UK's Museum of Comedy Now Open
Collected by Martin Witts (Owner of The Leicester Square Theatre) from a lifetime's work in the UK's Comedy Industry, this is one of the most comprehensive collections of Comedy memorabilia ever to be amassed in one place.
The Collection includes artefacts from decades of Comedy, from Television to Radio, from Stage to the Internet. The Museum is the only place in the world where it is possible to come face to face with some of comedy's most iconic memorabilia including The Players Theatre Joys Collection, some of which dates back to the nightly Late Joys shows of the 1930s; the famous suit worn by Tommy Trinder, one of the UK's most popular stage and screen performers of the 1940s and 1950s; the 7ft stuffed bear that appeared in every episode of Steptoe and Son from 1962 to 1965; footage from The Dave Allen Show, one of the most watched Television Comedy shows of the 1970s; the reception telephone famously used by John Cleese and Prunella Scales as Basil and Sybil Fawlty , owners of Fawlty Towers, the most dysfunctional hotel of the 1970s and the wig of the 1980's Liverpudlian diva Lily Savage.
Where else can you sit on a pew from one of Television's popular ecclesiastical comedies - Father Ted, All Gas and Gaiters, Vicar Of Dibley and Rev - and see objects belonging to Charlie Chaplin, Norman Wisdom, Marie Lloyd, The Comedians, Lily Savage, Tony Hancock, Benny Hill, Del Boy, Dads Army, Stewart Lee, Ronnie Corbett, Ronnie Barker, Little Britain, Kenneth Williams, Russ Abbott, The Windmill Theatre, Blackpool and The London Palladium to name but a few?
The Museum's amazing collection also provides patrons the opportunity to listen to hundreds of comedy recordings on cassette, LP and CD courtesy of a steepletone player. A collection of board games from some of the best known radio and television comedy series and a phenomenal library containing over six thousand books. Visitors will also be able to enter the Joke Booth based on the iconic confession box from The Dave Allen Show where they can record their best jokes on video to be included in the National Joke Archive.
The Cooper Room, the Museum's purpose built performance space will feature performances from some of the hottest young Comedians including Nick Helm, Susan Calman, Glenn Wool and Tony Law (see listings information below) as well as specially commissioned and curated exhibitions which are due to run throughout the year.
As part of the Comedy Academy there will also be opportunities to take part in various comedy workshops over the coming months including courses from Logan Murray (a Comedy Summer School to Unlock Your Inner Idiot for Fun and Profit which runs from Tuesday, 26th to Saturday, 30th August) and In the Art of Close Up Magic from Jerry Sadowitz (a one day Card Magic Introduction on Saturday, 7th June and a six week course in Card Magic For Beginners which will run from Monday 16th June).
The inaugural exhibition in The Cooper Room will be a celebration of Tommy Cooper himself and will run from 28th May. The exhibition will include originals of some of Tommy's most famous magic tricks including his Guillotine, Dice Box, Flower Cannon and Table; an exhibition of photographs of Tommy by John Claridge. The Museum of Comedy will also be presenting Just Like That! - The Tommy Cooper Show by John Hewer which will run from 30th September. Exhibitions planned for the future include A History of Blackpool, The Alternative Comedy Explosion, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Kenneth Williams, The Story of Music Hall and Frankie Howerd.
There will also be an exhibition in the Museum itself from Photographer Steve Ullathorne from 16th June. His Comic Collection will feature portraits of comedians, both in the studio and in performance, which have appeared in National and International publications ranging from The Times to Hello Magazine, as well as on over 350 different posters for National Tours, The Edinburgh Festival and West End runs.