

The band returned on one subsequent occasion in 1964.

- The Futurist was home to the Black and White Minstrel Show, after it was dismissed from the BBC in August 1980.

The show consisted of country songs, comic skits, dance routines and lavish costumes.

- Other famous faces to grace the stage include The Nolans, Val Doonican, Ben E.King, Jools Holland and Take That. More recently the theatre has played host to The Chuckle Brothers, Brendan Cole and Derren Brown.

- During 1980s the Borough Council took over the property and leased it to Apollo Leisure (UK) Ltd, which became Clear Channel and thereafter SFX and the latter closed the building in 2002.

- In December 2002 Brenda and Barrie Stead, who also run the Hollywood Plaza Cinema, took over the Futurist and refurbished the theatre and cinema, installing new projectors, DTS sound system and a new cinemascope screen.