Theatre show inspired by 270-year-old song to be performed in former Margate clothes shop

In Search of Xanadu

A 270-year-old song from Margate’s Regency past will feature in a one-off theatre show inspired by cult film Xanadu.

Margate-based dance and theatre company Round in Circles has spent months researching the town’s archives to inform its show-stopping production.

In Search of Xanadu  will feature the  18th century track which saw its heyday when George II was on the throne.

Artistic director Anna Symes said: “We found the music to A Trip to Margate at Margate museum. It is a Regency dance created in 1749 and performed at the Assembly Rooms in Tivoli Gardens. We then contacted The Garrick Club in London which houses theatrical archives to undertake further research.”

The score was put through a computer programme that created the music for the cast to dance to.

The show will be a spectacle of colour, dance, Margate memories and, of course, roller skates! In a nod to the town’s more recent artistic heritage the show will be performed in the first home of Turner Contemporary. The venue was last open as clothing shop  Store Twenty One.

Memories gleaned from interviews with Margate stalwarts have been woven into the narrative and show  a funny and candid snapshot of bygone years; be it drinking until the sun comes up at Frank’s nightclub or dancing the night away at the legendary Bali Hai.

Ms Symes says Xanadu, which stars Olivia Newton-John, is a brilliant mesh of genres which fits Margate.

She said: “The way the film manages to weave together polar opposites is brilliant: Greek mythology, swing dance and 1980’s rock. There are incredible dance numbers and it’s an incredible visual experience.”

The performance is part of the Margate Festival which explores the theme, NOW and runs until the end of the month.

Sacha Craddock, guest curator of the festival, said: “It is powerful, to shift from the collective to the individual, then back again, to experience everything. From self-conscious contemplation to hyper hedonistic blast, we hope to present gain and pleasure, insight and effect, gentle compulsion and roaring necessity.”

When, where and how much

September 26 and 27. Show starts at 7.30pm

Store Twenty One, Margate High Street, CT9 1DX (next to KFC.)

Tickets cost £7; concessions, £5

To buy tickets visit