It's the Palace Theatre's 100th birthday in 2020 and we're celebrating our decades-long history as the hub of entertainment in Newark throughout the year.

While our celebrations haven't quite gone to plan, our team and some of our wonderful regular performers came together to put on a weekend of messages and performances on our Facebook page from the 3rd to the 5th July 2020. You can see the video which finished off the weekend below, featuring Kate Rusby, Steve Steinman, Beyond the Barricade, our sponsors Tallents Solicitors, Theatre of Widdershins, Poet in Residence for Newark Book Festival 2020 Leanne Moden and our team.

100 Years of History

On Monday 5th July 1920, this stunning venue opened its doors as a picture house built by local entrepreneur Emily Blagg, who, in a time when the suffragettes were fighting for female independence, had managed to carve out a successful career in property development. Having opened Newark's first cinema, the Kinema on Baldertongate, in 1913 as well as building The Park and Lime Grove, she made the decision to expand on her small empire and knocked down the Chauntry House to create her vision of the perfect art deco theatre.

Its Neo-Byzantine style was exotic, upmarket and fashionable and from its first screening, a version of King Solomon's Mines, it quickly became a popular haunt for the residents of Newark. Blagg was a shrewd businesswoman and, although she opened the Palace as a cinema, she made sure to fit it out with a sizeable stage and orchestra pit to allow for the possibility that the town's appetite for film might wane. And sure enough, within the year a strong programme of live events was in place.

Since then, a slew of famous names have tread the boards at the Palace. Sir Donald Wolfit began his stage career here in 1921 and returned with Miss Marple herself, Margaret Rutherford, and John Clements a decade later. In 1927, prima ballerina Anna Pavlova graced the stage and in 1950 Cliff Richard had Newark rocking away within its walls.

The theatre has given more than entertainment to the town over the years; its spectacular minarets proved the ideal lookout post for spotting fires during the Second World War.

Since then, the Palace has gone through many changes but has survived threats of closure thanks to the people of Newark, who've rallied on several occasions to save it. While the cinema is no more, the Theatre continues the tradition of hosting fantastic entertainment and bringing famous names to the town, which in recent years have included Jason Manford, Jimmy Carr, Joan Armatrading, Jason Donovan and more.

Our Past, Your Future Fund

To honour a century of being centre stage in Newark and to thank the local community for their lasting support, we are delighted to have launched a brand new legacy scheme: The Our Past, Your Future Fund. Hoping to give back to the fantastic local community, the fund's aim is to encourage and nurture Newark's young talent by offering scholarships and funding to people who aspire to careers in the arts. Applications are due to open in the autumn.

We will be raising money for the fund through a programme of special events including a fabulous community gala in July. Thanks to the kind support of Tallents Solicitors, we are able to commit all proceeds from this event to the fund.

Sponsor A Seat

As part of our centenary year and fundraising for the Our Past, Your Future Fund, we're delighted to have launched a new Sponsor A Seat initiative. This gives our theatre visitors the chance to make their mark on this stunning theatre's historic story as well as the opportunity to contribute to the Our Past, Your Future Fund. The perfect present for a theatre fan or special treat for yourself, sponsors will receive a sponsorship pack including a certificate and complimentary Palace Membership for the duration of your sponsorship.

Prices to Sponsor A Seat are as follows:

3 Year Sponsorship £150
5 Year Sponsorship £225
10 Year Sponsorship £400

Please contact Box Office on 01636 655755 or in person for more details.

Virtual Memory Sessions

Saturday 22nd, 11am to 12.30pm and Monday 24th May, 2pm to 3.30pm
Let us know you're coming by booking a free place here

After an unusual 100th birthday year for us, with emergency food parcels and Christmas presents for charities filling our stage rather than performers, we're now ramping up our centenary celebrations again, preparing for an exciting exhibition this summer. Taking place on our stage from late July to August, the exhibition will feature programmes, costumes and objects from our hundred years of history but its star will be your memories.

To collect these, we're hosting two Virtual Memory Sessions, taking place on Zoom. All are welcome to share their fond memories of shows and films throughout the Theatre’s past and invited to share items which tell stories of its history but we are particularly keen to hear from people who have worked here in the past and those who have memories or objects from before 1950. While there is a thorough archive of past Newark Amateur Operatic Society shows, we're also seeking memories from people who have been involved in other community performances here over the years.

If you have stories to tell, register to attend here. We can't wait to hear them and share them with all our visitors when the exhibition launches.

Patchwork Palace

We've teamed up with the National Civil War Centre's Learning Team for a project to celebrate our centenary from home. We're calling all crafters to help remember some special times and get history all sewn up! You may not be able to visit the theatre, but you can help us to create our own little piece of history by getting involved in our community quilting project. 

We are hoping for some squares which build up a picture of the front of the theatre, and others which illustrate performances you have seen and happy times you have spent there.

How you sew your 6 inch square is up to you! Applique, cross stitch, tapestry, embroidery, machine stitched – it’s your choice. Use materials you already have to hand and put your own personality into your stitching. Tell your friends, and let’s make this really huge!

Find instructions here: Patchwork Palace Instructions (PDF File, 685kb) 

If you have any questions or would like a bit more guidance, email

Completed patches should be sent in by the end of May to be included in our centenary memories quilt. These can either be dropped off in person from Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm or posted to: Palace Theatre, 14 Appletongate, Newark, NG24 1JY.


Heritage Open Days 2020

Heritage Open Days is back from Friday 11th to Sunday 20th September and we're offering you the chance to take a trip behind the scenes of the 100 year old Palace Theatre… from the comfort of your home! In this online mini video tour, our team will reveal some of the Theatre’s fascinating secrets in its centenary year. Check our Facebook page during the Festival dates to watch!