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Opened as the Grand Opera House on January 9th, 1893. It was designed by noted theatre architect Frank Matcham and was used for drama, despite its name. It had seating for 1,200 and had a 50 feet deep stage.
It was closed on 30th May 1930 and was remodeled to open on 1st September 1930 as the Grand Theatre Cinema. Films were now shown instead of stage plays.
The change was successful so in July 1935 the theatre was closed for three months for extensive renovations by architects Blackmore & Sykes. The old three-tier theatre was replaced by a 1,507 seat cinema with a large, single balcony, a peach, gold and silver color scheme, a 3Manual/9Ranks Binns, Witton & Haley organ played by Stanley Johnson, and a new stage with elaborate lighting. The proscenium was 35 feet wide, which contained a gold festoon (drop curtain) and large draw curtains. The front of the old theatre was also modernized but much of the original facade could still be identified. The Dorchester Cinema opened on 30th December 1935 with Will Hay in “Boys Will Be Boys”. Now operated by Associated Hull Cinemas Ltd., it was described in one report as “a place of great beauty and comfort”.
The Dorchester Cinema showed first run movies for many years and later was also home to many long run epics such as “South Pacific” and “Ben-Hur”.
It was closed in 1977 because of declining audiences but was re-opened occasionally after that for special screenings including 70mm and concerts. The Dorchester Cinema was closed forever in 1979 and demolished in 1987.
The site is now occupied by a bar and store complex.
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