Welcome to the Princess Theatre, Hunstanton.
After many years as a very successful cinema and Theatre The Capitol closed in the 1960’s. It was then sold in 1974 and changed its name to The Kingsley Centre and provided summer seasons and films for approximately two years but declined and eventually operated as a Bingo Hall. After some time it closed again and was left almost derelict for several years until the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk purchased it in 1981 under the Chairmanship of Mayor Leslie Dutton.
In honour of Lady Diana Spencer who, on her marriage to the Prince of Wales in July 1981, became the Princess of Wales, the Theatre was renamed The Princess Theatre. It was officially re-opened on the 5th of July 1981 with a concert starring The Wurzels.
In December 1988 the Princess Theatre was honoured by an informal visit from the Royal Family to the pantomime Cinderella. The late Princess of Wales and her two children Princes William and Harry, the Princess Royal and her two children Peter and Zara Phillips together with Lady Jane Fellowes all attended on Thursday 30th December at the 2.30pm performance. The Royal Princes have privately attended many pantomimes since that date.
By 2010 the local council were funding the Princess theatre annually to the tune of £300,000. Given the authority needed to save this money they close the theatre briefly prior to renting it to C and R Cinemas. Shortly afterward in November 2011 a note appeared on the door saying the building was closed and the keys were being handed back to the council.
In May 2012 Hunstone Productions, formed by four local businesses (Hallard Entertainments, Searles Leisure Resort, International Music and Leisure and James Johnson and Co Accountancy Ltd) took over the running the building.
Recognising how important the Princess Theatre was to Hunstanton’s economy they are now looking into how they can re-establish the Princess in the hearts of the Hunstanton community.
The Princess Theatre Box Office is now open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) and the programme provides a wide range of entertainment from Variety to Drama, Dance, Music, and soon to follow, Films.
A special bonus…
Thanks to Hunstanton being the only East Coast resort that faces West, visitors can enjoy the extraordinary sight of the sun setting over the sea – a memorable experience that can be enjoyed from the best view of the Green and Coastline on the Princess Theatre Veranda. Make sure you grab a blanket to keep warm and cosy.
Hunstanton’s motto is “Alios delectare iuvat” which freely translates to “It is our pleasure to please others”. The Princess Theatre shares this wish and looks forward to seeing you soon….
Some other interesting information:
- There is a memorial in the Esplanade Gardens with the names of the 31 people (15 British, 16 American) who lost their lives in the great 1953 floods.
- The water tower at the top of Redgate Hill is now flats.
- A late Neolithic Early Bronze Age settlement was found when constructing Oasis Way off Redgate Hill.
- Hunstanton lost its 830 foot long pier in a heavy storm in 1978.
- The Hunstanton – King’s Lynn railway line was closed down in 1969.
- Hunstanton boasts the biggest tennis tournament in the U.K. with 1,350 entries in 2006.
- Hunstanton has played host to both world and British water-ski championships.
- Hunstanton is 16 miles from King’s Lynn, 45 from Norwich and about 120 from London.
- Lord High Admiral of the Wash is the hereditary title which gives the le Strange family the rights of the North West Norfolk foreshore for as far as man can ride out to sea at the low tide and throw a spear.
- St. Mary’s Church in Old Hunstanton was built in the 14th Century. It has a Norman front.
- P.G.Wodehouse stayed regularly at Hunstanton Hall and typed out some of his stories whilst sitting in a punt on the moat.