If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Tidworth Garrison Theatre set to open in new building
THE new Tidworth Garrison Theatre will be officially opened next month, marking a new era in its 100-year history.
The Pickernell Auditorium will be named in honour of the family whose history has been closely intertwined with the Old Garrison Theatre for 104 years.
Herbert Pickernell was the manager when it opened in May 1909, and the theatre was at the forefront of entertainment with live plays, ballet and big band concerts.
World renowned opera singer Dame Nellie Melba – for whom both peach melba and melba toast are named – gave her final performance in the UK there before retiring in June 1926.
During the Second World War Tidworth Garrison was turned into an American Army base and US President Teddy Roosevelt’s son was based in there with the 29th Division. Wartime commanders such as Montgomery, Alexander and Eisenhower used the theatre to address the vast number of troops passing through the Salisbury Plain Garrisons.
And venue attracted big names when used to entertain the troops - including James Cagney, Bob Hope and Carole Landis. In later years Frankie Howerd, Norman Wisdom and Max Bygraves all performed there.
Herbert’s son Ken Pickernell took over as manager in 1947 and was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1955 for his services to Tidworth Garrison. Tony Pickernell took over in 1987 and Julie Pickernell became manager in 2010.
The new building is almost complete and will be officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant for Wiltshire on November 1. As well as the theatre with its 700-seat auditorium, the building has five conference/meeting rooms with state-of-the-art IT equipment and surround sound, and an office complex to be used primarily by the Army Welfare Service.
It will be managed on behalf of the MoD by Aspire Defence Ltd and will be available for use by both the military and civilian communities.
Comments are closed on this article.