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Image of film still The Young Victoria Emily Blunt

Novello Theatre in The Young Victoria

Date posted: 01.03.2009

The Young Victoria is a Jean-Marc Vallée film which follows the life of the young Queen Victoria (played by Emily Blunt), focusing on her early reign and romance with Prince Albert.

Scripted by Julian Fellows (Gosford Park, Vanity Fair) and attracting heavyweight producers such as Martin Scorsese, Graham King and the Duchess of York, filming took place during the summer of 2007. Various heritage locations throughout the UK, including some of London's most stately locations, were used.

At one stage the production were filming in a different location every day of the week covering Osterley Park, The Old Royal Naval College, Ham House, the Novello Theatre and Hampton Court Palace. The Novello Theatre in particular was used for several scenes in which Victoria attends two operas, including one event where she is heckled by an audience member.

Location Manager, Martin Joy, explains how they came to film at the theatre: 'We chose the Novello as the style was a close match to what we needed. It was very hard to find a suitable theatre of the correct period, as most have been extensively remodelled since the time of Queen Victoria, but with the Novello it only took a few small cover-ups in order to create the right look. Importantly, they also had an available window between productions - which is very rare for a busy West End theatre.'

Previously know as the Strand Theatre, the Novello was renamed in honour of Ivor Novello who lived in a flat above the theatre from 1913 to 1951. It boasts opulent interiors, including a three-tiered curved auditorium with boxes decorated in white, gold and red, velvet curtains, marble pillars, and a grand chandelier hanging from a painted ceiling. The foyer, staircases and bars are equally plush, with black and brown streaked marble, gold plasterwork and ornate Victorian lamps adorning a wrought-iron staircase.

Gloria Louis, Theatre Manager at the Novello, describes her experience of the production: 'To watch the beautiful Novello Theatre transform into a lavish Victorian Opera House was a joy to behold. The sets and costumes were indeed sumptuous and we all felt like we had been taken back in time. It was amusing to watch our customers queuing to buy tickets in the foyer, while ladies and gentlemen floated past them in gowns and top hats on the way from make-up to the set. I can't wait to watch the film knowing that I was in some small way involved in such a great story.'

Martin adds: 'It was a great experience working with the team at the Novello. They were very supportive of our needs and made us feel very welcome. Many of their backstage staff also worked with our art department to make the sets on stage work, changing them over quickly in time for the second opera, which we shot at the same location.'

To film at the Novello Theatre please contact Gloria Louis on GloriaLouis@Delfont-Mackintosh.com

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