White Bench Desking for English National Opera at the London Colleseum.
Kings Office Furniture is please to announce that we have just supplied the English National Opera in the London Colleseum with a selection of White Bench Desking. We are proud to be chosen by the National Opera to supply & Install this fantastic White Benching Systems for one of the leading Opera companies in the World today.
The London Coliseum was designed by Frank Matcham for Sir Oswald Stoll with the ambition of being the largest and finest ‘People’s palace of entertainment’ of the age.
Matcham wanted a Theatre of Variety – not a music hall but equally not highbrow entertainment. The resulting programme was a mix of music hall and variety theatre, with one act – a full scale revolving chariot race – requiring the stage to revolve. The theatre’s original slogan was PRO BONO PUBLICO (For the public good). It was opened in 1904 and the inaugural performance was a variety bill on 24 December that year.
With 2,359 seats it is the largest theatre in London. It underwent extensive renovations between 2000 and 2004 when an original staircase planned by Frank Matcham was finally put in to his specifications.The theatre changed its name from the London Coliseum to the Coliseum Theatre between 1931 and 1968. During the Second World War, the Coliseum served as a canteen for Air Raid Patrol workers, and Winston Churchill gave a speech from the stage. After 1945 it was mainly used for American musicals before becoming in 1961 a cinema for seven years. In 1968 it reopened as The London Coliseum, home of Sadler’s Wells Opera. In 1974 Sadler’s Wells became English National Opera and the Company bought the freehold of the building for £12.8 million in 1992. The theatre underwent a complete and detailed restoration from 2000 which was supported by National Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, The National Lottery through Arts Council England, Vernon & Hazel Ellis and a number of generous trust and individual donors to whom we are extremely grateful.The auditorium and other public areas were returned to their original Edwardian decoration and new public spaces were created. The theatre re-opened in 2004.
The London Coliseum has the widest proscenium arch in London (55 feet wide and 34 feet high – the stage is 80 feet wide, with a throw of over 115 feet from the stage to the back of the balcony) and was one of the first theatres to have electric lighting. It was built with a revolving stage although this was rarely used which consisted of three concentric rings and was 75 feet cross in total and cost Stoll £70,000. A range of modern features included electric lifts for patrons, a roof garden and an Information Bureau in which physicians or others expecting urgent telephone calls or telegrams could leave their seat numbers and be immediately informed if required.
English National Opera traces its roots back to 1931 when Lilian Baylis established the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company at the newly re-opened the Sadler’s Wells Theatre.
Baylis had been presenting opera concerts and theatre in London since 1898 and was passionate about providing audiences with the best theatre and opera at affordable prices, a belief that remains today at the heart of ENO.
During the Second World War the Sadler’s Wells Theatre was closed and the company toured the provinces, returning to its home in June 1945 for the premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, which proved to be the most important British opera since Purcell’s time. Britten remains at the heart of ENO’s repertoire and a new, sold-out production of Peter Grimes in 2009 was universally acclaimed.
In 1968 Sadler’s Wells Opera relocated from Sadler’s Wells Theatre to the London Coliseum, a theatre designed by Frank Matcham in 1904 for the theatre impresario Oswald Stoll. Six years after the move to the London Coliseum, the Company was renamed English National Opera.
In the 1960s Sadler’s Wells Opera went from strength to strength, developing a reputation for nurturing British singers and exploring the then little-known operas of Janácek under the leadership of Charles Mackerras. The ‘powerhouse’ years of the 1980s saw important productions by, among others, David Pountney, David Alden and Nicholas Hytner. In 1984 ENO became the first British opera company to tour the United States, and in 1990 the first major foreign opera company to tour what was then the Soviet Union.
In 1992 ENO acquired the freehold to the London Coliseum and in 2000 embarked on a four-year restoration programme supported by National Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, The National Lottery through Arts Council England, Vernon and Hazel Ellis and a number of generous trust and individual donors to whom we are extremely grateful. The magnificently restored theatre re-opened in 2004.
Since the re-opening ENO has gone from strength to strength and in spring 2009 the Company received every available UK opera award for work in 2008, a unique achievement.
Today ENO is known for producing groundbreaking stagings of new and core repertoire and for its exceptionally high musical standards. In recent years ENO has had particular success in attracting new audiences to opera, forging creative partherships with opera companies around the world and in developing the careers of young British opera singers.