Private Tour of Gaiety Theatre
Sir E. J. Buck wrote ‘Simla is the Mecca of amateur actors in the East, and the A.D.C. – probably the best equipped Amateur Dramatic Club in the world – is an example of the pitch of excellent which as amateur organisation could be’.
The present building of Gaiety Theatre was originally built in 1887. Before that building of Royal Hotel in Ladies Park was used be Shimla residents. It is mentioned in the diary of Ms. Emily Eden, sister of Lord Auckland, who wrote in 1838, ‘there is a sort of little theatre in Shimla small, hot, dirty but is doing very well’. The English then erected Assembly Hall in Lower Bazaar. A part of that building was used as a theater. In 1852, the roof of the Assembly Hall collapsed due to heavy rains and all the musical instruments were destroyed. Then later the theatre was moved first to Aberville and then to Racquet Court. These were the buildings of Shimla’s present meat market sine the early years of the last century.
Although the present building of Gaiety Theatre was ready for the performances in 1887 but still the old theater was also used till 1889. A major fire broke out in 1889 and it damaged a large part of the market. The flames reached the church but did not do any damage to this holy structure.
Gaiety Theatre in Shimla was built in 1887. Designed by Henry Irwin in a Neo-Gothic style of architecture this Gaiety Theatre of Shimla is one of the very few Gaieties left in the world.
Begin your tour with us at the Ridge. After listening, in details, to the history of the town and the most impressive Geographical facts about Shimla Ridge move to the Christ Church. This building has interesting history and stories of its association with Rudyard Kipling and his father Lockwood Kipling. Spend some time at the Ridge, know more about it, enjoy the view to the north and enjoy the activities at this age old promenade. The Ridge is the nodal centre of the town and is plays a vital role in managing this place.
After this move to the building of Gaiety Theatre to have the private tour of the building.
‘Time will Tell’ was the opening play of the new Theatre, and among the actors in the play were Colonel Stewart (knon as Red Stewart), Colonel Henderson, Captain Rowan Hamilto, Captain (afterwards Colonel) Rundall, Captain (later Colonel) Davies, Miss Carter, and Mrs. Fletcher.
The prologue called forth on the 9th June 1887 some amusing verses in the columns of the Civil and Military Gazette, which were at once declare to be the work of Rudyard Kipling.
10.00 am : Meet us at the Ridge near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and we start the tour.
- It is interesting to listen to the history of Shimla so we share the stories of its formation. This can be a lecture on the past and present of the town. We love Shimla and we are passionate about sharing about its pleasant past with you.
- Next we move to the Padam Dev complex to have an idea of the view to the North of Shimla. It depends upon the weather, if it is clear, the Northern peaks are clearly visible.
- Then we move to the Christ Church. A visit to the Christ Church of Shimla is worth. Its association with Rudyard Kipling is worth to know about.
- Let’s move know to the Gaiety Theatre. The building has just been thorough the massive renovation and has recently been restored. We begin our tour with the Lalit Kala Art Gallery on the top of the building. This has various paintings and sculpture by some of the famous Indian artists. The artwork here is changed very frequently and always has a different collection to look at. The gallery is managed by the Lalit Kala Academy – New Delhi.
- The tour now moves to the lower portion of the building where our first visit is to the Main Victorian Hall. Listen to the detailed explanation given by your guide. The theatre still has its old charm and build in a Gothic style. The Grand Drape and the Cyclorama of the theatre is still dropped in the traditional style, with the help of a rope and roller. The old lantern boxes have yet not been removed which actually used to project light on stage before 1896.
- The Exhibition Hall is located next to the main hall. This hall is for the exhibitor to display their art work.
- Behind the Exhibition Hall there is Ventilation Tunnel which was made to provide warmth to the building. This was an amazing art of engineering introduced by the architect Henry Irvin.
- The upper story displays some of the old and new photos of the town and the theatrical performances by the British actors and actresses during the early years after the construction of the building. From here also can enter the upper gallery of the main hall. There are a few chairs in this gallery from where the occupant get no view of the stage. The reason is described by your guide.
Price for 1 – 4 people traveling together is INR 3500/- and for Extra Person INR 600/- per person
Price for the Innova Car : Rs. 3000/-
Kids below 10 yrs are not liable for any kind of charge
The Above Cost includes
- A well conversed English Speaking Guide who holds a good knowledge
- A Mineral Water bottle for everyone in the group
- Light snacks like Chocolates and Chips, Mineral water, Juice
The Above Cost does not includes
Entry fee to the any of the Heritage Buildings which includes
Gaiety Theatre Rs. 10 (Indians), Rs. 25 (Foreigners) & Camera Fee Rs. 25
PO – Bharari
Shimla – 171001
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