Albermarle Back Road,
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This is a large cine-variety theatre, opened just before the advent of sound films, on 11th March 1929 with Alice Terry in “The Garden of Allah” It was equipped with a Fitton and Haley 2Manual/27Stops organ which was opened by J.W. Ainsworth. It also had a large stage (flytower), dressing rooms, and orchestra pit.
Despite these facilities, the Capitol Theatre was used as a cinema, with only rare live performances on its stage.
The facade is covered with white faience tiling with 3 large rectangular windows in the centre surmounted by 3 semi-circular panels containing Greek mask faces with violins (depicting music) in the 2 outer panels and comedy and tragedy masks in the center.
Above this there is a projecting cornice with a cartouche and the ‘Capitol’ name also in the faience. There are 3 pairs of cental doors with 2 further exit doors on each side.
A secondary entrance was provided on Westborough, again in faience (now painted) and with a repeat of the crest cartouche. On the opposite side is a back access road with stage get-in, stage door and dressing rooms.
The interior is particularly lavish with a series of arches at balcony level continuing to the deeply recessed proscenium arch in a Classical style. The corners next to the arch are splayed and in the 2 narrower arches with ornamental ironwork were the organ pipes (organ now removed).
Above the proscenium arch is a Greek/Roman frieze with a medalion in the center containing the initial ‘C’. The ceiling is a plain shallow barrel vault.
The stalls foyer is small but at balcony level the former cafe now provides a spacious foyer lit by the 3 central windows.
It was taken over by Classic Cinemas in the mid-1970’s and briefly re-named Classic Cinema, with bingo operating most days, but with the circle seating being used when films were shown. It soon passed in the ownership of Mecca Bingo Ltd. and was operating as a Mecca Bingo Club from March 1977.
The Capitol Theatre was designated a Grade II Listed building from 1996.
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