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The Palace Theatre started life as the 800-seat Palace Electric Theatre, a cine-variety theatre on 13th December 1910. It was designed by F.P. Cook and Lane, and was used more for films than shows. As one of the smallest of the town’s four cinemas, and independently owned it was the first to close, and on 3rd July 1944 it became a live theatre, closing in August 1954. It was acquired in 1956 by the local authority and re-named Civic Hall, to serve as the town’s live theatre, reopening in March 1957. It has been continually improved since that date; renovated and stalls rake increased in 1956, stage improved 1970 and in 1971 the façade was modernised and it became the Civic Theatre. The circle enlarged 1994, major refurbishment 1997 and in 2006 the theatre reopened after a complete redevelopment and enlargement of the stage and dressing rooms.
The facade has also seen many changes and is now a modern, largely glass affair, replacing at least one interim design from the original arched and open box office original.
The auditorium however is a charming example of Edwardian design with rich plasterwork on both walls and ceiling, and a rectangular proscenium arch. On the side splay walls are ornamental grilles.
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