David Staples is a theatre consultant and has been advising clients, architects and governments on the building of new theatres, concert halls and opera houses around the world across 67 different countries. For the past seven years he has been collaborating with 41 people from 14 countries to create a book called ‘Modern Theatres 1950 – 2020’. In this talk, he looks at theatre buildings including opera houses and concert halls and how they have evolved and changed over the last 70 years. Beginning with a Greek amphitheatre and finishing with a 20 seat amphitheatre in Slovenia, David Staples embraces many of the most significant theatres of this period and explores how architecture was changed by the TWA Flight Centre at New York’s Idlewild (now JFK) Airport and its influence on the Sydney Opera House.

The book, Modern Theatres 1950–2020, edited by David Staples, explores in detail 30 of the most significant theatres, concert halls, opera houses and dance spaces that opened between 1950 and 2010. Each theatre is reviewed and assessed by experts in theatre buildings, such as architects, acousticians, consultants and theatre practitioners, and illustrated with full-colour photographs and comparative plans and sections. A further 20 theatres that opened from 2009 to 2020 are concisely reviewed and illustrated. Click HERE for more information.

Q&A following David Staples’s presentation of Opera houses, concert halls and theatres from 1950 to 2020. Cold and warm concert halls, more on exteriors and interiors, and amplification.

In 1874, the fine mid-Victorian villa North Bank on Pages Lane, in Muswell Hill, went up for sale. The detailed auction plan and schedule give many insights into the lifestyle of wealthy families and their live-in staff in North London. Using this as a starting point, the story of the house and the people who lived there is explored with extra clues from sources such as newspaper cuttings and census records. For the last 20 years, Gill Simpson has been involved in community activities in North Bank – now part of the premises of Muswell Hill Methodist Church – and has been a unique research into the history of Muswell Hill.

The Muswell Hill Methodist Church has a fantastic archive of more than 40 videos from the 1930s to the 1970s on the MHMC YouTube channel.

In the 1890s, Muswell Hill had the most advanced film studio in the world.  Set up by British motion picture pioneers Robert W. Paul in a field in Sydney Road, the studio produced hundreds of films, some in expensive hand-painted colour. Ian Christie is Professor of History at Birkbeck College and has previously held roles as Professor of Film Studies at the University of Kent and Visiting Lecturer in Film at Oxford University.  In 2019 Ian Christie curated an exhibition of Paul’s life and work at Bruce Castle Museum, Animatograph! How Cinema was born in Haringey, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Paul’s birth.

Paul made about 800 films in his career, of which roughly 75 survive. You can see more by Ian Christie on his website on Paul at https://paulsanimatographworks.wordpress.com/.