Palace Theatre, Manchester

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Palace Theatre
The Palace Theatre, Oxford Road - geograph.org.uk - 1223578.jpg
Address Oxford Street
Manchester
England
Owner Ambassador Theatre Group
Designation Grade II
Type Theatre
Capacity 1,955 (seated)
Construction
Opened18 May 1891
Renovated1913 (interior) by Bertie Crewe
Years active1891–present
Architect Alfred Darbyshire
Website
Palace Theatre Manchester website at Ambassador Theatre Group

The Palace Theatre, Manchester, is one of the main theatres in Manchester, England. It is situated on Oxford Street, on the north-east corner of the intersection with Whitworth Street. The Palace and its sister theatre the Opera House on Quay Street are operated by the same parent company, Ambassador Theatre Group. The original capacity of 3,675 has been reduced to its current 1,955. [1]

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. With a population of 545,500 (2017) it is the sixth largest city in the United Kingdom. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

Wilmslow Road major road in Manchester, England

Wilmslow Road is a major road in Manchester, England, running from Parrs Wood northwards to Rusholme. There it becomes Oxford Road and the name changes again to Oxford Street when it crosses the River Medlock and reaches the city centre.

Whitworth Street street in Manchester, United Kingdom

Whitworth Street is a street in Manchester, England. It runs between London Road (A6) and Oxford Street (A34). West of Oxford Street it becomes Whitworth Street West which then goes as far as Deansgate (A56). It was opened in 1899 and is lined with many large and grand warehouses. It is named after the engineer Joseph Whitworth whose works once stood along the route. Whitworth Street West runs alongside the viaduct connecting Oxford Road and Deansgate railway stations: beyond Albion Street the Rochdale Canal is on the northern side. On the Albion Street corner is the building once occupied by the Haçienda nightclub at nos. 11-13 while further east on the same side is the Ritz.

Contents

History

The theatre, originally known as the Grand Old Lady of Oxford Street, opened on 18 May 1891, having been designed by the architect Alfred Darbyshire at a cost of £40,500. The interior of the theatre was renovated under by Bertie Crewe in 1913, the renovation took seven months and the theatre reopened with a reduced seating capacity of 2,600. [2]

Alfred Darbyshire was an English architect.

William Robert 'Bertie' Crewe was one of the leading English theatre architects in the boom of 1885 to 1915.

In September 1940 the theatre took a direct hit from a German bomb during the Manchester Blitz. [3]

Manchester Blitz bombing of Manchester (UK), by German Luftwaffe in December 1940

The Manchester Blitz was the heavy bombing of the city of Manchester and its surrounding areas in North West England during the Second World War by the German Luftwaffe. It was one of three major raids on Manchester, an important inland port and industrial city; Trafford Park in neighbouring Stretford was a major centre of war production.

In the 1970s audience numbers declined, as they did in many live venues, and it was threatened with closure. The Arts Council supported it in the 1980s, and after major internal refurbishment and an enlarged stage facility, it was run by a charitable trust, Norwest Holdings.

The Arts Council of Great Britain was a non-departmental public body dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts in Great Britain. It was divided in 1994 to form the Arts Council of England, the Scottish Arts Council, and the Arts Council of Wales. At the same time the National Lottery was established and these three arts councils, plus the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, became distribution bodies.

It is now one of the best equipped and popular theatres outside London. In its repertoire it hosts major touring musicals often with major celebrities and performances of opera and ballet along with various other comedy acts and one night concerts.

Royal Opera House, Manchester

In 2008 the Royal Opera House and Manchester City Council began planning stages a new development known as Royal Opera House, Manchester. The proposal would have seen the Palace Theatre refurbished, to create a theatre capable of staging productions by both the Royal Ballet and Royal Opera. It was intended that the Royal Opera House would take residence of the theatre for an annual 18-week season, staging 16 performances by the Royal Opera, 28 performances by the Royal Ballet and other small-scale productions. [4] [5] A year later The Lowry sent an open letter to the then Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Ben Bradshaw, Arts Council England, Manchester City Council and the ROH, calling for the scheme, in its current form, to be scrapped. [6] In 2010 it was announced that the project was being shelved as part of larger arts-funding cuts. [7] [8]

Manchester City Council Local government body in England

Manchester City Council is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. It is composed of 96 councillors, three for each of the 32 electoral wards of Manchester. The council is controlled by the Labour Party and led by Sir Richard Leese. The opposition is formed by the Liberal Democrats and led by former Manchester Withington MP John Leech. Joanne Roney is the chief executive. Many of the council's staff are based at Manchester Town Hall.

The Royal Ballet ballet company in the United Kingdom

The Royal Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company, based at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, England. The largest of the four major ballet companies in Great Britain, the Royal Ballet was founded in 1931 by Dame Ninette de Valois, it became the resident ballet company of the Royal Opera House in 1946 and was granted a royal charter in 1956, becoming recognised as Britain's flagship ballet company.

Royal Opera House opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.

Productions

The opening presentation, to a capacity audience, was the ballet Cleopatra; however its initial presentations failed to gain popular support and for several years it struggled to make a profit. Only when it broadened its scope to include more popular performers was it a resounding success. During the early part of the 20th century it came into its own, with artists such as Danny Kaye, Gracie Fields, Charles Laughton, Judy Garland, Noël Coward and Laurel and Hardy making appearances.

Ballet form of performance dance

Ballet is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary based on French terminology. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres and cultures. Ballet has been taught in various schools around the world, which have historically incorporated their own cultures and as a result, the art has evolved in a number of distinct ways. See glossary of ballet.

Danny Kaye American actor, singer, dancer, and comedian

Danny Kaye was an American actor, singer, dancer, comedian, musician, and philanthropist. His performances featured physical comedy, idiosyncratic pantomimes, and rapid-fire novelty songs.

Gracie Fields English singer and comedienne

Dame Gracie Fields, was an English actress, singer and comedienne and star of both cinema and music hall. She spent the later part of her life on the isle of Capri, Italy. Fields was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for Services to Entertainment in 1938, and in 1979, seven months before her death, she was invested a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II.

Continuing a long tradition of tour openings in Manchester, the hit Broadway and West End musical The Producers opened at the theatre in February 2007 for a run until May when it continued on tour around the UK. Peter Kay starred as Roger Debris for the Manchester dates.

Other notable shows to have played successful seasons at the Palace Theatre include, amongst others, the regional premiere of Les Misérables which ran for 13 months from 1992–93, regional premiere of Miss Saigon in 2001, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 2006 and Mamma Mia! over the 2006/07 Christmas season. Broadway musical The Wedding Singer had its UK premiere at the theatre in 2008 and in December 2008 to March 2009 the theatre hosted a season of the UK tour of Mary Poppins , one of only six theatres in the country to accommodate the tour, both events further cementing the theatre's reputation as the flagship venue of the North of England. In July 2009, during the Manchester International Festival, the theatre, in association with Opera North, staged the world première of Rufus Wainwright's opera Prima Donna .

In summer of 2019, The Book of Mormon UK Tour opened at the Palace Theatre, marking the first time the show had been performed in the UK outside of London's West End. [9] The show opened on the 6th of June 2019, and is set to run until the 24th of August.

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. "Palace Theatre Manchester: Venue Hire". atgtickets.com. Ambassador Theatre Group . Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  2. "Palace Theatre Manchester: Overview". atgtickets.com. Ambassador Theatre Group . Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  3. "Manchester Blitz". iwm.org.uk. Imperial War Museum. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  4. Higgins, Charlotte (28 October 2008). "Disharmony over Royal Opera's plan to go north". The Guardian . Guardian Media Group.
  5. Staff writer (31 October 2008). "Northern opera proposal evaluated". BBC News . BBC.
  6. Brown, Mark (25 June 2009). "Threat to plan for Royal Opera House in the north". The Guardian . Guardian Media Group.
  7. Staff writer (3 November 2010). "ROH shelves its plans to move north". The Stage . The Stage Media Company Ltd. Alternative link.
  8. Sharp, Rob (27 October 2010). "Royal Opera House shelves move north". The Independent . Independent Print Ltd.
  9. "The Book Of Mormon UK Tour".

Coordinates: 53°28′30″N2°14′27″W / 53.47500°N 2.24083°W / 53.47500; -2.24083