Grand Theatre

Station Road,
Doncaster, DN6

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Grand Theatre

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Built on the site of an earlier Grand Theatre/Grand Circus Hall, this building opened in 1899 as the New Grand Theatre and Opera House. It prospered as a live theatre, but by 1910 it was screening some films and newsreels as a novelty item on the bill. In the 1914 edition of the Kinematograph Yearbook it is listed as a cinema.

By 1925 it had gone back to ‘live’ theatre use and was on the Number 3 touring circuit. It had a 30feet deep stage, the proscenium was 30feet wide and there were 10 dressings rooms. It is listed in the 1937 Kine Yearbook as playing twice nightly, so this could have still been in ‘live’ theatre use. In January 1947 it was taken over by the Essoldo chain of cinemas, but remained in ‘live’ theatre use.

It was converted into a cinema and opened on 28th July 1958 using 800 seats in the orchestra stalls only, leaving the two balconys unused. A projection box had been erected on the stage which produced a rear projection system. The cinema venture was short lived as it was closed on 19th September 1959. It returned to stage theatre use from 21st September until 21st November 1959.

The building was closed until 3rd September 1961 when it re-opened as a bingo club. For a while it was a Top Rank Bingo Club.

The building was given Grade II Listed status in 1994 and was then theatened with demolition. Bingo club operation closed in 1995 and the building now stands empty awaiting a new use. There is a ‘Friends of the Grand Theatre’ organisation who are fighting for its survival.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ian on May 19, 2007 at 5:57 am

Photographs of the Grand Theatre dating from 1988 can be found here:–

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DavidZornig on February 21, 2009 at 7:49 am

I just caught a repeat of a 2006 episode of the British version of Antiques Roadshow. A woman showcased her vast collection of over 100 autographed pictures, posters and memoribilia from the Grand Theatre during it’s stage days.

She was looking for an insurance value as they intend to display them all within the theatre once it is refurbished. She herself was also in one of the full cast stage photos.
The episode might be accessable via the Antiques Roadshow website.

spitandsawdust on August 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

I can’t believe it’s even still standing a miracle in Doncaster. It’s the only surviving building of Station Road, which was completely knocked down in the 1960s. It was once part of a very impressive station approach road which was removed from the map of Doncaster.

yorksdave on July 8, 2016 at 7:37 am

Still no sign of this theatre re-opening, the advertising boards which obscured the entrance were removed a few years ago, but have now returned, advertising the nearby Frenchgate Shopping Centre, they appear to own it but refuse to engage in talks with anyone about it, and it would seem they are just biding their time until it becomes beyond repair and can be demolished.

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