Friday, 7 June 2013

Playhouse On The Park (book)

Playhouse on the Park
by Edward Thomas
I've had my copy of Playhouse on the Park for a couple of years now. I persuaded Dave to buy it for me as either an early Birthday or Christmas present (I forget which) when we visited the Devonshire Park Theatre for one of their fascinating backstage tours. I believe this was probably when we joined the Friends of the Devonshire Park.

Written by Friends member Edward Thomas, Playhouse On The Park is an amazing resource, a detailed history of the Devonshire Park Theatre in all her glory from her very beginning in 1884 until about four years ago. The last dates mentioned are in 2009. The book is a little dry in places but the sheer volume of information packed into the fairly dense tome will keep you occupied for hours! I particularly like the reproductions of vintage posters and programmes and the stories of 'Names' who have graced the Devonshire's tiny stage. Did you know Bela Lugosi has appeared here? The theatre has kept going despite changing fashions and economic worries and the present day is not the first time that low audience numbers have been cause for concern. But there are many triumphs too and it was fascinating for me to learn about the extensive history of this theatre which I am becoming a part of by continuing to visit it.

The book was originally published in 1997 although the first edition has long since sold out and mine is from the second (2009) print run. I spotted the cover displayed in the sweet kiosk at the theatre on Tuesday when I went to see Murder Weapon so there are still copies available there at the moment. . But if you're reading this post an age after its publication and can no longer get hold of a copy from the DPT or via the Friends, there may be a few available second-hand on Amazon.

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