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A trip down memory lane: Have we found the perfect retro gift for theatre collectors?
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have a box buried deep in a cupboard full of programmes, tickets and other stagey memorabilia you’ve gathered over the years. You also probably love showing off this collection to anyone who even mutters the word “stage” in your presence.
Well, our friends at Time Junkies specialise in retro gift ideas, curating specialist boxes from authentic 80s gifts to retro 70s time pieces. We asked them to create a bespoke box for theatre fans, and they delivered a wonderful selection of goodies. Read about what turned up on our doorstep below, and keep your eyes peeled on LondonTheatre, as we’ll be giving the box away to one lucky winner in the coming weeks!
We received no less than 40 programmes in the box, from a the 60s up to the early 2000s, from Miss Saigon to West End productions of Harold Pinter plays and premieres of Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass.
There were programmes featuring the likes of Maggie Smith (Three Tall Women at Wyndham’s Theatre, 1994 and The Importance of Being Earnest at the Aldwych, 1993), Pierce Brosnan (Filumena at the Lyric, 1977), and Joanna Lumley and Tim Pigott-Smith (both in The Letter at the Lyric Hammersmith, 1995).
We also particularly like this piece of guidance in a programme from the National: “We would like to remind you that coughing, rustling paper and the bleep of digital watches may be distractning to the actors and your fellow audience members.” We wonder if Patti LuPone would be as unimpressed by bleeping watches as she might be by ringing phones...
Also, what happened to theatre quizzes? Every programme seems to have a quiz to test your stagey knowledge over an ice cream during the interval.
We received five vinyl as part of the Time Junkies box, including a couple of real gems.
Part One of the original Broadway cast recording of The King and I, featuring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, including the songs “I Whistle a Happy Tune” and “My Lord and Master”.
Another great record included in the box was two songs from The Phantom of the Opera: “The Music of the Night” performed by Michael Crawford, and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” by Sarah Brightman.
Other title in the box were excerpts from Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison’s My Fair Lady, Loewe and Lerner’s 1958 film Gigi.
Just as vinyl have experienced a resurgence in popularity, so too, it seems, have cassette tapes. The box also delivers on that front, with soundtracks from Me and My Girl, the original London cast recording of Les Miserables, an original soundtrack of Fiddler on the Roof, and an Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest hits tape, circa 1994. Perfect for long road trips (if your car still has a cassette player that is…)
Time Junkies also threw in a few extra pieces, including a collection of ticket stubs dating as far back as 1946 (of which the box itself has also been decorated with), and a dramatic lapel badge to let everyone know just how stagey you are.
There’s also an edition of Theatre Weekly from March 1959 when the top stories included opening of Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo and Clemence Dance’s Eighty in the Shade, and a feature on theatre in Cologne.
For your own retro gifts like this, visit time-junkies.co.uk.