268-269 Tottenham Court Road,
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Designed by William and T. R. Milburn at a cost of £459,727, the Dominion Theatre opened on July 21, 1930 with a live show;the musical comedy “Follow Through” starring Elsie Randolph, but it soon became devoted to film fare. The original seating capacity was for 2,835 in stalls, dress circle and balcony(upper circle) levels. In February 1931, Charlie Chaplin appeared ‘in person’ on the first night of the UK Premiere of “City Lights”, and he took a bow and spoke from the stage at the end of his silent film in a ‘talkie era. In September 1931 a variety programme played for a week starring Jeanette Macdonald and in May 1932, Richard Tauber appeared in a revival of “The Land of Smiles”. Later in 1932, the Dominion Theatre was taken over by Gaumont British Theatres and became a full time cinema. A Compton 3Manual/12Rank theatre organ was installed and there was a large cafe located over the main foyer.
Occasional live shows from 1957 included weeks of performances by Sophie Tucker and Judy Garland, which interrupted the films until the following year when 70mm was installed. The balcony(upper circle) seating level was closed off and converted into offices, leaving the cinema with its current 2,172 seats in stalls and dress circle levels. A new projection box was built at the rear of the orchestra stalls and it began a new life as a ‘Roadshow’ cinema with the record breaking run of 4 years 22 weeks which was achieved for "South Pacific". "Cleopatra" followed for another long run and then "Sound of Music" which ran from March 1965 to June 1968.
By 1981, however, it had returned to live shows with just occasional films ("Star Wars" in 1983).
It narrowly escaped demolition around 1990 but was saved, restored, and reopened.
In 1988, the Dominion Theatre was designated a Grade II Listed building status.
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