Theatre Royal

49 Peter Street,
Manchester, M2 3NQ

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Theatre Royal

Opened September 29, 1845 and designed by Messrs. Irwin & Chester, the interior was reconstructed by Edward Salomons in 1875. It operated as a live theatre until 1921 when films were introduced, and quickly took over. It was taken over by the J.F. Emery Circuit in 1924 and was the second city cinema to install sound in January 1929. The J.F. Emery Circuit departed from the building in 1930 and it was taken over by the H.D. Moorhouse Circuit.

Major changes were made to the theatre to allow cinema use – the three balconies were removed and replaced by two new balconies and the stage was also moved back and largely incorporated into the auditorium. However the interior was still very rich with a particularly elaborate proscenium arch and the original sumptuous ceiling (with similarities to that of Covent Garden, London) survived.

3D was intoduced in 1953 and in 1963 the seating capacity was reduced to 1,000 when the Theatre Royal was converted to Manchester’s only Cinerama theatre. A huge screen measuring 65 feet by 28 feet was installed. On 17th December 1965 a simultaneous European Premiere of “Battle of the Bulge” was held here and at the Casino Cinerama Theatre, in London. But, as elsewhere, eventually the lack of new Cinerama films took its toll, and in 1972 it closed and became a bingo hall.

After bingo vacated the building it became a disco named Royale and has recently had a major revamp. As it is a Grade II Listed building, much of the interior survives.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

djmarkoneuk on January 22, 2008 at 5:01 am

do you have a link to the Manchester local archives website ?

smoothie on January 23, 2008 at 2:43 am

http// Try not to be misled if you get directed to the Manchester city Council Libraries homepage you will find it a dead end.

djmarkoneuk on January 23, 2008 at 4:52 am

yeah I found the images…….amazing…thank you.

delta on January 23, 2008 at 7:30 am

Can you please post the link? Thanks

smoothie on January 23, 2008 at 9:55 am

djmarkoneuk: Are you a Manchester resident? Maybe you could sweet talk the Manchester Evening News into letting us know if they have any archive photos also. I’m eager to get hold of newspaper ads from the 1960’s with the Cinerama logo on.

djmarkoneuk on January 23, 2008 at 9:57 am

I do live in Mancheste yes…but I have tried the M.E.N. in the past for other archive articles….the best way would to contact Manchester Central Libraries Archive department.

smoothie on January 23, 2008 at 10:45 am

Ok thanks. Will do. in the meantime there is an article you may be interested in View link
No pictures,however.

AdoraKiaOra on February 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Great news!
The Library THeatre Company, one of the countries top theatre company’s is to make the Theatre Royal its new home.
The company will move out of its current home at Manchester Library ad have the Theatre Royal brought up to the standards of a modern producing theatre.

Ian on April 12, 2010 at 1:33 am

Two 1988 shots here when the building was in a poor state as the Buckingham Bingo Club:–

AdoraKiaOra on April 12, 2010 at 8:18 am

Amazing how owners can let their grand and glorious buildings go to that sad sorry state in the pics above.
Better days lie ahead for this gem.

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