TIVOLI THEATRE UPDATE
January 2013. Refurbishment Report
September 2009, November 2011, February 2012, January 2013
and Sept-October 2013
September 20th 2009
The cobbles in Trinity Street, Stirling Street and Rennies Wynd have been picked up and are in the process of being relaid.
The pavements along the back of the Tivoli is also to be renewed.
The whole street has been lifted. You can see that the Tivoli Stage Door entrance is still blocked in. On the right Sizzlers is now
a through Cafe onto Guild Street. This was a sweet shop during the Tivoli years. I ocassionally bought a bag of Brandy Balls or
Candy Peanuts to enjoy at the Tivoli. In the back ground is the Spirit Level Bar which used to be the Sprat.
I have had two visits to Aberdeen in the last few months and passed by the Tivoli Theatre to see how the external refurbishing work is going. In November 2011 I only took
photos of the rear of the building as the front was still in wraps, protecting the workers from the weather. However, I did notice that the roof at the front had been completed
and looked very good.
Below are the photos I took of the rear, showing the refurbishing work was going along nicely.
It is quite a large job with the walls having to be scrapped clean and the holes and dips filled in before resurfacing work can be completed.
This, back of stage window was also bricked up and is now un-bricked once again.
The doors at the rear of the stage where heavy scenery and musical equipment is lifted and lowered by vehicles with a crane or lift.
The doors are a good 15 feet above street level.
The roof and front have been completed but they have got a little behind, due to the weather, with the rear of the building. According to the workman I talked to they should catch up.
The rear of the building is still covered and work refurbishing the wall, doors and windows continue.
The work includes the north side wall
The stage Door is far right. The other doors were for the electrics and Coal store rooms
What a difference! No weeds growing out of the eves and roof. Everything looks neat, clean and water tight once again.
The entrance to the 'Gods' with the staircase winding it's way up three floors. Brings back memories of the long
ques stretching back around the building and the buskers entertaining the crowds.
The paintwork around the window arches and the main doors are of a rich maroon colour and the fine details stand out once again..
The cleaned-up and painted eves and windows. The window arches have been had every other stone painted in a dark, flat maroon
colour while the doors have been given the same colour but in a rich, deep gloss.
The only thing missing is the glass & iron canopy. Hopefully this will be replaced.
It's nice to see the work progressing so well and hopefully work will also be taking place in the interior.
Tivoli Refurbishment 2012 (January)
Last time, back in January/February, I took photos of the completed work to the front of the building. The rear still had scaffolding all over it and work continuing.
However, the work has now been completed and the Tivoli is now looking really spick & span once again.
Work has started on the interior and it will be interesting to see that completed. The latest report I saw in the Evening Express was that the theatre is due to open
sometime next year.
JANUARY 2013 (Tivoli Exhibition & Latest News)
I had a nice meeting with Tivoli owner, Brian Hendry on the 10th of January during the month long Exhibition. Along with anArt Exhibition by Local artist, Eric Auld the public are allowed to view the interior of the theatre via a glass & wooden Gallery. You can see the scaffolding and work taking place on the refurbishment of the interior and tere were two screens showing photos of the many artists who appeared at the Tivoli and another showing a DVD of Aberdeen in the past, which also included a clip of Alex Findley appearing on stage back in the 40's. It wasn't possible to wander around the theatre as it like a building site at the moment with work taking place. However this did allow you to see the theatre in it's present situation and when the Tivoli finally reopens you will be able to see the difference. There was a steady stream of people viewing the building during every open day. Brian doesn't take donation and relied on the amount of people visiting during the op en days to bring in some money to go towards te refurbishment work.
I was lucky in the Brian was able to take me into the theatre and show me what was going on and to take a few photographs. It was nice to the see the stage fully open and clear of the old Bingo parephenalia and also seeing right up into the Fly's now that the false ceiling has been removed. It was disappointing find that the side lighting Battens, along with the Footlight batten have been removed. However the Three overhead battens are still in place and possibly useable. With the Side and footlight battens gone this would mean that the wiring to the Grand Master Lighting Control Panal has also be broken. It is planned to have the boarding around the Grand Master removed and an attempt made to see if it is still working. All the stage lighting and the House Lights were operated from the pane via dimmers. Many artists and groups use their own modern digital lighting these days but there should still be some use for the Grand Master. It was the High-Tech of it's day and a joy to operate. It will be a shadow of itself with no side and footlight battens to operate. However, it is a fantastic, historical piece of equipment in it's own right and hopefully, whether it is actually used for present day stage lighting or not, it will make a great static exhibition. There can't be many like it still about!
Eric's portrait of his mother. The white spots are flash reflection.
The new seats for the Tivoli. They are wider than the original seats, to fit today's generation!
This means that at least two seats per row are lost. I tried the seat and it is very comfortable.
They are designed to give comfort for longer than the average show time.
0012The Stalls, Circle and Gallery (Gods) still in Bingo colours but with scaffolding waiting for the massive repaint to begin.
Brian Hendry looks on. The wooden & glass frame is the public's viewing Gallery.
It will look nicer when the paintwork is returned to it's cream colour once again. I found the Bingo paintwork very
gaudy and an insult to the building.
The Left & Right 'Boxes' with the statue top right. You can see the two screens showing the photo and video presentations.
Do you recognize the late comedian, Chick Murray on the left hand screen!
This is a scene I have been waiting to see for a long time. With the false ceiling removed above the stage you can see right into the 'Fly's',
with the four overhead light battens still hanging. Mostly it was only the three battens that were in use as the rear on was usually behind the rear backdrop.
The white lights on the rear batten were set at a 'peep' to allow artists and stage hands to move safely from one side of the stage to the other as required.
The tartan edging is of interest to me as I assisted the theatre painter, Charlie Cooper a little when it was put up. I also still have cuttings from this paper,
which I used as background when making some of my home cine film titles.
The Grand Master lighting controller and the Stage Manager's control panel has been boxed in since closure. The Control panel is above this.
New wiring and switches have been diverted off the main panel for Bingo use. This is to be opened up once again.. In the left photo, on the left
in the background, right, you can see the rotating handle that changed the programme numbers that were placed each side of the stage, facing
the audience. Above it you can just make out a lever on a long piece of metal. Above this again you can see a black box with 2 or 3 leavers at
the bottom. I am not certain which is which but between them they operated the Safety Curtain, Main Curtains and the rising front microphone.
Also on this wall was the audio system controls, with a two-way speaker connected to all the dressing rooms for calling the artists as they were
Left: Standing in what was the Stage Manager's office, which was next to the Star's dressing room. These two have now been opened into one and is
being fully refurbished. It is interesting to think, by the window on the right many great Scottish artists sat at their dressing table getting prepared for
their next performance. I can picture such as Alex Findley, Jack Milroy, Lex McLean, Johnny Victory, Ally Wilson, Clark & Murray, Andy Stewart
and Calum Kennedy all using that room during my time at the Tivoli. In years gone by others such as Marie Lloyd had used it. In fact,Marie Lloyd
died in the theatre during appearing there.
Right: The steps from the street into the Stalls as they are at the moment.
TIVOL UPDATE September-October 2013
During a couple of short visits to the Tivoli duuring September & October I was able to catch up with more news on the progress towards reopening.
The stalls has been completely cleared waiting for the new seating to be installed. The repainting to original colours will take around three years to complete and will be done in stages. As will the theatre
reopening. A Pantomime is booked for the Christmas period with the offical opening show taking place in 2014. A number of shows have already been booked for the immediate future. The Stalls
will be used first with the circle following that. Sadly, the 'Gods' can no longer be used due to Health & Saftety restrictions. The space will be used to form rehearsal rooms and a green room.
Left: 18th Sept. 2013. The auditorium from the stage. The lime box is seen center of the 'Gods and you can still see the left & right windows of the original lime room' along the circle of the ceiling.
Right: A lighting and sound system appears to have been used recently. You can see the platform of the Flies with it's wooden walkway leading along the back wall to the other side of the flies.
The stage is now relatively cleared and the new stage flooring almost completed. The flooring is of flat panals in a material that is used by
modern theatres today and will handle the most energetic dancer or group. Also seen is the orchestra pit that was also covered over and
is now fully clear once again. It will be used both by the theatre orchestra and for extra exhibition space when required.
Stage Right: The scenery holding bay on the far left with the steps leading up onto the stage lighting platform.
The side of the panal can be seen along with the guard rail surrounding the platform.
(1st of September 2013) The Grand Master stage lighting panal has been uncovered after many years of having been boxed-in and is an excellent condition.
The gearing has been cleaned and greased and the dimmers are in working order. However, it is not planned to use the panal as most artists and groups
today have their own digital sound & lighting systems. The panal will be fully refurbished and put on display as an historical theatrical example of a
grand stage lighting control panal. It could well be the only one remaining and was the High-Tec of stage lighting in it's day.
Another comparison between the 2013 photo above and the 1962 photo blow. It was quite magic to have stood at the control
panal after so many years
Taken in March 1962. Fifty years younger. Where did they go! This photo was taken by the then Stage Manager, the late David Allan.
External View on the18th of September. The pavement in front of the theatre is close to being relaid and The Tivoli Theatre Company name above
the old entrance to the 'Gods' proclaims that the theatre is back in business.
OTHER REFURBISHING PROJECTS AROUND THE TIVOLI
Updated October 2013
Along with the Tivoli there are numerous refurbishing prgrammes taking place to upgrade the area between the Green, Guild Street and Bridge Street.
The new Union Shopping Center, along with the hotel and multi cinema complex will help regenerate the area and bring people to the new facilities.
Rennies Wynd. Street refurbishment.
Left; Rennies Wynd refurbishment with the new Ibis Hotel on the site of the old Guild Treet Goods Depot. and bus station.
Right: Carmalite Lane building refurbishment.
Aitchies Ale House and Hotel, Trinity Street having a makeover in 2008.
May 2012. The Lorne Bar being prepared for taking apart brick-by-brick for complete
refurbishment. Next door, left, the Aitchies Bar has already been completed.
Jan. 2013. The rebuild in well in hand. It appears that the Bar didn't close during this work!
On the left you can see the numbers on the bricks so that they can be replaced in the correct order.
To the right the old housing block in Carmalite Street has been refurbished and modern top stories added.
'Cheers' in Exchange Street during refurbishment. Sept. 2012.
Cheers in Exchange Street during refurbishment. Sept. 2012. The old Imperial Hotel (with the Tower) was refurbished a
short time back.
The Carmalite Hotel refurbishment between Stirling Street and Carmalite Lane. This work is aso being carried out by Brian Hendry the owner of
the Tivoli. Many of you will have memories of food cooking as you passed by the kitchen.
The rear of the Carmalite Hotel is interesting as it has been designed almost as well as the front of the building and has numerous interesting shapes.
The lovely stain glassed window, which I take is the restuarant or perhaps a ballroom is very attractive. A bitter contarst is this fine olf building with
the more modern monstrosity of the 'New' New Market building at he top of the street. The interior is a most depressing place to visit these days.
Eventually this area of Aberdeen, which had been allowed to become very run down will eventually return to it's former glory and add to the the
attractions that will bring many more people to the area. I would love to see Bridge Street receive the same attention as the once grand buildings
there are really looking very drab these days.
September 2013 and the Carmalite Hotel looks resplendant once again
after it's complete renovation.