Capitol Theatre, Manchester

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Capitol Theatre
Horniman Theatre[1]
ABC Weekend TV studios in Didsbury Manchester.jpg
Capitol Theatre during its time as the Manchester School of Theatre
Address School Lane, Didsbury
United Kingdom
Opened 1931[1]
Closed 1998

The Capitol Theatre was a cinema in Didsbury, Manchester later used as television studios by ITV contractor ABC from 1956 to 1968.

The building opened as a cinema in 1931, but was badly damaged by fire in April 1932 and was closed for repairs until August 1933. The cinema was equipped for the production of live shows, and was used for occasional pantomimes and amateur theatrical performances. In 1956 it was converted into television studios for ABC Weekend Television.[1] Early episodes of The Avengers and programmes such as Opportunity Knocks were made in the studios. After ABC ceased to exist in 1968 the studios were closed.[2] In 1971 Manchester Polytechnic acquired the building for its School of Theatre. Renamed the Horniman Theatre, it staged performances by students of the college, including early performances by Julie Walters, Bernard Hill, and David Threlfall.[1]

The theatre reverted to its original name in 1987,[1] and the polytechnic was granted university status as "Manchester Metropolitan University" on 15 September 1992 under the provisions of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992.

As part of the university restructuring in 1997, the building was sold to a development company and demolished to make way for blocks of flats.[2] The School of Theatre moved its faculty and performance space to the All Saints campus on Oxford Road, where there is now a new Capitol Theatre, a 140-seat studio space.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d e Rudyard & Wyke (1994), p. 29
  2. ^ a b Graham, Russ J., From the North, Transdiffusion Broadcasting System, retrieved 3 October 2007 
  3. ^ About us, Manchester School of Theatre, retrieved 20 September 2010 


  • Rudyard, Nigel; Wyke, Terry (1994), Manchester Theatres, Bibliography of North West England, ISBN 0-947969-18-7