O2 Apollo Manchester

Stockport Road, Ardwick Green,
Manchester, M12 6AP

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ABC Apollo Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 was 53 feet wide and the stage was 40 feet deep. There were 12 dressing rooms for artists who appeared in the variety shows which acompanied the film perfomances. The Apollo Theatre was also equipped with a cafe and a 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, 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 24 comments)

laurajade18 on February 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I have been to the Apollo many times as a concert-goer, it was the first building to start my interest in old cinema buildings, it is absolutely stunning inside, fantastic surroundings to see a band in! So glad that it has been kept!

TLSLOEWS on February 25, 2010 at 11:12 am

Nice theatre and THE BEATLES played there.

Tinseltoes on July 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm

The Apollo Theatre, both inside and out, is prominently featured in “The Charming Man,” an episode of the popular British TV mystery series, “Blue Murder.” The plot concerns the murder of a rising pop singer soon after he gave a concert at the Apollo. In the USA at least, “The Charming Man” can be found on DVD in boxed Set 4 of “Blue Murder.” I don’t know if it’s packaged that way elsewhere.

davidstirzaker on July 21, 2011 at 8:04 am

ABC Ardwick used to be the District Office for the Manchester area

davidstirzaker on July 21, 2011 at 8:06 am

and the district number was J14.

The Beatles did indeed play there and Pathe News either did their first colour newsreel or cinemascope ratio for that concert

projectionman on October 23, 2011 at 2:43 am

i have worked at the apollo as a projectionist to show some of the pop concert films like pink floyd the wall and the song remains the same the projectors are ross gc3s on carbon arc and westrex valve sound i worked there in 1983

eurotrampbaz on March 28, 2012 at 6:35 am

left here in 1982,also showed The song remains the same.

DelBoy on June 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

The ABC Ardwick doubled as a cinema and as a district office for the ABC Cinemas group. Dougie Revis was the charming, sensitive, avuncular District Manager until 1969 when he was replaced by Jimmy Gold who was by comparison charmless, aggressive and (many people believed) altogether better suited to gangland thuggery than to cinema management.

One of the usherettes was Anna Ingham, an attractive and very presentable teenager who had clearly blossomed since junior school, where she had been well-known for having an almost-permanently runny nose.

Del1912 on April 23, 2013 at 2:56 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!

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