The Mousetrap Facts – Did You Know
The Mousetrap Facts – When The Mousetrap opened on 25th November 1952 with Richard Attenborough and his fellow film-star and beloved wife Sheila Sim in the leading roles.
It was only seven years since Hitler died. Much essential food was still rationed, Mr Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, Harry Truman was President of the United States, and Stalin was ruler of Russia. There was fighting in Korea, and Princess Elizabeth began her long reign as Queen. The last tram ran in London, television programmes ended at 10.30 p.m., and the entire TV listings only occupied three and a half lines.
On 25 November 2002, The Mousetrap celebrated its golden jubilee with a Birthday Gala performance attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Lord (Richard) Attenborough gave the famous curtain speech exactly 50 years since he first delivered it in London: “Now you have seen The Mousetrap you are our partners in crime, and we ask you to preserve the tradition by keeping the secret of whodunit locked in your hearts.”
In November 2012 Agatha Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, welcomed the audience to the Diamond Jubilee celebratory evening, which was also the 25,000th performance of The Mousetrap. Phyllida Lloyd directed this one-off gala performance starring Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart, Iain Glen, Tamsin Greig, Nicholas Farrell, Hugh Bonneville and Miranda Hart.
All of the proceeds from the night were donated to Mousetrap Theatre Projects, the leading theatre education charity seed-funded by the play. In April 2015, the West End production celebrated 26,000 performances.
The Mousetrap Facts
Agatha Christie became a Dame of the British Empire in 1971; her books have sold billions of copies around the world – many more than any other author except Shakespeare and The Bible. She died on the 12th January 1976 aged 85. At one point she had three plays running at the same time in the West End, a feat never matched by any other woman. She was as successful as a playwright as she was as a novelist. Her most famous characters are Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
Agatha Christie gave her grandson, Mathew Prichard, the royalties from The Mousetrap for his ninth birthday. In recent years he has donated them to the benefit of charities for the arts and other causes especially in Wales. Mathew Prichard CBE is Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd.
The Mousetrap Facts
It became the world’s longest running production on 12 April 1958, exceeding the run of “Chu-Chin-Chow”, on its 2,239th performance.
The Mousetrap has four entries in the Guinness Book of Records, including: for the ‘longest continuous run of any show in the world’; ‘most durable’ actor (David Raven, who played Major Metcalf for 4,575 performances from 22nd July 1957 until 23rd November 1968); and ‘longest serving understudy’ (Nancy Seabrooke, who stood by as Mrs Boyle 6,240 times until 12th March 1994, and actually did so 72 times).
The Mousetrap Challenge Cup horse race took place at the Devon and Exeter Races from 1967 to 1991 – Agatha Christie herself presented the trophy to the first winner – and at Sandown Park from 1995 onwards.
Peter Saunders, the original producer of The Mousetrap and of many other Agatha Christie plays, married Katie Boyle in 1979, was knighted in 1982 for services to the theatre; and died in 2003.
The Mousetrap Facts
In March 1956, Peter Saunders sold the film rights, but shrewdly added the proviso that the film could not be released until six months after the end of the West End run. The film has yet to be made.
In 1994 Sir Peter handed over his responsibilities to a new company, Mousetrap Productions, under the management of Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen.
In March 2018, Adam Spiegel took over as producer of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap from Sir Stephen-Waley Cohen.
In celebration of the Grand Theatre’s 125th Anniversary Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap will appear at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre Mon 22 to Sat 27 July 2019.
A whole host of mechanisms have been set up so people can donate to the Grand Fundraiser including:
- Online donations
- The purchase of limited edition 125 Rose Gold Lapel Badges
- The Big 125 Draw, a year long raffle where entrants can win up to £5,000
- The 125 Club, a club limited to 125 members where each member pays £12.50 and each month three winners are selected to each win £125
- Pay what you feel – the theatre will be offering shows throughout the year where guests can pay what they feel it’s worth, with proceeds going to the fundraising activity.
To make a donation, visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/support-us/donation/