Pavillion Theatre Cromer Pier Norfolk
The theatre as we see it today was rebuilt in 1955, but the story of the original Pavilion Theatre begin in 1901 at the opening of the Cromer Pier. The official opening saw The Blue Viennese Band play on an open bandstand and in 1905 it was extended to form an enclosed pavilion.
The Royal Engineers removed the middle section of the pier at the beginning of WWII for defence purposes, with planks added to bridge the gap to allow the lifeboat station to be reached. The devastating gales of 1953 destroyed the pier and theatre and so the government granted compensation to complete its rebuild for the start of the 1955 season.
It was damaged by storms in 1949, 1953, 1976, 1978 and 1990. It was once again severely damaged in 1993 by a 100 ton rig when it crashed into the pier. By 2004 additions to the theatre included an increased capacity to 510, the Tides restaurant, the Footprints shop and a new bar. It was reopened by Stephen Fry in 27th June 2004 but once again damaged by storms the following year. Many well known artists have performed at the theatre including Ken Dodd, Cannon and Ball, Jimmy Tarbuck, Paul Daniels, Marty Wilde MBE, Vince Hill, Max Bygraves, Val Doonican, Bradley Walsh, Steve Hewlett, Danny Posthill, Julian Lloyd Webber, The Manfreds, Sooty, Jim Davidson, Roy Chubby Brown, Chas & Dave and Joe McElderry . The pier also appeared in the film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
Unexplained ghostly activity has been reported in this area since the 1300’s when the original pier or jetty was built. Scrawny medieval figures in rags are seen wandering along with a man in a tall black hat, an ashen faced man with black hair, past workers from the pier and apparitions of past lifeboat men are seen wandering from the theatre only to return. Phantom ships are seen along with the cries of lost sailors. Visitors often report having a sickening feeling and seeing things move.
The most famous phantom in the theatre is believed to be a former employee who is heard singing and laughing in the corridors. Strange noises are frequently heard and glasses randomly break or fall on the floor. The back corridor by the dressing rooms is often described as eerie and shadows and strange noises are a frequent occurrence inside the dressing rooms.
It is said that during a great storm that lasted a day and a night 1000 people lost their lives.