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This theatre was opened on Bank Holiday Monday, 1909, as a large music hall, designed by architectural firm Horsfall & Sons. It was part of the McNaghten Vaudeville Circuit, and occasionally showed films up to the end of the 1920’s. Gutted by fire in 1935, the Palace Theatre was rebuilt in the Art Deco style and a continuous programme of live variety shows. The rebuild in an Art Deco style by architect Roland Satchwell made conversion to a ‘super cinema’ easy, as it was equipped with a projection box, but never screened films due its success as a theatre with stars such as Gracie Fields, George Formby and Sandy Powell packing the house.
In fact, largely due to World War II, variety continued up to the late-1950’s. The Palace Theatre reopened as the Continental Music Hall in 1959, but this failed and it became a bingo hall in 1963. This continued up to 1997, with the interior of the building remaining miraculously intact.
After over ten years laying unused, in 1989 the building was converted to a Chicago Rock Cafe and later Shout nightclub. The stage was still used for live acts, with the circle and gallery partitioned off. It last use has been as a nightclub named Society, which was closed in late-2010 due to bad behavour of its customers.
However in 2008, plans were proposed to demolish the Palace Theatre to extend the Kingsgate Shopping Centre. These were turned down, but an appeal was launched and the plans for demolition were approved. If and when this happens, it is envisaged that the facade of the theatre will be retained.
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