WELCOME to the NETOA
We hope you like the Art Deco styling of our website and that it will set the scene for you to enjoy finding out about one of the ‘centre-pieces’ of the golden age of Britain’s ‘super-cinemas’ (which ran from about the mid-1920s to the outbreak of World War 2: the mighty ‘cinema’ or ‘theatre’ organ.
The Trustees of the North East Theatre Organ Association invite you to pay us a visit in person to see and hear the only Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ in the north east of England – one of the largest in the UK – prepare to be surprised and, we hope, delighted!
Events News, Forthcoming Concerts, Etc.:
We have been pleased to welcome the return of many familiar faces as well as some new ones to our concerts and events following the Covid shutdown now that we are operating a normal programme once again (see HERE for full listing) following the major repairs to the roof last year – see below:
Damage was caused to the main hall roof of the New Victoria Centre by storm Arwen early in 2022, temporary repairs were carried out, we then undertook a thorough examination of the roof which showed that many of the slates and fixings were in poor condition and plans (and funding) were put in place to effect a permanent repair, which involved completely replacing the Victorian slates with new ones, under-felting to modern standards plus installing insulation under the slates.
The work was completed in August 2022 and involved erecting scaffolding around the building; inside we had to remove the seats from the main hall and cover up the organ console, piano, spotlights, cameras, etc. to protect them from dust.
The ‘inside’ work was completed in March 2023 when the accumulated dust and debris from the loft space was cleaned up and new access flooring and the final sections of insulation were fitted.
Saturday 16th September was another busy day as many visitors came along to experience the Mighty Wurlitzer and get an in-depth view of a musical instrument that is unique in the north east, its history and how it works. This years theme of “Creativity Unwrapped” applies twice-over to our Mighty Wurlitzer! Firstly visitors had the chance to examine the creativity of the craftsmen who built the Mighty Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ, most of which is normally hidden away from sight, and secondly they could find out about the creativity of the way the theatre organ was used in the early to mid-20th century to bring ‘life’ to silent movies and to lift the spirits of war-weary cinema-goers in Britain during World War II.
YOUR HELP is NEEDED!
As a voluntary organisation we rely on the good offices of our band of regular helpers to keep the ‘wheels turning’! Just now we have an urgent need for help with the day-to-day operation and administration of the Association in a couple of important areas, so if you can help we would greatly appreciate hearing from you:
a) For over 20 years David, our Ticket Sales Officer, has been busy selling concert tickets at concerts, by post, telephone and via our online system, posting them out, greeting concert-goers at the door, getting their feedback at the end of a concert and keeping meticulous records of attendances. Having reached a milestone birthday this year, he has decided that he will retire from the post at Christmas and take a well-earned rest (from ticket sales at least!) so we find ourselves in need of a (preferably) willing volunteer to take over the reins……..
b) For just about as long, Suzanne, has been our general Sales Officer looking after over-the-counter and postal sales of NETOA goods and helping with sales of artists’ own goods at concerts, etc. and now she too has decided that it is time to take a break from the counter! So, we are looking for another volunteer……
c) Spreading the word about the NETOA and our events is a vital activity and we can never get too much publicity! Fred Thompson has done much is this respect over the years and continues to help most enthusiastically, but whilst he will be keeping up his Facebook postings for us along with many other activities, he no longer has the capacity to send out the regular ‘Wurlitzer Direct’ email reminders about our events and to update (and enlarge) our email contact list. If anyone can help with this (&/or other publicity ideas) please let us know……
If we are to maintain our regular programme of concerts and other activities and keep the theatre organ flag flying in the north east then keeping these (and other) important jobs running smoothly is vital to our continued success. If you can help out – even in a small way – we’d love to hear from you: please contact either the Hon. Secretary, Chairman or any Trustee. Thank you!
After starting the year with a capacity audience to welcome the ever-popular resident organist from the Thursford Collection in Norfolk, ROBERT WOLFE, our May concert was expected to feature the entertaining and ever popular artist NICHOLAS MARTIN at the Wurlitzer on Sunday 14th May, however, Nick was unwell and (at just a couple of days notice) HOWARD BEAUMONT kindly agreed to come up from Scarborough to stand in and we thank him for providing a most enjoyable afternoon of music! We had another breath of ‘seaside’ air, this time from the south coast, in June when MICHAEL WOOLDRIDGE returned once more with a superb concert covering a wide spectrum of favourite music.
July brought us something ‘new’ when we had a double bill of talent with a programme of not-to-be-missed music! Our two organists may have been names that were not familiar to many: ROBERT BALFOUR-ROWLEY played at one of our ‘Youth at the Console’ concerts some years ago but these days devotes most of his time to building organs, including tonal regulation work on our Wurlitzer and these days is kept so busy working inside organs that most of his playing is done in empty halls and churches late at night testing the results of his work! WILL SHAW is one of the newest generation of younger organists, having been a winner in the American Theatre Organ Society London and South of England Chapter’s Young Theate Organist of the Year Competition he is developing a formidable theatre organ technique.
The New Victoria Cinema Bradford was 90 years old on 22nd September 2020:
The BRADFORD LIVE project to regenerate to former New Vic building is continuing and you will find links to several interesting videos on our LINKS page, including one by Mark Nicholson about the opening of the cinema in 1930.
We Always Like YOUR News, Thanks!
Covid 19 Coronavirus:
Government Covid regulations have now been relaxed but the Covid virus is still around and visitors may wish to help protect themselves and others by regular hand washing, etc. Please also use Hand Sanitiser dispensers and Wash using the anti-bacterial soap provided. There are also dispensers in toilet cubicles for sanitising toilet seats before use.
For the latest Government advice and information on Covid 19: Click Here
No More ‘SMILE’:
The AMAZON ‘Smile’ charity donation scheme officially finished in February, so we would just like to say ‘Thank You‘ to everyone who has helped NETOA funds along a little whilst they shopped online by using the ‘Smile’ link on Amazon. Ourselves and many other Registered Charities have benefited from this scheme over recent years, but as they say, it seems that all good things must come to an end!
How to Keep Up-to-date:
Our newsletter ‘Pipetalk’ has much more NETOA news and it is circulated to ‘Friends’ of the NETOA four times a year. If you want to receive your own copy and keep up to date with everything that is going on, why not Become a ‘Friend’ of the NETOA?
For detailed national and international theatre organ news, the Theatre Organ Club and / or the Cinema Organ Society are the two main national bodies concerned with theatre organ history and preservation.
As well as here on the website, you will also find our concerts listed on www.organfax.co.uk (where you can find information about theatre and electronic organ events all over the UK) and ‘Keyboard Cavalcade’ magazine has lots of information about concerts and for players: cavalcadeproductions.co.uk.
Do You Want to Help Our Award-Winning Charity?
In June 2016 the NETOA was honoured to be awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (known as ‘the MBE for Volunteer Groups’. We believe that it is the first such award given to a group involved in theatre organ preservation and we would like to dedicate this award to all of the volunteers who have helped, over many years and in many different ways, to make our project a success!
All of the work involved in running the NETOA is done by a dedicated team of volunteers and you can help in a number of ways: By just buying tickets & coming along to our Concerts and Events; By ‘lending a hand’ with some of the many tasks that need doing to keep things going; By making a Donation through our ‘Sponsor-a-Pipe’ scheme (see below); or by buying a CD recorded on our organ.
The ‘Sponsor-a-Pipe Appeal’ is a special way that you can contribute to the upkeep of the New Victoria Wurlitzer organ by ‘sponsoring’ one of the 1,375 organ pipes in our ‘mighty’ instrument! Your name (or that of someone you wish to be remembered) will then be added into one of the decorative ‘organ pipes’ in the New Victoria Centre Tea Room along with all of the other ‘sponsors’ – for more details click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph.
As a Registered Charity, the NETOA can claim ‘Gift Aid’ on certain donations (including membership subscriptions, donations under the Sponsor a Pipe Appeal, etc.), whereby HMRC add 25p extra in every Pound to the amount given to us. We are most grateful if anyone who is a taxpayer (and has paid sufficient tax) will use the Gift Aid button when joining / renewing as a member of the Friends, or making donations. Thank you!
History of Our Wurlitzer Organ:
The theatre organ is a fascinating instrument which played a major role in the social history of the mid twentieth century. You can find a brief history of the NETOA and our Wurlitzer organ on the History page and you can also see the current Specification of the organ. A fully detailed history of the organ and its various homes, together with information on how the specification has been altered over the years, so that it is now one of the largest Wurlitzer theatre pipe organs in Europe, is contained in our Souvenir Brochure which can be ordered from our online store. A group visit (see below) gives an opportunity to find out much more detail about the organ its history, its music, its technology and the way in which it was originally used.
This Website is the Quick & Convenient Way to:
- Buy tickets for forthcoming concerts (Once normal times return!!!)
- Order CDs, NETOA Mugs, Brochures and other items through the NETOA online store
- Join the ‘Friends of the NETOA’ and renew your membership subscription
- Assist with our fundraising through the ‘Sponsor a Pipe Appeal’
Just Some of the Things We Do . . .
As well as our regular concert series where you can see and hear played by top-ranking professional players, we also participate in the national Heritage Open Days Weekend in September, an informal day when everyone is welcome to come along and look around (both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes) to find out what a ‘Mighty’ Wurlitzer is all about and talk to the people behind the installation and maintenance of the organ!
Group Visits & Friends of NETOA
We are happy to arrange private visits for local groups, schools and organisations who wish to find out more about the Wurlitzer, its history, how it works and see it close-up. We also particularly encourage young musicians who are interested in learning to play the theatre organ as well as anyone who is interested in finding out about the technical aspects of this most complex of musical instruments.
Please contact John Heslop for more details: email@example.com
We also have regular private practice sessions, when members of the ‘Friends of the NETOA’ can play the organ themselves. Details on our Play the Organ page.