Hairspray Venues in the 1960’s: Part 1


Wimbledon-New-Theatre-Hairspray the Musical

With our Hairspray the Musical UK tour now well and truly under-way, we’re taking a step back in time to discover what was going on in our first tour locations in Hairspray’s era, the 1960’s.

Read on to discover famous faces, theatre facts and the top places the locals were heading for a twist and a boogie!


  • Leicester locals listened to their favourite jams on England’s first local radio station, BBC Leicester which launched in 1967.
  • Pop & Rock fans were found at music venue II Rondo on Silver Street.
  • A Saturday night wasn’t complete without a dance at local night clubs the Burlesque or the Nite Owl.
Leiciester 1960s-David Hillas

©David Hillas under Creative Commons license


  • The location of our venue, the Oxford New Theatre on George Street has been home to a theatre for 170 years.
  • In 1968 a young Oxford boy, Mark Lester shot to child stardom in the title role of the musical film version of Oliver!


  • Staying on the theme of famous births, Northampton is the birthplace of novelist and poet Mark Haddon (1962), author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


  • Those looking to get their music fix in Malvern headed down to the Malvern Winter Gardens. In the 1960’s, the venue played host to the likes of The Rolling Stones, T-Rex and The Drifters.
  • The Malvern theatre industry nearly collapsed in the 1960’s but was saved by the creation of the Malvern Theatre Association and the Malvern Festival Theatre Trust who fundraised and refurbished the theatre building; it was re-opened in 1965 by J B Priestley.


  • Liverpool became renowned for its culture through the 1960’s, being the centre of the “Merseybeat” sound. The Cavern Club was the centre of the Rock & Roll scene, including hosting the first ever performance by The Beatles in 1961.
  • Many musicians began in Liverpool, with around 350 active bands through the 60’s, including The Beatles and Cilla Black.
  • Our Hairspray the Musical venue, the Liverpool Empire hosted numerous big name acts in the 60’s including Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland. When The Beatles returned later in their career, the crowd was so loud no-one could hear them singing!

The Beatles & Queens Square (©Richie Wright)


  • Locarno’s was the last great dance hall in Hull and was the place to be through the 60’s!
  • The council owned West Park Open Theatre put on shows and talent competitions drawing crowds from far and wide.

©Sheffield Tiger


  • The first edition of Top of the Pops was broadcast from Manchester on New Year’s Day 1964.
  • Numerous 1960’s celebrities were from Manchester including The BeeGees, A Clockwork Orange writer Anthony Burgess and Davy Jones, best known as one of The Monkees.

©Paul Townsend under creative commons license


  • Wimbledon officially became part of London in 1965 (previously in Surrey) as part of the creation of Greater London.
  • Award winning actress Margaret Rutherford grew up in Wimbledon with her peak in the 1960’s. She was winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1963, awarded and OBE in 1961 and a DBE in 1967.
  • Our Hairspray the Musical venue the New Wimbledon Theatre hosted the world premiere of Lionel Bart’s “Oliver!” in 1960, based on Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist.
Wimbledon-New-Theatre-Hairspray the Musical



Don’t forget to buy tickets for Hairspray the Musical at these venues and more!