Programme for ‘Aladdin’, 1901

This is the programme for the first play performed at the Gaiety Theatre, Plas Newydd Anglesey.

Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey (1875 – 1905), converted the family chapel at Plas Newydd into the Gaiety Theatre after he inherited the title and a vast fortune in 1898. Professional actors were lured away from London by extremely lucrative salaries, and locals were given free tickets. Henry Paget loved performing and dressing up and was known as the ‘the dancing Marquess’ for the snake-like sinuous dance he gave at his performances.

He rapidly spent his inheritance and income from a family mining business on an extraordinary number of luxurious things: thousands of pounds worth of jewels, numerous elaborate costumes for his theatre, cars, boats and animals. He was declared bankrupt in 1904 and forced to sell his lavish collection. He died a few months later and his heirs rapidly destroyed the Gaiety Theatre and any memorabilia they could find.

Aladdin is one of the most popular pantomimes and the story originates in the ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’.

This programme is usually on display in Gallery 4, but is currently on display in the ‘Button it Up’ exhibition.