Dancehouse Theatre

10 Oxford Road,
Manchester, M1 5QA

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Dancehouse Theatre

The Dancehouse Theatre orignally opened as the Twin Regal Kinemas on 20th September 1930. The cinemas, which had separate entrances and foyers, were on the second floor and shared a single projection room. Neither had a balcony and each seated 800.

Although it’s common place now, these two cinemas often presented the same film albeit at different times. Each had a barrel vaulted ceiling and elaborate Art Deco plasterwork down the side walls depicting folds of cloth.

In 1960, they were bought by the Star Cinemas group and renamed Romulus and Remus which lasted just two years before they became known as Studios 1 & 2.

In 1972 sub-division took place and they became Studios 1-5. Ian Grundy recalls, “I believe that only the former Studio 1 was split leaving Studio 2 intact – but this is unconfirmed.”

Star Cinemas chain was bought by the Cannon Group late in 1985 and, as happened elsewhere in the country, they were quickly closed, the last films being screened September 25, 1986.

They were left shuttered until Manchester gained the European City of Drama in 1992 and the need for more middle scale live theater space identified the closed Studios as ideal for conversion.

So the Dancehouse Theatre was born using one of the auditoria as the theater – and very attractive it is too in its restored state, whilst the other is now rehearsal and studio space for the Northern Ballet School which now shares the premises.

Here, too, the surviving plasterwork has been restored. The former Twin Regal Kinemas are a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 14, 2006 at 8:31 am

Listed in the Kine Yearbook;1934 edition as the Twin Regal Kinemas with a seating capacity given as 1,600. The stage was 6 feet deep, there were 4 dressing rooms and a cafe attached. Maybe only one of the auditoriums had the stage and dressing room facilities?

By the time the 1954 edition of Kine Yearbook was published, all the above details remained the same (including the name Twin Regal Kinemas) but the seating capacity had been slightly reduced to 1,526.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 14, 2006 at 8:39 am

The architects for the Twin Regal Kinemas were Pendleton & Dickenson. Reports state it was equipped with a Mustel organ.

Ian on May 29, 2007 at 3:57 am

A couple more interior photo’s here:–

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TLSLOEWS on May 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Very Nice,Cool Name too!

Ian on August 31, 2011 at 1:24 am

A photo from 1988 showing almost all of the frontage with the Studio name still in place


Mike_Blakemore on September 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I remember being at a meeting with an executive of AMC of America. When He told me that they had the first 2 screen cinema in the World… I had great pleasure in asking him. What was Regal Mancester doing in the early 1930’s… being a twin cinema in the UK.. :o) giving my best smile…

Tinribs on March 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

I waorked at the Twins in the670’s There were 2 projection rooms back to back the projctors were Kalee model 11 with GK “President Arcs” and Westex sound. Acommon fault was that the psssenger lift from the Foyez used to get jammed and one of us used to have to get down in the mechanism and free it up usually when the Cinema was very busy!

                     Ray Batten
Mr_BTH on July 29, 2017 at 11:58 pm

I worked at the Studio’s from 1970 to 1973. The Westar projectors with Westrex 2002 sound heads were installed in 1958 with 3D adaptations and BTH Xenon, later came the Type D Projectormatic. In 1972 Studio was closed and converted in to Studios 2, 3 and 4. Studio 5 was located 2 floors below the projection room in what was the office of North West Entertainments Ltd. A 5th Westar was brought in for Studio 3 and the 4 original projectors were used for the rest. Westrex 5009 amplifiers were used in Studios 2, 3 and 4 the original Westrex 2042 amplifiers being used in Studio’s 1 and 5. The Chief projectionist was Ken Kay and his ghost is thought to still haunt the place.

davidcoppock on March 12, 2018 at 2:08 am

This theatre was the Worlds first multiplex(although there a cinema in Cairo, Egypt(name unknown?) showing 2 different films on two different screens in the same auditorium(unique?)).

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