A Virtual Museum - Your Town, the Borough and its History

 

The Duchess of Kent opening the Civic Centre and Woodville Halls
The Duchess of Kent opening the Civic Centre and Woodville Halls

The Woodville Halls was officially opened on Friday 15th November 1968 by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent.  The concept behind the design was to provide a focal public space between Wrotham Road and Windmill Street. The design also included a large underground car park with space for around 80 vehicles.

 

The building which also forms part of the Civic Centre was designed by architects H. T. Cadbury-Brown and Partners of London with the main contractor being G. E. Wallis and Sons Limited of London. Interlinking the two buildings with a view out across the forecourt is the Mayor's suite and Committee rooms.

 

The theatre has seen many a famous face perform and a huge variety of entertainment acts. Every year from it’s opening it has thrown it’s doors open to Pantomime, it has had monkeys, ponies, penguins, snakes, dogs, parrots, a Chinese Lion, Dames, Princess, Princesses and it’s fair share of gung and foam spread across the stage.

 

Front view of the Civic Centre and Woodville Halls
Front view of the Civic Centre and Woodville Halls
The building’s design and operation was state of the art for it's time, its versatility far outweighed other nearby venues. It was intended to be multi-purpose and able to accommodate a mix of events such as dinner dances, wrestling, boxing, theatre shows and ballroom dancing.

 

The 45ft central floor area was designed to be flat and level with the stage or raked to provide ideal viewing for stage based shows. Originally the auditorium contained two bars, one on either side and cleverly these would almost disappear from view behind large wooden panelled doors during a show.

 

From the traditions of Pantomime to the beauty of the ballet, Woodville Halls has staged them all. The theatre continues to encapsulate its original concept of being a multi-purpose venue, its central floor still provides the perfect space for dinner dances and discos and the stage continues to accommodate touring productions and events.

 

Structurally little has changed inside the venue, but patrons today experience a larger foyer area now shared with the Civic Centre, a refurbished bar, new café and the addition of a gallery in the lower area.

 

For information on forthcoming shows and events please visit: www.woodvillehalls.com or call 01474 33 77 74