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!

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Latest News:

Events News, Forthcoming Concerts, Etc.:

Welcome to another new year of musical activity from the NETOA and a very Happy New Year to all our Friends and visitors to the New Victoria Centre, home of our Mighty Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ!

Our 2024 programme of events gets under way on Sunday 17th March when Nicholas Martin BEM  will be at the console of the Wurlitzer to play for you; tickets are available now to order online price £12.00.

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 Heritage Open Days 2023:

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.

As well as having music from the Wurlitzer we have to thank Stuart Wright for bringing has Gavioli fairground along which was playing outside to entertain visitors as the entered and left on a rather soggy day!

If you didn’t get along in person we still have have videos about the organ on our LINKS page and the following links also take you to more information on our ORGAN,  HISTORY and REVIEWS pages + you can enjoy our Wurlitzer at home on CDs available from our SALES page.

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Volunteering with the NETOA:

As a voluntary organisation we rely on the good offices of our band of regular helpers to keep the ‘wheels turning’!  We always need help with the day-to-day operation and administration of the Association, so if you can help we would greatly appreciate hearing from you.  Volunteers are always welcome to come along, whatever their level of skills, to help out with various activities, including:

  • Assisting with the maintenance of the Wurlitzer Pipe Organ
  • Restoration of Organ Parts and Components
  • Operating Sound, Lighting and CCTV equipment
  • Helping with over-the-counter and postal sales of NETOA goods and artists’ own goods (at concerts)
  • General maintenance of the New Victoria Centre building and installed equipment
  • Maintaining the New Victoria Centre in a clean and tidy condition
  • Helping out with refreshments at concerts and other events
  • Publicising concerts, etc. and helping to distribute publicity material
  • Preparing the New Victoria Centre for forthcoming events, etc.

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!

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The  former New Victoria Cinema, Bradford, will soon be ‘BRADFORD LIVE’:

Autumn 2024 is, at long last, set to see the opening of the new BRADFORD LIVE entertainment complex based in the former New Victoria / Gaumont / Odeon building in the centre of Bradford.   There have been many trials and tribulations, the building was almost demolished, then when it was saved and a viable proposal developed by the National Exhibition Centre group the finance proved difficult to secure, then Covid delayed work, but now it is on the home straight!   You can find more information and videos on the LINKS page, including one by Mark Nicholson about the opening of the cinema in 1930.

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We Always Like YOUR News, Thanks! 

We would like your News, Views and Any Other Contributions for our regular newsletter ‘PipeTalk’.  Contact: The Chairman or Barry Raine

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Covid 19 Coronavirus:

Whilst Government Covid resrictions have now been relaxed, the Covid 19 virus is still very much around and we kindly request that visitors help to protect themselves and others by regular hand washing, etc. and by isolating if they test positive.  Please use the Hand Sanitiser dispensers and Wash using the anti-bacterial soap provided.  Dispensers are also provided in toilet cubicles for sanitising toilet seats before use.  Thank you for your cooperation.  For the latest Government advice and information on Covid 19: Click Here

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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!

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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 storeA 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:

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: john.heslop@netoa.org.uk  

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.

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Visit the Mighty Wurlitzer Cinema / Theatre Organ. Organise a Group Visit, Friends of NETOA Practice Sessions. Book Concert Ticket & Sponsor a Pipe. Great Visitor Attraction for Durham, Crook, Bishop Auckland & the North East. NETOA 50th Anniversary. New Victoria 90 Years.  Music for All. Queens Award for Voluntary Service. Online Theatre Organ Concerts.