Plaza Theatre

Mersey Square,
Stockport, SK1 1SP

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Plaza Theatre

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Built in 1932, the Plaza Super Cinema first opened its doors to the public on Saturday, October 8th, 1932 with a charity show for Stockport Infirmary. The original seating capacity was 1,878, in stalls and circle levels.

The films shown were Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in “Jailbirds” and Gene Gerrard and Jessie Matthews in “Out of the Blue”.

Early programmes were a mix of cinema and live performance, or ‘prologues’ as they were known. The Plaza Super Cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/11Rank theatre organ which has an illuminated surround on the console. It is still played today. There was a cafe/restaurant located on the circle lounge level.

The Plaza Theatre was closed as a cinema in 1966, and like so many others, became a bingo hall when it was purchased by Mecca Bingo. After 34 years as a Mecca Bingo hall, the Plaza Theatre was reopened as a cinema and theater in October 2000.

In early-2009, it was closed for a full renovation and refurbishment, both externally and internally. Costing 3.2 million Pounds, false ceilings inserted in the 1960’s have been removed, and original plasterwork revealed again. The cafe/restaurant has been restored.

The Plaza Theatre reopened on 11th December 2009 with a cine/variety show, similar to its original 1932 opening show. The main film was “Gold Diggers of 1933”, with Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy in “Towed in a Hole” plus soprano Marilyn Hill-Smith leading a tribute to Gracie Fields with the Plaza Orchestra, and Richard Hills playing the Compton organ. Seating is now provided for 614 in the stalls, 318 in the front circle and 254 in the balcony(rear circle). The decorative details in the cafe/restaurant area has been beautifully restored, after years of being hidden behind false panels.

The Plaza Theatre was upgraded from a Grade II to a Grade II* Listed building in 2000.

Contributed by Steve Lynch

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

RobertR
RobertR on July 6, 2005 at 4:56 am

What a beautiful place, may it last forever !!

MPol
MPol on October 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I agree, RobertR.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 16, 2009 at 6:13 am

Photographs of the Plaza Theatre on its re-opening night 11th December 2009:
View link

Ian
Ian on December 18, 2009 at 1:02 am

Photographs of the restored Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre , taken within a week of reopening in December 2009 can be found here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4194036567/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4194036779/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4194792012/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4194792286/

It really is a stunning building and the LED Holophane lighting is amazing!

abcman
abcman on December 18, 2009 at 7:31 am

Great pics.Thanks Ian for putting them on.

AdoraKiaOra
AdoraKiaOra on December 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Great exciting article from Stockport Express.
View link

Ian
Ian on December 19, 2009 at 4:12 am

The great thing with this theatre is that the people working there LOVE the building and are so proud of it – this really is apparent to visitors.

The work just completed is not the end of the restoration – new projects are still in the pipeline to further enhance the Plaza. This one of just a handful of “super-cinemas” remaining in the UK where you can still enjoy a movie with full 1930’s atmosphere.

Ian
Ian on April 18, 2010 at 1:36 am

To contrast with the above pictures, here are two photos of the Plaza as a Mecca Bingo Hall, taken in 1988:–

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4530010271/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stagedoor/4530643246/

NThomson
NThomson on March 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Following a recent visit to the Plaza, I`ve never seen such a beautiful theatre..

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