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A large live theatre located on the corner of King Street and Union Street, the Grand Theatre and Opera House was designed by London based architects Thomas Taylor & Ernest Simister. The exterior was built in terra-cota & brick. Seating was provided in orchestra stalls, dress circle and gallery levels. The proscenium was 32 feet wide.
It was almost totally rebuilt in 1937 by Gaumont Super Cinemas, headed by the Hyams brothers of London. Only the outer walls survived untouched, with the corner entrance given a modern look – the multi-leveled interior with boxes were transformed into a 1930’s stalls and balcony cinema seating 1,842.
It was taken over fully by Gaumont British Theatres in 1944 and closed as a cinema by the Rank Organisation in 1961. It was briefly re-named Astoria Theatre, and The Beatles appeared here several times. In 1962 it was converted into a a bowling alley and then a nightclub in 1973, with a snooker club operating in the former foyer space. Closed for several years, in 2011 the building was converted into a roller derby centre known as the Thunderdome.
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