Group Visits and Talks
Every year we welcome a number of groups for private visits to the New Victoria Centre to find out all about the North East’s only ‘Mighty’ Wurlitzer organ and the rich history surrounding it.
Over the years many dozens of differing groups have come along, varying from those just wishing to listen to the beautiful sounds produced by the 1,375 organ pipes in the organ’s ‘chambers’, to those wanting to find out about the role of the theatre organ in World War II, to engineers looking for a detailed explanation of the workings of the organ. We can, of course, try to incorporate any special features to suit your group wherever possible.
Visiting groups have included Rotary Clubs, Womens’ Institutes, Church Groups, Theatre Groups and many others looking for a venue with ‘a difference’.
History of the Wurlitzer Pipe Organ
A typical visit may include a short illustrated talk on the history of the Wurlitzer organ, some film showing how it would have been used in the days of silent movies, a close-up inspection of the organ console and a rare chance to see inside the workings of the organ (which are normally hidden away out of sight of the public) and find out a little about how a Wurlitzer works – then – finally, of course, a chance to hear the sound of a large Wurlitzer organ being played. And, hopefully, time for a tea or coffee too.
As a Registered Charity we rely entirely on funds raised to maintain the organ and the building in which it is housed, so we do make charge for visits to cover running costs, etc.
We can also occasionally visit outside organisations to give talks about the North East Theatre Organ Association and the Wurlitzer, although we always feel there really is no substitute for hearing to organ live ‘in the flesh’ as it were, we can tell you a little about our story and hopefully encourage you to come along and hear the real thing for yourselves!
Wurlitzer Organ – Education and Training
Our principal aim as a charity is: “To promote, improve, develop and maintain public education in theatre pipe organ music, its history and heritage by: (a) the acquisition, maintenance and preservation of a theatre pipe organ; (b) the education of the public through open days, performances and other means; (c) the training and education of those who wish to learn the skills of playing and maintaining theatre pipe organs.”
Wurlitzer Workshops & Teach-ins
In pursuance of this aim, we arrange talks for various organisations (see above), also teaching and practice facilities are available for those interested in playing the organ. Occasional Workshops and Teach-ins are held for players and also for those interested in the technical aspects of the theatre organ (who are also very welcome to attend our weekly working sessions where they will get a chance to help with regular maintenance and repairs).
An important part of the heritage of the theatre organ is the Social History of the period with which it was principally associated. In the UK this stretched from about 1924 until about 1970, but its ‘heyday’ was really from 1930 until 1945; before and during World War II the organ was immensely popular, but after the war the World changed and having a large pipe organ in a cinema and paying an organist became an expensive luxury!
Please contact either the Chairman or Secretary for more Information (see ‘Contacts’).