It’s hard to believe but, 25 years ago, Milton Keynes Theatre was no more than a twinkle in the town planner’s eye. But in just a few weeks’ time, on October 4th, it will be 20 years exactly since the curtain rose on the first professional show in front of a packed house.
So, with that in mind, we’d like you to come and help us celebrate our birthday!
But not all of the party plans revolve around that one particular day. “Overall this is a bumper year for us” says Theatre Director Emma Sullivan “with no less than 414 performances on the stage including an amazing programme of shows and events happening throughout the autumn. At the centre of the season we have three world class operas from Glyndebourne as well as English National Ballet with their critically internationally acclaimed production of Le Corsaire – that’s ballet and pirates, what’s not to love?”
With the winner of every best musical award, Kinky Boots, the sell-out London smash hit Six and the stage musical adaptation of the Dollywood blockbuster 9 to 5 all coming to MKT this autumn, it’s a line-up of shows to get you into the party mood.
As for the birthday on Friday October 4th itself, well, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will be onstage and everyone who books a ticket or already has one for that performance will be offered a celebratory glass of bubbly and a slice of cake. And from the beginning of October we’ll have some special edition birthday memorabilia merchandise on sale.
While the building has stood the test of time well and is still looking beautiful we’ve taken the opportunity to introduce some exciting changes and refurbish some areas of the foyer. We are erecting a new sign, relighting the outside of the building and installing some double sided digital screens – to give a preview of what’s going on inside the theatre, outside!
We’ve already launched a programme of refurbishment to add to your comfort by replacing and increasing the number of chairs and upgrading the bars on the circle levels. Downstairs we are transforming the Piano Bar which will be renamed the Garden Room – as it was originally called. The central bar island will be moved, there’ll be new furniture and a new restaurant concept for the benefit of all our theatregoers. But there will also be the option of closing the glass doors across to enable the space to be used for private events or our regular comedy club nights. And of course, apart from the new Garden Room we have the VIP Ambassador Lounge experiences for anyone wanting to treat themselves to a really special night out.
Finally, to share the success of the last 20 years with our audience members and to mark this special birthday in a very visible way we are creating a ‘Wall of Stars’ in the foyer. It will be a chance to support your theatre by buying a plaque in the shape of a gold star with your name on it and you will be invited to take a backstage tour and enjoy a VIP reception.
Throughout the last 20 years, day after day you, our audience, have made this building come alive. Now we would like to share with you the excitement that we feel in celebrating this milestone. And look forward to the next 20 years together.