Nia Centre

Warwick Street,
Manchester, M15 5JJ

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Located in the northeast Manchester inner city district of Hulme. The Hippodrome was built and opened on 6th October 1902 and was adjacent to the 1901 built Grand Junction Theatre. Both theatres were operated by the Broadhead’s Theatres circuit, the Hippodrome being a small variety theatre and the Grand Junction Theatre a large playhouse theatre. Both were designed by architect J.J. Alley. Seating is provided in stalls dress circle and balcony levels, with long wooden benches in the slips at balcony level.

In 1905 the Hippodrome was re-named Grand Junction Theatre presenting drama productions and the adjacent Grand Junction Theatre became the Hulme Hippodrome presenting variety. In April 1929 it converted to cinema use and was re-named Junction Picture Theatre. In 1950 it was taken over by the James Brennan circuit and was refurbished. It reopened on 22nd January 1951 as a drama theatre re-named Playhouse, with “The Happiest Days of Your Life”.

In 1956 it was taken over by the BBC for the production of radio & television shows, the first production being in January 1956 a revue “Call it a Day”. In 1970 the BBC installed a Compton organ which had been removed from the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool. The BBC vacated the building on 25th August 1986.

In 1990 it was taken over by the Nia Group to be used as an Afro-Caribbean cultural centre for drama, music & dance. It was re-named Nia Centre and opened on 22nd April 1991. After many years, they moved out and the building became a Evangelical church for a while. It was vacant & unused in 2017. In 2018 it was puchased be a new owner and became a community centre from July 2018, with some films being screened. On 24th November – 2nd December 2018 the Manchester International Short Film Festival (Kinofilm Festival) will be held in the theatre.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

john Wojowski
john Wojowski on September 5, 2018 at 10:04 am

In early 2018 the building was sold by owners Northern Estates at auction and is now owned by a local Asian business man. The building has been leased to a local community group who have now reopened the building for use community reach for the last two months with various small scale events and workshops etc. In October there will be a series of film screenings as part Black History Month and in late November, Kinofilm, Manchester International Short Film Festival will be running it’s annual film festival from the theatre. For details please contact the writer of this message, as we will do an opening day during the festival for those interested to see in side the building again. John.

john Wojowski
john Wojowski on November 21, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Tickets for all screenings for the November festival are available here…… https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/15th-edition-kinofilm-festival-15531436304

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