O2 Apollo Manchester

Stockport Road and Hyde Road,
Manchester, M12 6AP

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O2 Apollo Manchester

Located in the inner-city district of Ardwick Green, just to the south of Manchester city centre. Opened on 29th August 1938, the Apollo Theatre was built for an independent operator and was designed by architects Peter Cummings and Alex M. Irvine. The interior decorations were carried out by noted interior designers Mollo & Egan with the Holophane lighting designed by R. Gillespie Williams.

Seating was provided in the magnificent auditorium in stalls and circle levels. The proscenium is 53 feet wide and the stage 40 feet deep. There are 12 dressing rooms for artists who appeared in the variety shows which acompanied the film perfomances. It was equipped with a Compton organ. The Apollo Theatre was also equipped with a cafe and a 500 capacity ballroom.

It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) from 31st January 1943. In April 1960, the World Premiere of the film “Hell is a City” starring Stanley Baker was held at the Apollo Manchester. The film was shot on location in nearby Levenshulme. The Apollo Manchester was re-named ABC Ardwick in 1962.

It was taken over by an independent operator from 30th January 1977 and began to stage pop concerts, with the occasional use for films to fill in dates. Eventually films were dropped.

This stunning Art Moderne style palace became owned by Apollo Leisure, followed by Live Nation. Now independently operated by the Academy Music Group, it serves as a 2,693-seat capacity (3,500 with standing room) concert venue. The cafe and ballroom have been unused for several years.

The O2 Apollo Manchester is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by David Pring, Ray Martinez, Ian Grundy, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on April 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I worked at the Apollo as Assistant Manager under Ken Cooper, someone I will always consider my mentor, in the 70’s. It was by far my favourite cinema and I loved the proscenium arch with it’s changing colours. Those changing rooms below stage could tell a few stories!

johncas on July 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm

What was the building round the corner on Hyde road another entrance or another cinema

davidstirzaker on July 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm

It was a Wimpey Bar in my time during the late 60’s

Mike_Blakemore on July 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Apollo Did put screen in the cafe. My associate supplied the Projection Equipment

Derick Moss
Derick Moss on July 23, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I remember that Wimpy Bar, food was awful, and it was run by some female dragon whose name escapes me.

terry on September 2, 2014 at 8:32 am

From The British Pathe Library: The Beatles Live 1963:–


From The British Pathe Library: Premiere of ‘Hell Is A City’ 1960:–


JenWarner on October 14, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Can anyone help me please? I am looking to find the name of the cook in the Cafe around 1962 or 63. I believe her surname was Sherratt but need a first name. She worked with my mum Anne Smalley who was her kitchen assistant. She was small and blonde if that helps jog anyone’s memory. Any info however small will help. Fingers crossed. Thank you.

davidstirzaker on January 7, 2019 at 11:54 am

Last August we celebrated 80 years of the Apollo

terry on January 7, 2019 at 1:11 pm

I carried out Managerial relief duties there on a number of occasions whilst it was an ABC. At the time I was based at the almost as large ABC Wigan which still seated 2,280 (original capacity 2,560).

Wigan Ritz is just a distant memory now but I am delighted that the Apollo continues to thrive as a live venue.

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