Feb- Twenty Five Brick Lane Years!
Vincent with Shelby, Ellie,Ben, Danny and Sam
Today, February 12th 2017 marks the 25th Anniversary of Vincent Hayes’s Brick Lane Music Hall! To celebrate the Brick Lane website has Twenty Five photos of our worthy founder- take a look at www.bricklanemusichall.co.uk/news/
The First Music Hall opened its doors on the 12th February 1992 in the former Truman Brewery at Brick Lane.
Zara Kattan was at the first Brick Lane for the opening show. She began as a waitress, and then as one of a group of “singing” waitresses before taking over the running of the Box Office the following year. She has been totally involved with the administration and productions ever since.
Zara recalled her first day at the converted Truman Brewery site, when the building was not quite open. She saw what appeared to be a caretaker sweeping up. He then jumped up on to the stage and did a sound check. She wasn’t sure exactly what was happening, and was introduced to the “caretaker” – Vincent Hayes, and realised the unique set-up she had walked in to.
Within three weeks the stress of running and opening the venue affected Vincent, and he fell foul of a virus. He remembers sliding down the wall of the building, and very little else! Dockyard Doris took over presenting the show until he recovered.
The format then was to put on a Music Hall show four days a week, Wednesday to Saturday, changing the show twice a month.
On the Brick Lane’s First Birthday Barbara Windsor came to the theatre and appeared in a show. Danny La Rue came along to watch, and that began his involvement in the BrickLaneMusic Hall for the years that followed. Danny became a regular star turn at the Theatre in all its addresses.
Barbara Windsor called “Brick Lane” her Lucky charm Theatre. She said how she appeared at the venue in her show. Vincent suggested the second half (after her tribute to Marie Lloyd) would be a good setting for a Question and answer session. A BBC Producer happened to be there, saw Barbara and thought “I wonder why she’s never done Eastenders?”. Peggy Mitchell was born there and then!
The First Brick Lane Pantomime was in the December of 1992. It was “Dick Whittington”- It had Graham Richards as Dame, Vincent as Silly Billy, Brian Walker and Robert Meadmore as King Rat.
Paul & Nigel in the current “Schlepping Beauty”
Brian was ill for a performance and Zara found herself taking to the stage with a drawn on moustache and playing his role at a moments notice!
This Building, in Silvertown is Vincent’s third Music hall. It occupies what was once St Mark’s Church, built in the 1870’s. Four years ago Vincent was awarded the MBE for his services to British Music Hall.
The Panto had an amazing response on Saturday Night- Standing ovations. We had a lovely party of ladies who had travelled from Swansea (my home town) just to see the show! That’s quite a trip!
Had fun with them- a lovely group, and even managed a quick chat in Welsh to surprise them!
David & Matt. Matt Pallant.
This week we have David Harvey as our MD while Tom fulfils his prior engagements, and we have Matt Pallant in for Martin. The transition was flawless, and a better bunch of guys in our orchestra you won’t find anywhere!. That’s worth the fiver they gave me to say that!
Our visitor this week the lovely Saskia Brynne. Saskia was Principal Boy in Panto here, and the veteran of many BLMH shows. She’s recently been entertaining on glamorous ships in glamorous places!
Deadly Nightshade and her Bad Boys & Girls.
The week has flown by- Tonight (Saturday) the last of the week, and now two days off before the Valentine’s Day Tea show on Tuesday. I think we are now sold out, which is great, and an innovation this month will be Two Shows on Two Saturdays- an afternoon and an evening. One of those is a special Charity Evening for the GOWR or Grand Order Of Water Rats as it is officially known, and that will be a red carpet and celeb studded evening, raising money for this great Entertainment Charity.
Happy Anniversary Vincent & Brick Lane!