WELCOME to the NETOA

Welcome to the our website.  We hope that the Art Deco styling of the site 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 roughly from the mid-1920s to the outbreak of World War 2): the mighty ‘cinema’ or ‘theatre’ organ.

On behalf of the Trustees and Friends of the North East Theatre Organ Association, we hope that you will be encouraged to pay us a visit in person, when this becomes possible once again, to see and hear the only Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ in the north east of England – prepare to be surprised and – we hope – delighted!

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Latest  News:

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Covid 19 Coronavirus:

When visiting the New Victoria Centre, you will see that we are continuing to display the NHS Track & Trace ‘QR’ CodeThis is now a voluntary arrangement but you are encouraged by NHS England to help protect yourself and others by scanning in or signing our log.  Likewise, you are requested to wear a facemask (unless exempt) for similar reasons, when attending any concerts and events or when practicing at the organ console.

Please also use the Hand Sanitiser dispensers provided and Wash Your Hands regularly using the anti-bacterial soap whilst visiting.  You will also find that we have improved the ventilation in the Main Hall, Tea Room and Toilets and installed special dispensers in toilet cubicles to enable visitors to sanitise toilet seats.

For the latest Government advice and information visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response. 

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Concert News:

On Sunday 5th September we present the resident organist of the TOWER BALLROOM Blackpool, PHIL KELSALL MBE, in concert at the New Victoria Wurlitzer at 2.30

We are looking forward to welcoming Phil back to Howden le Wear to play our first LIVE CONCERT since March 2020!

Almost all tickets are now sold for this concert, but please enquire for the latest information about availability to David Kirkbride on 01388 762467.  Please Note: We have temporarily reduced the seating capacity of the hall at the New Victoria Centre in order to make it more spacious, safer and more comfortable for visitors and we may be restricting normal refreshment service to reduce close contact during the interval.

We were pleased to welcome Declan Poole back to play once again at the Wurlitzer organ in an online concert which was recorded ‘live’ on June 5th 2021 and initially streamed on 25th July.  As one of the younger generation of theatre organists in the UK Declan has developed a formidable technique at the console and as well as playing in concert, he also often helps Kevin Grunill in his work building and maintaining theatre organs around the country.  If you would care to make a donation towards the cost of running this concert, you may donate any amount via our ‘Sponsor a Pipe’ page (with or without the application of Gift Aid)

The response to our streamed online concerts with HOWARD BEAUMONT, AARON HAWTHORNE, KEVIN GRUNILL and now DECLAN (all of which you can still see on our Facebook page) has been most gratifying and we thank everyone for kind comments received.  (If you suffered a sluggish picture at times during Kevin’s concert, we apologise, but we think that this may have been due to the simultaneous England football match putting a ‘strain’ on the local internet whilst we were streaming the concert!)

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Heritage Open Days 2021:

.Once again this year we look forward to welcoming visitors to the New Victoria Centre as part of the national ‘Heritage Open Days’ week so that visitors can find out more about the NETOA Wurlitzer organ.  Covid 19 restrictions made this impossible so we went ‘virtual’ instead!  We have kept the videos running on our LINKS page for anyone who missed them over the actual festival and you can click on the following links to find more information on our ORGAN,  HISTORY and REVIEWS pages + you can enjoy our Wurlitzer at home on CDs available from our SALES page.  This year we go live again on Saturday 18th September with some extra ‘Covid precautions’ – see our EVENT DETAILS page for more information – Admission to the event, as always, is FREE!

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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.

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Shop and ‘SMILE’:

With AMAZON ‘Smile’ you can shop conveniently online and help NETOA funds at the same time!  When you shop on Amazon, use the ‘Smile’ link and as we are a Registered Charity they will donate a small amount from your purchase price to NETOA funds.

It doesn’t cost you anything and is a great way to boost our funds as you shop – JUST Remember To ‘SMILE’!  Use this convenient button to go straight to the ‘Smile’ site and we will be smiling along with you!

Or, try it in the Amazon Mobile App: 1. Open the Amazon app on your phone  2. Select the main menu (=) & tap on “AmazonSmile” within Programmes & Features  3. Select North East Theatre Organ Association as your charity  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app  –  Easy!!

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How to Keep Up-to-date:

The latest issue of our newsletter ‘Pipetalk’ has much more NETOA news and once again we would like to thank Barry and Rosilyn Raine, David and Suzanne Kirkbride and everyone who has worked extra-hard to get this out under the current difficult circumstances.  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.organrecitals.com (which features lots of organ and concert / recital related information, both theatre and classical), as well as on www.organfax.co.uk (where you can find information about theatre and electronic organ events all over the UK).  The Theatre Organ Venue & Events Guide – North of England Edition lists most of the major venues offering theatre organ concerts in the North and copies are widely available (it is hoped to make this a national publication this year).

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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 (sometimes called ‘the MBE for Volunteer Groups’ and we believe that it is the first such award given to a group involved in theatre organ preservation.  We would like to dedicate this award to all of the volunteers who have helped, over many years and in so 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 a ticket & coming along to 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).

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 to go to the sponsor-a-pipe page.

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 a Sponsor a Pipe donation.  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.