Nottingham

Emu, Grotbags and Hasselhoff: 150 years of panto posters

A poster for Babes in the Wood Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption One of the earliest panto productions in Nottingham was Babes in the Wood in 1868

A theatre celebrating its 150th anniversary has released dozens of historic pantomime posters.

Nottingham's Theatre Royal opened in 1865, and held its first panto - The House that Jack Built - the same year.

The annual event continued almost uninterrupted, even through world wars, attracting a wide range of stars.

Headline names have included George Formby, Tony Hancock, Danny La Rue, Leslie Crowther, Orville and, recently, David Hasselhoff and Su Pollard.

Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption A rather dramatic Sinbad poster from 1889

The opening show at the theatre was the 18th Century play The School for Scandal, but after the final curtain manager Walter Montgomery promised weighty dramas and lighter entertainment.

"As an earnest expression of our efforts we begin with Sheridan - Shakespeare will soon follow. Nor whilst providing the solids of the banquet shall we neglect the trifle," he said.

"The gay burlesque and the witty farce soon follow and to these in due season King Pantomime will succeed."

Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption Cinderella remains a popular pantomime in Nottingham

Over the years, the theatre has put on classics such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Dick Whittington, Babes in the Wood and much more.

Previous panto performers have lined up to wish the venue a happy birthday.

Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption This Humpty Dumpty poster dates from 1946

David Hasselhoff said: "I have fond memories of the Theatre Royal Nottingham because of the culture of the city and the legend of Robin Hood, but also the mystery and elegance of the theatre.

"You could feel the presence of the actors and audiences that have spanned the past 150 years. It is an amazing theatre"

Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption Were you free to see John Inman as Mother Goose in 1978?
Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption This 1983 production showcased the talents of Little and Large, as well as Bernie Clifton

And comedian Brian Conley said: "I have very fond memories of performing in one of my first pantomimes with Little & Large many years ago and then to come back and star in my own pantomime was such an honour.

"It is such a beautiful theatre, wonderful for comedy and a great place that brings the whole community together."

Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption 1986's Robinson Crusoe not only featured Rod Hull and Emu, but also their villainous Pink Windmill co-star Grotbags
Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption Bobby Davro headlined the ever-popular Cinderella in 2003
Image copyright Theatre Royal Nottingham
Image caption David Hasselhoff has paid tribute to Nottingham's 'amazing theatre'

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