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The New Hippodrome and Palace Theatre of Varieties opened on September 2, 1907, with a classic music hall bill, topped by “the Greatest of all Comediennes”, Miss Marie Loftus, but the real star of the show was the Italian impresario who had brought the theatre to life.

On that opening, there were two houses – 7pm and 9pm – with 2,000 people crammed into each, including 500 squeezed onto the wooden benches of the gallery with another 100 standing behind, watching what the local newspaper, The Northern Echo, called an “admirable” programme put together by Signor Rino Pepi to mark the launch of his third music hall.

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