People are being asked to share their memories and experiences of the Victoria Theatre in Halifax, as the venue celebrates 60 years of being in council ownership.
The Victoria Theatre building opened in 1901, but it wasn’t until 1964 that the local authority, then called the Halifax Corporation which later became part of Calderdale Council, purchased the theatre and modernised it.
Over the years the venue has played host some of the biggest names in entertainment. This diamond anniversary celebrates the theatre’s legacy and importance to the local community. To mark this momentous milestone, the theatre is launching a campaign called “60 Years of Stories”, inviting members of the community to share their cherished memories and experiences at the iconic venue.
The “60 Years of Stories” campaign invites anyone with a connection to the Victoria Theatre to share their memories of their relationship with this amazing building. Whether it’s a hilarious first-night performance, a nerve wracking first time on stage, a romantic encounter, a backstage mishap, a wonderful memory of special times with friends and family, or a chance encounter with a favourite performer, all stories are welcome. Tell your stories as individuals, couples or as a group.
Contributions can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the theatre’s social media pages, with text, photograph, voice messages and video submissions welcome. Some of these stories will be included in a video later in the year and will also form part of the theatre’s heritage project; tours and a display, which is being curated by the Friends of the Victoria Theatre.
The anniversary falls in the same year as the Theatre is transformed with new and upgraded facilities to support an improved visitor experience. Visit https://calderdalenextchapter.co.uk/projects/victoria-theatre-halifax-future-high-streets(external link) to find out more.
2024 also marks 50 years since Calderdale became a borough. To celebrate, Calderdale Council is hosting a Year of Culture, to inspire, entertain, and showcase Calderdale by bringing people together through arts, heritage, sports, and culture in all its forms. Find out more at https://www.culturedale.co.uk/(external link)
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:
“The Victoria Theatre has been a cornerstone of Halifax for over a century and has been owned and managed by the Council since 1964. We’re proud of this history and are passionate about the venue’s future, with the anniversary coming at a time when Future High Streets investment is transforming the visitor experience.
“The anniversary also coincides with our Year of Culture, with the theatre campaign complementing and perfectly capturing the Culturedale spirit of celebration and togetherness. We want to acknowledge the impact the venue has in enriching the lives of Calderdale residents, so share your memories to help us build a picture of 60 years of the theatre and make this a year to remember.”
Tim Fagan, Calderdale Council’s Theatres Manager, said:
“This is an exciting year of change for the Victoria Theatre, and as we plan for the future of the venue it is also important to remember the past and celebrate the venue’s rich history. We want to hear from anyone who has ever spent time in and around the venue as well as stepping through the doors to see a show, to help us to paint a picture of the contribution your beautiful venue has made to the local community.
“These stories become part of the fabric of Calderdale’s rich cultural tapestry, showcasing the power of the arts to connect us all. We can’t wait to celebrate these memories and create a living archive that captures the true essence of the theatre and the spirit of the Year of Culture.”
Calderdale’s Year of Culture launches on Saturday 13 April and promises a diverse program of events throughout 2024 and into 2025, catering to all ages and interests. From vibrant festivals and engaging workshops to captivating performances and insightful exhibitions, there will be something for everyone to experience and enjoy.