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Show to bring Gloucester theatre back to life

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: December 04, 2009

  • life's a stage: Adrian Locher, left, and Alexander Gifford during a break in rehearsals at the Picturedrome.

  • Get your tickets: Winifred Baker, front of house volunteer manager.  

  • atmosphere: Adrian tours the revamped theatre.

  • future: The Picturedrome.

  • beautiful: Winifred points out some of the theatre's special features

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Tucked away in one of Gloucester's most culturally vibrant districts, a true hidden gem of the city is waiting to make its biggest comeback yet.

The former New Olympus Theatre in Barton Street was bought by businessmen Ash Chavda and Babu Odedra in early 2008.

And after almost two years of work on the Picturedrome, a new company is preparing a production to bring the theatre back into the limelight.

Members of the Gloucester Theatre Company are currently preparing to take their rendition of C.S. Lewis's popular tale The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to the Barton stage.

Producer Adrian Locher said they are focusing on a very bright future for the Picturedrome.

"We took the reins here in January," said Adrian.

"I think Ash and Babu had done all this work and then discovered that they weren't theatre people.

"Although we have done things since we took over in January, we really see this as the official relaunch of the theatre.

"People have said to us that this is the wrong side of town for a theatre, but we said no, let's make it the right end of town.

"This show is how we want to launch the theatre as a venue for Gloucestershire, and something which Gloucester can be proud of again."

Since October, cast, crew and musicians have been working around the clock making lion's heads, learning lines, and creating the magical world of Narnia on the theatre's stage.

Actors now rehearse daily for the show, which opens on Friday night.

Rosemary Kear, from Stroud, will play Lucy in the performance, which runs until January 3.

She said: "The last week has been a crunch time.

"A lot of hard work, but very rewarding.

"I guess I'm half nervous and half excited about the opening on Friday."

Along with a real walking lion, the show will feature a flying eagle, a giant, and a rotating wardrobe. The orchestra is made up of members of the company.

"We took the decision not to do a panto because pantos happen all the time, and it's not really our style," said Adrian.

"It's a beautiful theatre production, with a wonderful mix of professional and youth actors, and I think the theatre is absolutely perfect for what we're trying to do."

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    John, Glos City  |  December 05 2009, 9:21AM

    Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman were working on a house. Gordon who was nailing down siding would reach into his nail pouch, pull out a nail and either toss it over his shoulder or nail it in. Harriet, figuring this was worth looking into, asked, "Why are you throwing those nails away?" Gordon explained, "If I pull a nail out of my pouch and it's pointed TOWARD me, I throw it away 'cause it's defective. If it's pointed toward the HOUSE, then I nail it in!" Harriet got completely upset and yelled, "You MORON!!! The nails pointed toward you aren't defective! They're for the OTHER side of the house!!"

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    SALLYANNE, gloucester  |  December 04 2009, 1:40PM

    I hope it is a sucess it looks lovely in there , i cant wait to go in and see someting exciting.

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    Kev, Glos  |  December 04 2009, 11:16AM

    I really do wish the theatre luck. 2 points:- The council need to make a huge effort to ensure people feel safe on arrival and when they leave. Parking worries me? Also, once again, what a rubbish report! You know what wouldve been really useful? A link to buying some tickets! For goodness sake.

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    Willow, Gloucester  |  December 04 2009, 7:47AM

    Joe - I totally agree...this has been a long time coming and I wish them luck with everything - this theatre has seen many, many packed houses in the past - it's high time for some more. Good luck to all - I will be there to see the results.

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    Joe K, Barton & Tredworth  |  December 04 2009, 7:26AM

    I may be the only one wishing the production good luck and full houses, as this article is slipping off the main page now. Shouldn't it be on the Barton & Tredworth news page, as well?

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