Moss Empires

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The Empire Theatre, Leicester Square

Moss Empires was a British company formed in Edinburgh from the merger of the theatre companies owned by Sir Edward Moss, Richard Thornton and Sir Oswald Stoll in 1899. This created the largest British chain of variety theatres and music halls. The business was successful, with major variety theatres in almost every city in Great Britain and Ireland, and was advertised as the largest group in the world.

The group grew to over 50 theatres, until Stoll withdrew his to run them as a separate business. After some 30 years the Moss and Stoll companies reunited under Prince Littler. The company ended its promotion of music halls during the 1960s, due to increasing competition from other entertainment media.

The first Royal Command Variety Performance was planned for Sir Edward Moss`s Edinburgh Empire in the Coronation year 1911 but it burned down and instead was held at the London Palace Theatre in 1912, owned then by Sir Alfred Butt, a competitor of Moss, who later joined its alliance; with many subsequent performances being given at the London Palladium. In 1945 Val Parnell became managing director of Moss Empires.

In 1964, Stoll Moss was acquired by Lew Grade; it later became part of his Associated Communications Corporation.[1] ACC was acquired by Robert Holmes à Court in 1982.[2]

The company continues as Really Useful Theatres, formed from the sale of the Stoll Moss theatres by Janet Holmes à Court to RUG Theatres, during January 2000.[3] They continue to manage six theatres, the London Palladium, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the New London, the Adelphi, Her Majesty's and the Cambridge Theatre.

Examples of Theatres[edit]

London[edit]

Provinces[edit]

Former Moss Empire Venues[edit]

References[edit]