Barrasford descendant's support
I am the great-granddaughter of the theatre impressario Thomas Barrasford, who was responsible for creating so many wonderful theatres across the country, including the Brighton Hippodrome.
Sadly, so much of his legacy has been allowed to fall into disrepair, to ne converted beyond recognition, or has simply been demolished. I was absolutely thrilled when I heard of your campaign to preserve the Brighton Hippodrome and save it from the fate so many of his theatres have suffered.
Through his work, Thomas touched the lives of thousands, possibly millions of artistes, technicians and theatre-goers, bringing pleasure and prosperity to the people, towns and cities fortunate enough to possess a Barrasford theatre. I am immensely proud of my ancestor, who was an entrepreneur, inventor, fierce competitor and a human being so well respected by his family and friends.
Left: advertisements appeared weekly in the trade press to announce who was appearing where on the Barrasford tour.
Right: crowds throng Middle Street for Thomas Barrasford's funeral, 5 February 1910
I am therefore delighted to write in support of your efforts to ensure his theatre can once again serve the people of Brighton and beyond, resuming its role as a place of community, laughter and culture, and a flagship for the south-east of England.
I wish you every success in your endeavours, the progress of which I will watch with keen anticipation every step of the way.
Mrs J L Cover
Tim Anscombe, producer and production manager
Sara Aspley, Director of Commercial Services, Royal Shakespeare Company
Sir Alan Ayckbourn, playwright and director
Michael Attenborough, director
David Benedictus, writer and theatre director
Anne Bickmore, Founder, ABC Fund
Christopher Biggins, actor and television presenter
Kevin Bishop, actor
Ted Bottle, theatre historian, Editor, Old Theatres Magazine
Billy Bragg, musician
Philip Martin Brown, actor
Martin Burton, Founder and Director, Zippos Circus
Julian Caddy, Managing Director, Brighton Fringe
Brian Capron, actor
Andrew Cheeseman, events producer
Nigel Cole, film director [Calendar Girls, Made in Dagenham]
Norman Cook, musician
Gordon Craig, Samuel Beckett scholar
Richard Crane, playwright
Julie Christie, actress
Dame Judi Dench, actress
Ivor Dembina, comedian
Ken Dodd, comedian
Ivan Douglas, Costume Department Administrator, Royal Shakespeare Company
Keith Drinkel, actor
Janette Eddisford, Principal, Academy of Creative Training
Murray Edwards, Executive Director, Wakefield Theatre Royal
Fenella Fielding, actress
Max Finbow, Managing Director, David Ian Productions
Kevin Fitzmaurice, Producer, Royal Shakespeare Company
Tim Flavin, actor
Mark Fox, Advertising Manager, Really Useful Theatre Group
Mark Graham, production manager, Royal Shakespeare Company
Colin Granger, co-founder, Komedia
Stephen Grant, comedian and presenter
Frank Gray, Director, Screen Archive South East, University of Brighton
Dame Beryl Grey, ballerina*
Raymond Gubbay, impressario
Liz Hall, Executive Director, Carousel
Mark Hammill, actor
Pam Harcourt, Tiller Girl
Professor Gavin Henderson, Principal, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama*
Mark Hewitt, Artistic Director, Lewes Live Literature
Roy Hudd, comedian, actor and broadcaster
Helen Hughes, Head of Dye, Royal Shakespeare Company
Sir Nicholas Hytner, Director, National Theatre
Shirley Jaffe, actress*
Peter James, novelist
Gareth Johnson, theatrical producer and manager
Davy Jones, Green Party PPC for Brighton Kemptown
Barb Jungr, singer-songwriter
Dillie Keane, actress, singer, comedienne
Dame Penelope Keith, actress
Josie Kidd, actress
Rosalie Kirkman, Tiller Girl, Queen Ratling 2014*
Marina Kobler, co-founder, Komedia
Mike Leigh, film and stage director
David Lavender, co-founder, Komedia
Richard Linford, theatre producer, artist manager
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion
Alistair McArthur, Head of Costume, Royal Shakespeare Company
Joseph McGann, actor
Sir Brian McMaster, former Director, Edinburgh International Festival
Simon Marsden, Technical Director, Royal Shakespeare Company
Claire Martin OBE, singer and broadcaster
Sheila Matthews, actress and singer*
Clarie Middleton, Chief Executive, Hackney Empire
Sarah Miles, actress
Clarence Mitchell, Conservative PPC for Brighton Pavilion
Bruce Montague, actor and writer
Henry Naylor, comedy writer, director and performer
Graham Norton, television presenter and host
Dara Ó Briain, comedian and television presenter
Professor Robert Orledge, music scholar
Toby Park, Director, Spymonkey Theatre Company
Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity
Mick Perrin, comedy promoter
Nigel Pitman, former Executive Director London, Arts Council England
Peter Polycarpou, actor
Rebecca Preston, Development Director, Royal Shakespeare Company
Rupert Rhymes, President, Frank Matcham Society
Jessica Rutherford, former Head of Museums and Director of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Jack Shepherd, actor
Keith Shepherd, chairman, Brighton Theatre Group
Michael Simkins, actor
Malcolm Sinclair, President, Equity
Anthony Slide, cinema historian
Dr Robert Snell, author, psychotherapist
Don Stacey, circus historian
John Stalker, theatrical producer
Gavin Stamp, architectural historian
Joe Stilgoe, singer, songwriter
Karen Street, musician, composer
Count Arthur Strong, actor and raconteur
Gerry Tebbutt, musical theatre teacher
Josephine Tewson, actress
Horace Trubridge, Assistant General Secretary, Musicians Union
Chris Turner, actor/songwriter/composer
Lalla Ward, actress
Dave Webster, National Organiser Live Performance, Musicians Union
Sir Arnold Wesker, playwright
Barbara Whatley, actress*
Dave Willetts, actor
Faynia Williams, theatre director, BBC producer
Tom Emlyn Williams, tenor
David Wood, children's dramatist
Johnny Worthy, actor, director, Equity trustee
Mark Wynter, singer and actor*
Paul Zenon, magician
*appeared at the Hippodrome
I would like to add my voice to your list of supporters who are trying to prevent the redevelopment of this grand building. Brighton is a wonderful touring date in the theatre, and it seems tragic to turn the Hippodrome into something else entirely instead of restoring it to its former glory and original beauty. Frank Matcham must be spinning in his grave!
Please, please. please. do not take the easy way out and allow this strikingly original and glorious theatre to become another soulless multiplex cinema. In the summer of 1964 I appeared on the bill there for several weeks along with the brilliantly accomplished magician David Nixon and skiffle king Lonnie Donegan.
'I hope they do not pull the Hippodrome down and replace it with a block of flats.'
—Judy Cornwell, who made her debut as a dancer at the Hippodrome at the age of 15 and took the lead in Cinderella when the lead actress fell ill. [Quoted in The Argus 23 April 2016].
Photo copyright Andrew Higgins
Thank you for your efforts to save the Brighton Hippodrome, a magnificent Grade II* listed building. There are few enough of them left and, as you probably know, Blackpool Grand is one of them. We saved that in the 70s.
Don't forget: Once it's gone, it's gone.
I do hope your campaign is successful.
Plans for the cinema conversion come close to heritage destruction of a Grade II* listed building and there will be little chance of this wonderful theatre ever being used again for live performance.
I was astonished to hear that yet another multi-screened cinema was being proposed for Brighton. We have two which are never full plus the Duke of York. I protest and hope the project will be abandoned especially now that the new budget has announced support for theatres in the regions.
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Page updated 21 September 2016