The Old Savoy relaunch: Panto fans Ken and Doreen cut the ribbon to mark rebranding

An elderly couple who celebrate their wedding anniversary every year at The Deco's pantomime cut the ribbon for the official rebranding of The Old Savoy in Northampton.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 11:08 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 11:57 am
Ken and Doreen Ridley cut the ribbon for The Old Savoy's launch
Ken and Doreen Ridley cut the ribbon for The Old Savoy's launch

The Old Savoy has been emblazoned on the front of the iconic Abington Square building since the opening night of Jack and the Beanstalk on December 6.

Ken and Doreen Ridley declared the start of an exciting new era for the theatre with guests now entering through the original front doors instead of the side entrance.

The Daventry couple celebrate 67 years of marriage tomorrow (Friday, December 20) and, as they have done since 2009, will mark the occasion with a visit to see The Deco‘s panto.

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The new frontage for The Old Savoy on Abington Square

The Savoy, as it then was, was where they first met back in 1948, when they were both there with friends to watch a film.

“We have very fond memories of The Savoy. We also love pantomimes, so when they started putting them on at The Deco, it was a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary,” Doreen, 87, said.

"We’ve been coming every year since, and we love it, they’re always so good.”

They are now treated as VIPs by Deco staff and were the obvious choice to perform the opening ceremony of ‘The Old Savoy’ according to house manager Jill Roach.

“We absolutely love Mr and Mrs Ridley, and they were the obvious and perfect choice to do the honour for us,” she said.

“They didn’t stop for the opening night - they want to enjoy our Panto as they now traditionally do on their anniversary, and it is our pleasure to host them each year.”

The Old Savoy originally opened its doors as The Savoy on May 2, 1936.

It became The ABC in the 1960s, hosting concerts by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, among other iconic bands of that era.

The Deco has been operating it as an independent, family-run theatre since 2009.

Stage Right Productions, which manages The Deco, is now looking after the whole building as a theatre, community hub and making it available for private hire.

Jill said: “The response since the news about the relaunch was announced earlier in the year has been immense."

“But over the weekend, since we threw those doors open for the first time and rebranded the outside of the building, the feedback we’ve had on our various social media platforms as been truly wonderful and extremely positive, and – I should add – for Jack and the Beanstalk too.

“This is clearly regarded as a popular development for Northampton town centre, and we are thrilled to be giving this building back to the people of Northampton.”

Tickets are still available for Jack and the Beanstalk at The Old Savoy, home of The Deco Theatre, which runs until December 28

Tickets start at £10. For more information: www.thedeco.co.uk, or call the box office on 01604 491005.