The Mousetrap History
On 25th November 2012 The Mousetrap celebrated its 60th Birthday, a Diamond Jubilee.
The Mousetrap has celebrated its 60 years in style with a star-studded Gala to raise funds for Mousetrap Theatre Projects, the first ever UK tour, the licensing of 60 productions around the world, a cast reunion lunch, an unveiling of Agatha Christie’s statue in Covent Garden, and much, much more.
On November 18th 2012, for one night only and on our 25000th performance, The Mousetrap performed with a star studded cast raising funds for Mousetrap Theatre Projects.
The Mousetrap had its world premiere on 6th October 1952 at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. It subsequently visited the New Theatre, Oxford; The Opera House, Manchester; The Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool; The Theatre Royal, Newcastle; The Grand Theatre, Leeds; and the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, before opening in London at the Ambassadors Theatre on Tuesday 25th November.
In the cast were Richard Attenborough, Sheila Sim, Martin Miller, Jessica Spencer, Aubrey Dexter, Mignon O’Doherty, Allan McClelland and John Paul.
The Mousetrap passes a the first of many milestones. Playing its 1,000th performance on the 22nd of April.
To honour Agatha Christie’s many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1956 New Year Honours.
13 September marks the 1,998th performance of The Mousetrap, making it the longest running straight play in the history of British Theatre.
A major record was achieved by The Mousetrap on 12th April 1958 when it played its 2,239th performance thereby becoming the longest-ever run in London. On the Sunday evening, 13th April, Peter Saunders gave a party to celebrate at the Savoy Hotel. The Daily Mail the following morning carried this account by Douglas Marlborough:
“A silver-haired middle-aged woman with a motherly smile walked into the Savoy Hotel last night and was stopped by a porter as she approached the banqueting hall where a big theatrical party was about to begin. ‘Your ticket, please, ma’am,’ said the porter. But she didn’t have a ticket. She was the guest of honor. Her name: Mrs. Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan – Agatha Christie, Queen of the Thrillers, to you. Shy and reserved, she seldom comes out in public. ‘I know many people don’t know me… but they did let me in,’ she added with a smile.
The cast of The Mousetrap, armed with various props, give a special performance at Wormwood Scrubs Prison on Sunday the 15th of March. During the performance two prisoners escaped.
During the year The Mousetrap was advertised on a cricket scorecard. It made history by being the first advertiser of any kind at Lord’s. This led to sponsored matches and advertising boards round the ground.
Agatha Christie cuts a half ton cake with Producer Peter Saunders to celebrate the 10th anniversary at a party at the Savoy Hotel.
Agatha Christie had a great love of horse racing and on 17th August 1966 “The Mousetrap Challenge Cup” was inaugurated. It was run at Devon and Exeter Races and Agatha presented the trophy to the first winner. The race continued to be run each year until 1991.
Agatha Christie turns 80.
On 5th October 1970 the London Evening News ‘gave’ the Ambassadors Theatre as a prize in a competition. The winner could have the theatre for a night and could do anything they wanted. They could give it away, keep the takings or even see the show through with no-one else in the audience. A housewife, Mrs. Brenda Coleman, was the winner and she gave half the takings to the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street, who helped save her daughter’s sight, invited many of the hospital staff to a champagne reception and, with her husband, had a holiday with the balance.
Agatha Christie is made a Dame.
On Saturday 23rd March 1974 The Mousetrap closed at The Ambassadors Theatre. It re-opened the following Monday – thereby keeping the continuance of the run – next door at the larger St Martin’s Theatre where it has gone on to break every record in the history of the theatre.
At the end of the performance of The Mousetrap at the St Martin’s Theatre on 12th January 1976, actor Brian McDermott, playing Detective Sergeant Trotter, spoke at the end of the performance to the packed house: “Ladies and gentlemen, this afternoon the best-known, best-loved English writer in the world, Dame Agatha Christie died and a few hours ago it seemed that The Mousetrap would close for the first time in its history. Those of us who knew her saw a quiet, shy, sensitive lady, but she also had great courage and determination and we knew she would have wanted the show to go on. As a mark of respect to a great English lady, will you please rise and join in a moment of silence.” They did.
On the 17th of December The Mousetrap passed yet another milestone of 10,000 performances
The 26th year of The Mousetrap started with a celebratory party for one thousand guests given by producer Peter Saunders at the Savoy Hotel on 25th November 1977, marking the 25th birthday of the show. Prime Minister James Callaghan was the guest of honour. A special silver souvenir folder containing messages of congratulations from many distinguished people was presented to the audience at the performance that evening.
Peter Saunders, the theatre impresario and the first Producer of the Mousetrap, is made a Knight of the Realm.
The Mousetrap celebrates its 30th year and the original Detective Sergeant Trotter Sir Richard Attenborough reads to the audience and performers a congratulatory letter for the Queen Mother.
The total gross taken by The Mousetrap takes £10 million on the 31st May.
The Number of actors or actresses that have appeared in the Mousetrap passes the 200 mark.
On the 25th November the Mousetrap celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a performance attended by HRH Prince Edward.
The Mousetrap 15,000 performances
On the 24th of November, The Mousetrap celebrates 15,000 performances and Richard Attenborough celebrates with a photo with 30 of the leading ladies that have appeared in The Mousetrap over the years.
Prime Minister John Major and Mrs. Major with Sir Peter and Lady Saunders attend a party to celebrate The Mousetrap’s 40th anniversary.
David Turner returns to direct the Show which he will do for the next 11 years.
Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen takes over as Producer of The Mousetrap.
The total number of actors or actresses that have performances in The Mousetrap passes 300.
The Show celebrates 20,000 performances
The West End cast perform a Semi-Stage version of the Show at the Agatha Christie Theatre festival on one of the hottest nights of the year.
A Royal Visit. To celebrate the 50th anniversary HM the Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attend a Gala performance on the 25th of November 2002.
Mousetrap in Shanghai
The Mousetrap played to packed houses for two weeks in the Lyceum Theatre in Shanghai. Subtitles in Chinese ran on either side of the stage throughout the performance. Agatha Christie is ‘bigger than Shakespeare’ in China, and her plays are performed regularly in Chinese, but this was the first time a British Company had been invited
The Mousetrap tours Australia for 8 months playing to 150,000 theatre goers.
The Mousetrap goes on its first ever tour of the UK playing in over 120 venues across the UK.
The Diamond Anniversary Gala Performance with a star-studded cast DIRECTED BY PHYLLIDA LLOYD.
TAMSIN GREIG appears as Mollie Ralston
HUGH BONNEVILLE appears as Giles Ralston
HARRY LLOYD appears as Christopher Wren
JULIE WALTERS appears as Mrs. Boyle
NICHOLAS FARRELL appears as Major Metcalf
MIRANDA HART appears as Miss Casewell
PATRICK STEWART appears as Mr. Paravicini
IAIN GLEN appears as Detective Sergeant Trotter
The Mousetrap performs at the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
The Mousetrap Company wins the first ever West End Bake Off raising £4000 for the Charity Acting for Others.
Janet Hudson-Holt became the Be Inspired champion at the Olivier Awards for her work as the Costume Supervisor for The Mousetrap. For 15 years she has been an integral part of the show, making the wheel of The Mousetrap turn. Her impact on the show is clearly visible, after Janet painstakingly recreated the costumes from the original incarnation of the show.
The Mousetrap has its third Producer as Adam Spiegel becomes the custodian of the longest running show in the world.