Gallery: Pavilion is still Spa of the show!

CELEBRATIONS marking the 100th anniversary of the Spa Pavilion theatre in Felixstowe climax tomorrow with a 300-strong cast variety show.

CELEBRATIONS marking the 100th anniversary of the Spa Pavilion theatre in Felixstowe climax tomorrow with a 300-strong cast variety show.

Two sell-out shows marking the centenary of the 900-seat theatre will take place at 2.15pm and 7.15pm and will be performed by a number of amateur groups with close links to the venue.

Theatre manager Julie Howes said: “To celebrate this fantastic achievement we have put together a wonderful programme of events.

“The 100th anniversary show takes you on a magical journey through the decades with music and comedy from Old Time Music hall of the early 1900s to the fabulous modern day musicals of the new millennium.”

And Julie will be among the performers taking part in the opening section, Let's All go to the Music Hall, staged by Woodbridge-based theatre group Company of Four.

The show is directed by Suzie Lowe.

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She added: “I am delighted to be taking part in the show. It has been a lot of hard work but it is going to be a great way of celebrating 100 years.”

What was then called The Floral Hall was opened by Lord Claude Hamilton, the chairman of The Great Eastern Railway Company, on June 25 1909. It cost �7,000 to build and had seating for about 700 people.

A menu of the period showed that tea cost 4d per pot, coffee 3d and ice creams 4d, all served by an army of uniformed waitresses.

Felixstowe was developing as a resort and in 1928 the Spa Gardens were opened.

Other celebrations to mark the anniversary have included a gala reception yesterday and free guided tours of the venue today. On Sunday singer Steve Pack will entertain diners.

For a full review and pictures of the 100th anniversary show see Monday's edition of the Evening Star or visit

What are your memories of the Spa Pavilion? Write to Your Letters Evening Star 30 Lower Brook Street Ipswich IP4 1AN or send an e mail to eveningstar letters eveningstar co uk

In the late 50s and early 60s The Spa Pavilion was home to a number of summer variety shows such as Hilarity in 1961, Summer Serenade in 1962 and Starlight Rendezvous in 1967.

The theatre has seen many famous performers over the years, with big-name stars such as Billy Dainty, Norman Wisdom, Terry Scott and Frankie Vaughan and more recently the likes of Joe Pasquale, Ben Elton and Frank Skinner. Today comedian Jimmy Carr is a regular.

Felixstowe has also played host to a number of shows that have gone on tour following a successful run in the West End shows including, The Blues Brothers, Joseph and Great Balls of Fire, the story of Jerry Lee Lewis.

A plaque inside the Spa Pavilion commemorates Dennis Lowe who was known as Felixstowe's Mr Entertainment.

For 43 years Dennis Lowe was closely involved with the theatre putting on shows throughout the year as well as an annual pantomime.

The Spa Pavilion has always been a keen supporter of amateur dramatics companies and annually sets aside 17 weeks in their programme to companies such as FADOS (Felixstowe Amateur Dramatics and Operatic Society), FMT (Felixstowe Music Theatre), Stage Door and IODS (Ipswich Operatic and Dramatics Society).

Since 1951 the theatre has hosted an annual drama festival.

1900/1910s: Let's all go to the Music Hall - Company of Four

1920s: The Roaring Twenties - Gallery Players

1930s: Big Band Swing Time - Deben High School

1940s: War Time Nostalgia - Stage Door Theatre Company

1950s: The Fabulous 50s - Summer Holiday - Suffolk Youth Theatre

1960s: Psycodelia - The Co-op Juniors

1970s: Abba Mania - Stage Coach

1980s: Back to the 80s - The Dennis Lowe Theatre Company

1990s: Michael Jackson Mix - Streetwise Inc

2000s: Millennium Musicals - Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society