Grand Theatre, Leeds
|Address||46 New Briggate
Leeds, LS1 6NZ
|Owner||Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Ltd
Registered charity 500408
|Designation||listed building Grade II*|
Home of Opera North
The Grand Theatre (also known as Leeds Grand Theatre and Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House) is a theatre and Opera house in the centre of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was designed by James Robinson Watson, chief assistant in the office of Leeds-based architect George Corson, and opened on 18 November 1878. The exterior is in a mixture of Romanesque and Scottish baronial styles, while the interior has such Gothic motifs as fan-vaulting and clustered columns. The theatre is a Grade II* listed building. It seats approximately 1,500 people.
The theatre closed at the end of May 2005 for a major refurbishment, entitled transformation, and reopened on 7 October 2006 with a production of Verdi's Rigoletto. The Stalls area was completely re-seated and re-raked, the orchestra-pit enlarged, air-conditioning installed, backstage technical facilities dramatically improved, and Opera North now has an Opera Centre to the south of the theatre, accessible via a bridge and at street-level. The Centre includes two new stage-sized rehearsal spaces and increased office space. The cost of the refurbishment has been estimated at £31.5 million.
A second phase of transformation included structural improvements and further refurbishment of the theatre, and also the restoration of the Assembly Rooms, a forgotten area on the first floor of the building. The Assembly Rooms opened in 1879 and functioned as the Plaza Cinema between 1912 and 1978 and subsequently as a rehearsal room for Opera North. With restoration now complete, the theatre has a second performance space, the Howard Assembly Room, which is used for recitals, concerts, chamber operas, experimental and educational work, and other events for which the main theatre is unsuitable.
Since the "transformation" at the theatre and after a state of the art flying machine was introduced (helps hang set pieces), the theatre has been able to host big West End Musicals and plays.
- Linstrum, Derek (1978). West Yorkshire Architects and Architecture. Lund Humphries Publishers. ISBN 0-85331-410-1.
- Lennon, Patricia; Joy, David (2006). Grand Memories: The Life and Times of the Grand Theatre and Opera House, Leeds. Ilkley: Great Northern Books. ISBN 1-905080-20-4.
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