Alexandra Palace has confirmed that its Victorian theatre will reopen in December following a multimillion-pound restoration.
The project has received £18.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, one of the largest grants it has ever given, meaning that the theatre can open to the public for the first time in 80 years.
The north London theatre first opened in 1875, and in addition to staging theatre, opera, ballet and variety has acted as a chapel, a cinema and later a BBC props store.
It will reopen on December 1 with a programme that is being described as a nod to its variety and music hall roots.
A headline act, yet to be announced, will open the theatre on December 1, with a gala the following day hosted by the comedian Adam Hills and featuring music, comedy and circus.
Horrible Histories – Horrible Christmas, will run throughout December, produced by Birmingham Stage Company and Derby Theatre, while the 1,300-capacity theatre will also play host to an evening of jazz presented by Ronnie Scott’s and a the BBC’s long-running music programme Friday Night Is Music Night, which will be broadcast from the theatre.
Before its official opening, the theatre will also host a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury as part of the BBC Proms in September.
The theatre’s reopening is part of a £26.7 million restoration scheme of Alexandra Palace’s East Wing, the most extensive in the building’s history.
It has been in progress since 2016. Grants have come from trusts and foundations including the Garfield Weston Foundation and the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, and £6.8 million from Haringey Council.
Louise Stewart, chief executive of the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, said: “Reaching this point is a testament to the dedication of the team at the palace, our partners and our funders. Without them this work would not have been possible.
“The reopening of the theatre and East Court is a major step forward in our mission to bring areas of the park and palace back to life and strengthen our audiences’ connection to our unrivalled history.”