Hall's boss plans year to remember for centenary
De Montfort Hall marks its centenary in 2013 – and manager Anthony Flint is planning a year to remember.
Top acts, nostalgia and a few new ideas will be defining a year that kicks off with a sell-out gig by Take That star Gary Barlow and will end with the hall's first pantomime in two decades.
Anthony, who took on the role of general manager six months ago, following a financially-troubled few years for the venue, said: "It's nice to have the centenary as a platform to move forward after a difficult couple of years.
"We're already doing well across the board with entertainment acts and 2013 will be an exciting one for us."
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One of Anthony's main aims is to bring back more big-name musical acts to the venue.
"In the 1960s and 70s, before the stadiums existed, the big acts such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and everyone would come here.
"This year, we've already got Gary Barlow and Bryan Ferry and I'm looking to develop relationships with promoters and play on the traditions of this venue to get more big acts."
The main anniversary event, on July 20, will be a concert of classical music by the resident Philharmonia Orchestra, followed by an outdoor party and fireworks show.
While the cancellation of this year's Summer Sundae festival – due to poor ticket sales in recent years – has been a setback, Anthony is keen to get more going on in the venue's grounds.
He said: "Towards July, I'd like to have some outdoor theatre, as well as using the outdoors for comedy, too.
"We'll also be looking to do something outdoors in place of Summer Sundae.
"It's not going to be another festival, but hopefully we can do something that caters for wide tastes like Summer Sundae does, and does something to help local bands.
"It's probably going to be a number of events that will hopefully tick a lot of the boxes for people who come each year for Summer Sundae."
The big show next Christmas will be a panto, Aladdin, running from December 14.
"We haven't really had a professional panto in Leicester for about 20 years," said Anthony.
"Smaller venues in Leicester put on some amateur pantomimes and Curve always has a Christmas show, but I think it would be good to have a big, professional panto here in Leicester."
Another big part of the centenary year still under discussion is how the venue should celebrate its history.
The hall has plenty of old memorabilia and Anthony said he was keen to do something to celebrate the anniversary in some way throughout the year.
He said: "We are still discussing what we can do and there are a number of options.
"De Montfort Hall has a huge pedigree of entertainment.
"Some plans are still up in the air a bit but we hope it will be an amazing anniversary programme."