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The Dreamland Trust is supporting Comic Relief with event partners, Beeping Bush and the Tom Thumb Theatre, this Easter weekend with a programme of events designed to tickle your funny bone and celebrate our great British comedy heritage.

Dr Oliver Double will open Margate’s Easter Bank Holiday Easter Weekender at the Theatre Royal, Margate at 6.30pm on 31 March 2013 with a light-hearted talk about the history of cine-variety – a mix of live and cinematic entertainment similar to the type of programme one would have enjoyed at Dreamland in the 1930s.

Oliver Double is a senior lecturer in drama at the University of Kent, where his teaching of stand-up comedy has gained national attention. He has written widely on stand-up comedy and popular performance, notably the books Stand-Up! On Being a Comedian (Methuen, 1997), Getting the Joke: The Inner Workings of Stand-Up Comedy (Methuen, 2005) and Britain Had Talent: A History of Variety Theatre (Palgrave, 2012).

Before becoming an academic, he was a professional stand-up comedian on the national alternative comedy circuit (‘Delightful’ –The Guardian), the founder member of Red Grape Cabaret (‘Whoever it was that wrote off alternative comedy, they forgot to tell Red Grape Cabaret’ –William Cook, The Guardian), and for five years he ran and compèred the Last Laugh, Sheffield’s longest running comedy club. He is currently the compère of the Horsebridge Comedy Club in Whitstable.

Media appearances include Fry’s English Delight (Radio 4), Little Howard’s Big Question (BBC1), 100 Greatest Stand-Ups (C4) and Funny Business (BBC2). In November 2006, he performed a full-length solo stand-up show entitled Saint Pancreas at the Horsebridge Centre. Based on his experiences of parenting children with diabetes, a film of the show is available on DVD (‘Funny, charming, touching.’ –Arthur Smith, Balance magazine). Since then he has performed stand-up for a number of diabetes organisation in the UK and the USA.

Olly’s entertaining talk will be followed by a special screening of Laurel and Hardy’s short film, Them Thar Hills – the first film ever to be shown in Dreamland Margate’s cinema when it opened to the public in 1935. The state of the art 2,200 seat super-cinema complex replaced Dreamland’s 1923 nine-hundred seat Variety Cinema, which was converted from the original Hall by the Sea’s ballroom.

Dreamland’s much loved and majestic, purpose built, Grade II* listed cinema complex retains many of its art deco features. The cinema closed to the public on Thursday 1 November 2007 with a gala screening of the 1957 classic British comedy, The Smallest Show on Earth, starring Peter Sellers, after which there was a standing ovation for the then 81 year old projectionist, Derek Ray, after 28 years of service.

Dr Double’s talk plus Laurel and Hardy screening is suitable for family audiences.  For tickets, times and full Margate’s Easter Bank Holiday Easter Weekender programme please visit website – booking is absolutely recommended!

Other Margate’s Easter Bank Holiday Easter Weekender events include Beeping Bush’s 2 Days Laughter Film competition.  The Judges’ Shortlist film screenings and Film Awards Ceremony presentations begin 7.50pm at the Theatre Royal and will be hosted by crack globe-trotting comedian Nick Wilty and a variety of stand-up comedians. Visit for full details, tickets and times.

The Tom Thumb Theatre in Cliftonville will be screening a classic silent comedy … but what will it be? From Bluegrass to Buster Keaton, Charleston to Chaplin, via a smattering of Calypso. Dress to impress and prepare for belly laughs, you are cordially invited to join the Hydropathes for a mere £2.50! Doors open 7.00pm. For venue details and times please visit the Tom Thumb Theatre’s website at 


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You may recall that end of last year we appointed HemingwayDesign to create the look, feel, sound, smell and taste of Dreamland – the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides with a wide appeal that “reaches out” to those that understand and immerse themselves in heritage and British culture, that stimulates lovers of the arts and design as well as families who just want a great day out with multi-generational appeal.

Dreamland will be a world class events venue that becomes the natural home in Britain for events and festivals that celebrate the history of popular British culture in terms of music, youth culture, film and design and the natural location choice for media, film and TV to cover these themes.

It will be a visual and sensual delight that has clearly been delivered by creative thinkers and designers and touched in every way and in every nook and cranny by the hands of artists and artisans. Every attraction, cafe, events space, component will have had creative input. The aim is that every aspect becomes a photo opportunity and a digital marketing tool.

To find out more and how you can be part of this extraordinary project come and meet the HemingwayDesign and The Dreamland Trust teams at 6pm on Wednesday 17 April 2013 in the Foyle Room, Turner Contemporary, Rendezvous, Margate CT9 1HG. Wayne Hemingway will present the initial ideas and there will be an open forum and the opportunity to talk to the teams about getting involved creatively. 

Email me at to register and reserve your place. 


The CPO hearing will be held on 20 and 21 March 2013 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. A decision is expected soon after the hearing and we will let you all know of the outcome as soon as it is released. You can follow the hearing on twitter next week at twitter@dreamlandtrust or twitter@thanetcouncil.
























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