Our town’s rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame is reborn
An old Dunstable music venue that hosted some of the world’s biggest music stars is set to be brought back to life by a new exhibition at Priory House.
The California Ballroom saw The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Diana Ross, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder and many more grace its stage in the 60s and 70s.
And from this Saturday (October 27), visitors will be transported back in time thanks to a gallery full of original memorabilia from the club’s heyday.
The free exhibition – following an extensive refurbishment to Priory House’s Heritage Centre Gallery in High Street South – will include a signed Bob Marley album, a pair of Stevie Wonder’s cufflinks, original wall art and posters among other artefacts.
Central Beds Councillor Liz Jones – of Community Services – said “As a centre to celebrate the town’s heritage, it is fitting that Priory House is hosting this new exhibition which celebrates a recent and very important part of the town’s history.
“It’s important that as a town we don’t just look back a few hundred years at Dunstable’s history, but that we also look back at more recent historical chapters in the town’s heritage.
“The refurbishment of the exhibition space will also mean that Priory House Heritage Centre will be able to accommodate a variety of other exhibitions over the years to come, attracting more people to this jewel in the town’s history.”
Located at the bottom of Dunstable Downs, California Ballroom first opened on March 12 1960, before which the building was used as a swimming baths, and later for go-karting and roller skating.
The exhibition will run until Saturday December 8.
The ballroom will also be the subject of a new musical theatre, which will be ‘workshopped’ at Luton’s Hat Factory in March 2013.
Kerry Duggan of Olympian Productions will write the script for “Ballroom California”, mentored by Academy Award-winning director Terry George.
To learn more about the exhibition at Priory House, call 01582 891420. For more information about the history of the club, visit www.california-ballroom.info.
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