Archives Come Home to Whitley Bay - PLAYHOUSE Whitely Bay

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Archives Come Home to Whitley Bay

Posted on 03 July 2022

Last week we had a special visitor in the form of Mal Houghton, who just happens to be the Granddaughter of George Houghton, one of the original driving forces behind the venue that would become known as the Playhouse Whitley Bay.

A global pandemic had meant Mrs Houghton's visit was later than all parties had hoped, but Playhouse staff were thrilled when Mal not only paid us a visit (travelling all the way from her home in Leicester), but brought with her Playhouse artefacts dating back to as far as 1913 - the date of which the venue first opened its doors, which included signatures and hand drawn paintings. 

The Playhouse venue started life on March 22, 1913, under the name The Kursaal. Driving force behind the project was Will Catlin, an entertainer who brought Catlin’s Royal Pierrots troupe to Whitley Bay each summer. He had tried for a number of years to get planning permission for a permanent theatre in the town the troupe’s manager, George Houghton, and another member of the party, Will Ambro, entered into a partnership to open the building on Marine Avenue.

Mal spent the afternoon in Whitley Bay, meeting staff, including Playhouse Theatre Director Phil Smith, and being shown around the famous venue. Mal explained to staff:

''These artefacts have been in a museum but I feel the Playhouse is their rightful home, and I hope they can be appreciated by fans of the venue''  

 The artefacts will be put on display soon and will become a significant part of our Heritage Open Day events.