As we celebrate this week’s recipients of The Stage Awards, we look back to the inaugural event, originally called the New Year Party. Our news reporter wrote:
“Oh, what a swell party it was. Theatre Royal, Drury Lane was the place to be as celebrities hailed the success of a record-breaking newspaper. Leading entertainment names packed the Grand Saloon of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to capacity for The Stage’s first London-based contacts party.
“Figures from the theatre, entertainment and broadcasting worlds mingled with writers and journalists from the national press for the reception hosted by the newspaper.
“The event was The Stage’s opportunity to thank the world of showbusiness for an unrivalled partnership that has spanned more than a century, starting in 1880 when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, Henry Irving was in his heyday and many of the West End’s most beautiful theatres had yet to be built.
It also heralded a forthcoming landmark for the newspaper. In Easter 1996 we shall publish our 6,000th successive edition – a record matched by few trade newspapers.
“The Stage will celebrate this achievement with a special supplement, featuring articles by a wide range of celebrity writers.”
If you’d like to read more stories from the history of theatre, all previous content from The Stage is available at the British Newspaper Archive in a convenient, easy-to-access format. Please visit: thestage.co.uk/archive