Royal Aquarium theatre programmes

Photo:Royal Aquarium theatre programme - Rolf Harris Show, 1967

Royal Aquarium theatre programme - Rolf Harris Show, 1967

Gt Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Royalty (Royal Aquarium) theatre programme - Michael Barrymore - probably 1980's

Royalty (Royal Aquarium) theatre programme - Michael Barrymore - probably 1980's

Gt Yarmouth Museums

Covers of Royal Aquarium theatre programmes

By John Layton

The Royal Aquarium (later the Royalty, now the Hollywood Cinema Multiplex) was originally, as its title suggests, an aquarium.

When it was converted into a theatre, then a Cinema, there were curtains hung down the sides of the auditorium, behind which were the tanks which originally held the fish.

The theatre had the largest cinema screen in town, and was the only one in Norfolk, apart from Norwich, that could show the Sound of Music.

There was also a smaller, 'Little Theatre' behind the main cinema, which housed the local repertory company.  This later became the 'Little Cinema', then part of the Hollywood Multiplex.

During the latter half of the 20th Century it also produced summer shows, as can be seen here.

This page was added by John Layton on 12/03/2007.
Comments about this page

The Rolf Harris show was in the summer season of 1967. I worked as a scene shifter to supplement my day job. It followed Gerry & the Pacemakers which was in 1966. Regular updates on world cup scores being passed to the audience in that year throughout the performance.

By graham mills
On 01/06/2007

I have a Programme for a play at the Aquarium Theatre - 'The Dancing Mistress', a musical comedy from Monday 6th September 1909 for six nights.
A relative of mine - Miss Rene Buckingham was in the cast.
Any further information would be appreciated.

David Buckingham

By David Buckingham
On 16/11/2007

I have several programmes from various theatres in the town. 1963 was The Helen Shapiro Show with Helen, Ronnie Corbett and Jimmy Saville with also Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers. I beleive I am right in saying that Helen was the youngest person to top the bill in a Summer Season Show in Gt Yarmouth

By Graham Turner
On 12/05/2009

I worked as an usherette at the Aquarium.The Flight of the White Heron was on for two weeks twice daily. It was Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's travels. Then when the ''live' artists started that summer, I was put in the booking office. Ted Ray and Hylda Baker were the cast when Hylda introduced 'Cynthia'. Great show. This was in 1954.

By Doris Beckett
On 11/01/2010

The Aquarium was also shown in full colour in the film I've gotta horse, starring the late great Billy Fury, boarding a charabang on the theatres front car park, just catching the crowd being held back. great film shows many parts of Great Yarmouth.

By paul newby
On 11/01/2010

I am not sure if Helen Shapiro was the youngest, as Lena Zavaroni was here I believe at the Wellington Pier and was top of the bill.

By paul newby
On 11/01/2010

I spent the summer season of 1854 working at the Aquarium. Ted Ray and Hylda Baker were the acts that year. Met them both during the time I spent in the box office. Hylda always had a monkey over her shoulder. Before the season, I was an usherette, during the Queen's Tour (Flight of the White Heron). Two sessions daily for a fortnight. It got a bit boring toward the end. But not the live show. Great working there.

By Doris Beckett
On 11/01/2010

I remember going to see the Rolf Harris show as a 13-year-old. We were staying for the week in a guest house and were excited to discover that the orchestra's drummer was staying at the hotel. We would sometimes catch him as we walked past his room, playing practice pads on the bed! We thought at the time they were very quiet and wondered whether he would be able to play loud enough at the show, but thankfully he used real drums there and there was no problem! He waved to us as we took our seats and that made us feel really proud!

By John Burke
On 04/05/2010

I also went to the Rolf Harris show.     I remember after the show Rolf Harris sitting on the kerb at the front of the Aquarium explaining to a little boy about Jake The Peg extra leg for nearly half an hour.

By Doug Bailey
On 13/09/2010

I remember on one occasion staying in Great Yarmouth with Mum & Dad (around1963). The Guest House was run by Hoseasons Holiday Company. My old school mate and life long friend (Mel) came along. We saw several live shows during the week. One in particular being Susan Maughan (Bobby's Girl) at The Aquarium Theatre. We waited at the stage door with our cameras in hope of taking a photograph. She appeared with a small white poodle in her arms and said 'no, I still have my stage makeup on' but then changed her mind. I still have the photo to this day.

On 19/12/2011

John Leyton mentioned that apart from Norwich, The Royal Aquarium was the only cinema able to screen The Sound of Music. Any cinema could screen TSOM, as 35mm prints were available as well as 70mm prints. I am sure this film was screened in every major town. I think what John meant was, The Aquarium was the only other cinema in Norfolk that was able to screen TSOM in 70mm/Todd AO.

On 19/12/2011

I worked on the lights for the Lonnie Donegan, Gerry & the Pacemakers and the Rolf Harris shows.  I was only 18 and loved every minute of it; I met my wife there she was an usherette.  The Sunday shows were as good because the pop stars of the day would be appearing and all the girl fans would pester you for an autograph. (Heaven)

By Richard Watson
On 23/07/2012

The Aquarium was the first to screen CinemaScope and had the 20th Century Fox bookings for Great Yarmouth. It was never equipped to show 70mm only the Regent had 70mm. I ran The sound Of Music here in the 1970's on re release. Russell

By Russell
On 19/04/2013

I went to Great Yarmouth on holiday several times with my parents and in 1956 I remember seeing THE ADVENTURES OF HAJJI BABA ( at the Aquarium.  Wasn't there a small theatre at the Aquarium too, as I remember seeing a play there - SHEEP'S CLOTHING by Kenneth Horne.  I am sorry to learn that this old cinema is now a miserable multiplex - sadly, time moves on!

By Charles S.P. Jenkins
On 20/06/2014

I worked at the aquarium for several summers seasons in the early 60's the first being the Lonnie Donegon show with Des O'Conner....the Emile Ford and the Checkmates show....and the Charlie Chester show and finally the Ann Shelton job was doing sound ...MIC's etc.  and really enjoyed the whole experience!.

By Dave pearson
On 27/04/2015

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