Queens Theatre

Queens Promenade,
Rhyl, LL18

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Queens Theatre & Ballroom

On the 1st August 1902 on a plot of land adjacent to the Queens Hotel, the Queens Palace Theatre was opened. This was a magnificent four story building which incorporated basement waterways complete with goldolas imitating Venice. A huge glass dome topped the building affording views across to the Irish coastline as well as the Snowdon range and the Isle of Man. This was destroyed by a fire on the 27th November 1907, but was rebuiilt and re-opened in 1911 when it was advertised as the Queens Theatre when showing variety and revues and the Queens Picture Theatre when showing films.

From 1914 to 1918 it was known as the Picturedrome when showing films, which would suggest that John Codman was involved at some stage up to his bankruptcy in 1915. By 1919 the names had changed again to the Futurist Picture House for films and the Grand Theatre for variety. Film shows were three times a day at prices from 5d to 1/3d. There was seating for 1,270 patrons and the proscenium was 18 feet wide.

Rhyl Entertainments Ltd. (Founded 1921 with a capital of £20,000) took control in 1926 and the name reverted to the Queens Theatre for both film and variety. In 1930 a British Talking Pictures sound system was installed – the first in Rhyl – and "Showboat" with Laura La Plante followed by "The Jazz Singer" became the first talking pictures shown in North Wales.

In 1931 architect Sidney Colwyn Foulkes was employed to re-design the interior and when the venue re-opened on the 6th March 1933 it was as a 1,270 seater theatre/cinema with a proscenium of 26 foot wide and a stage 28 feet deep with 8 dressing rooms for the artists and a cafe was provided for the convenience of patrons. Films were now shown during the winter and in the summer variety and revues held sway. The venue now held a licence for shows on Sundays – the first venue in North Wales to hold such. Films were shown continuous from 6pm with daily matinees at 2.30pm and programmes changed twice weekly.

Cinemascope was installed in 1956, but audiences were declining and the venue closed on the 4th April 1960 after the amateur revue "Triple Decker Revue". The venue still stands.

Contributed by Alun Turner
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