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Group Visits to the New Palace Theatre Organ Heritage Centre

For an Afternoon of Delight - Memories are Made of This

Providing the ideal destination for your Club, Company or Society outing, we tailor the entertainment to suit you.   Performing on the Unique HiLSDON Unit Orchestral Pipe Organ, our Resident Organist, Larry McGuire, the last resident organist of the Edinburgh Playhouse until 1985, plays music and relives memories of days gone by, which are not actually that far in the past.  Larry himself was associated with the Playhouse organ from its first performances following its restoration in 1970, until 1985 when the organ was permanently taken out of use.

Our most frequent visits are from clubs for our older citizens, for whom we put together an afternoon or evening of light-hearted and musical entertainment, complete with refreshments, for you to enjoy.  We can provide catering from a basic 'tea and biscuits', through to a high tea which 'your Auntie' would be jealous of!

We have a special programme at Easter, and encourage the members of your group to wear an 'Easter Bonnet' to show off, and maybe even win a prize for.

Christmas however, is when the whole building sparkles with festive wonder.  The outside of the building is adorned with a twinkling and festive light display, and the whole of the interior is transformed into a 'Winter Wonderland', complete with a 12 foot tall Christmas Tree, all for your delight.  A typical Christmas visit might include a welcoming hot, spicy fruit punch and Christmas Mince Pie followed perhaps by warming, hot soup and home made breadrolls, with seasonal cakes and petit fours served later with tea or coffee during the Interval in the Seasonal Entertainment.

With equipment to show silent (and sound) films we can incorporate showing a short silent film into your visit, complete with live organ accompaniment, and are also happy to give a more detailed technical lecture on the inner workings of the instrument for those more interested in what goes on behind the scenes.

We were the first venue in the country to project a close-up of the organists' hands and feet onto the installed big screen during every performance, something that has been copied by many around the world, which helps to give audiences and visitors an impression of 'just how much is going on' to make the music they are enjoying, and the organist often gives a musical 'tour' of the organ which entrances everyone, especially when he demonstrates playing, from the organ console, the Glockenspiel and Xylophone which are displayed to the side of the stage.

Students from Edinburgh University's Department of Musical Instrument Acoustics visit us for an Annual Lecture in the Centre when a much more detailed presentation is given on the history, development and tonal resources of the theatre pipe organ as compared to the church organ, and we can tailor this talk to suit either younger students, including school children of all ages, or members of a Rotary or Probus Club.

During better weather, we encourage visitors to make use of the external seating areas at the rear of the Centre, where a small band of volunteers are carrying out a long term project to create a wonderful and fully accessible garden for all to enjoy.  With a collection of various fruit trees, we even make our own Apple Jelly for sale in the Centre.  We now also organically grow our own herbs for garnishing salads and sandwiches.

With lots of interesting things to see, from historic light fittings removed from demolished cinemas, to a selection of 'silver service' pieces from the long gone Playhouse and Palace Cafes, as well as projectors and a collection of memorabilia, your group's visit is sure to be packed full of interesting surprises.

Apart from the seating in the balcony, all of the Centre is wheelchair accessible and we have an accessible toilet.   Induction loops for the hard of hearing are installed in the Auditorium, the Green Room Coffee Bar and at the Servery Counter.   We do not yet have signage printed in Braille but intend adding this in the future, although when we have visiting 'Blind Clubs' there are always plenty of carers on hand to assist, both coming with the Groups and from our own volunteers.

Staffed entirely by volunteers, we aim to provide a service second to none in the Centre, and welcome suggestions for improving all that we already do.   We have a 'Visitor's Book' which we encourage everyone to sign and you are welcome to read through it.

For group visits, we request a minimum donation of £5.00 per person to cover the entertainment costs, with catering options costing -
  1. Tea/coffee and selection of biscuits - £1.50 per person

  2. Hot soup with home made breadroll - £1.75 per person

  3. Tea/coffee with scones, butter and jam, and petit fours (small cakes) - £3.00 per person

  4. Tea/coffee with selection of sandwiches, scones and petit fours - £4.50 per person.

A small additional cost is made for special dietary requirements, the total of which will depend upon the number and type of requirements, and we are happy to offer variations from our standard options.

Please contact us for pricing details on the number or email address below.

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