Kemble Theatre

37 Broad Street,
Hereford, HR4 9AR

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In 1857 the Corn Exchange was built on the site of a previous theatre. It was screening films at the turn of the century. In 1910 the building was extended and refurbished to the plans of architectural firm Groom & Bettington, and it re-opened as the Kemble Theatre in late-January 1911. Films were being screened from 13th February 1911. There then followed a period of variety performance and films as part of the programme. The 1912, the first of a series of annual pantomimes was staged.

In January 1930 it was equipped with a Film Industries sound system and showed its first ‘talkie’ “No, No, Nanette” starring Bernice Claire. In 1932 it was taken over by the Union Cinemas chain, and a Western Electric(WE) sound system was installed. Alterations were carried out which included a new Art Deco style proscenium. Union Cinemas were taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in October 1937.

In July 1952 it was taken over by an independent operator, and on 24th August 1953 it was taken over by the Miles Byrne circuit. The stage was brought back into use for regular stage shows. In 1955 the basement was converted into a roller skating rink. The skating rink closed by 1958, but the Kemble Theatre continued to present films and stage productions.

It was closed on 21st January 1959 following a Christmas pantomime “Jack and the Beanstalk” and a final week of the Hereford Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society.

The Kemble Theatre was demolished in 1963 and an office block named Kemble House was built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

ChrisNoble
ChrisNoble on March 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm

There is a rather sad video clip of the theatre being demolished: http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midlands-news-10071963-kemble-theatre-demolished/MediaEntry/1485.html

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