Eden Theatre

Newgate Street,
Bishop Auckland, DL14

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Eden Theatre Bishop Auckland

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened in 1865 as the Masonic Music Hall, a melodrama theatre. The original architect is unknown. It underwent alterations by architect W.V. Thompson in 1871, re-opening as a 1,000 seat theatre on 28th August 1871. It was re-named Theatre Royal in 1874.

In 1892, it was leased by Arthur Jefferson (father of comedian Stan Laurel) and he employed noted theatre architect Frank Matcham to make alterations. It re-opened as the Eden Theatre, named after a well known local family, who’s son was to become Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1955-1957, Sir Anthony Eden. The seating capacity was now for 1,550 in stalls, dress circle and balcony. The Theatre Tavern on the corner of the site was incorporated into the building when further alterations were carried out by architect F.H. Liversey in 1901, and it re-opened on 24th December 1902 with a pantomime

The Eden Theatre was the main theatre in Bishop Auckland for many years, but it did have some use as a cinema. It was taken over by the Newcastle based Essoldo group of cinemas in 1947, and they continued to operate the building mainly as a theatre, with some cinema use and for a short while as a bingo club.

The Eden Theatre was closed in 1964, and after a short period of use again as a bingo club until 1969, it then remained empty and unused for five years. It was demolished in 1974 for a road widening scheme. Today there is a plaque on a wall commemorating the site of the theatre.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

terry on December 14, 2008 at 12:54 pm

The large neon EDEN fin sign on the front of house was very distinctive and below it was another neon sign which incorporated two arrows one pointing south (“TO THE HIPP”) the other pointing north (“TO THE KINGS). Brilliant marketing there!

Buffer on November 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

The name Eden Theatre is preserved in the Town Hall, where the Theatre/Cinema is called the Eden in memory of the earlier theatre.

terry on July 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Photo of Newgate Street uploaded. If magnified Stan Laurel’s father’s theatre, the Eden can be seen on the left and the Kings almost directly opposite on the right. Note the length of both buildings, in particular the Kings……

terry on October 11, 2015 at 2:53 pm

I have uploaded a photo of the side elevation which was not seen from Newgate Street; note the large dressing room block. The building was derelict and ready for demolition when this photo was taken.

terry on October 19, 2015 at 6:11 am

I have uploaded a 1950 Pantomime Box Office Card to the photos section.

terry on October 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Another photo of the historic theatre uploaded to the photos section…..

terry on January 9, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Auditorium photo uploaded to the relevant section.

terry on February 2, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Slideshow devoted to the Eden Theatre from ‘The History of Bishop Auckland’ website (adjust to full screen) :–


terry on February 7, 2016 at 10:48 am

Video footage of Stan Laurel’s niece unveiling a statue of the great man at the site of the Eden Theatre:–


terry on February 7, 2016 at 11:01 am

3 photos relating to the theatre site uploaded to the relevant section.

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