Manchester Opera House
|Address||3 Quay Street
|Owner||Ambassador Theatre Group|
|Architect||Richardson & Gill with Farquarson|
The Opera House in Quay Street, Manchester, England, is a 1,920-seater commercial touring theatre that plays host to touring musicals, ballet, concerts and a Christmas pantomime. It is a Grade II listed building.
The theatre opened as the New Theatre in 1912, renamed the New Queen’s Theatre in 1915 and the Opera House in 1920. It closed in 1979 and for five years was a bingo hall. The Palace Trust acquired it in 1984 and returned it to a theatre. In 1990 it was acquired by Apollo Leisure and staged large-scale musicals.
The theatre has a rectangular plan and is built of stuccoed brick with a slate roof. Its symmetrical fifteen-bay facade is in the Classical style with a five-bay centre with fluted Ionic columns. Above the three central bays is a relief of a horse-drawn chariot within a semi-circular arch. The gable has a moulded cornice on brackets. The entrance canopy is a 20th century addition.
The auditorium has two curved cantilevered balconies with large overhangs each holding 500 seats. Either side of the stage are stacked boxes between pairs of fluted Corinthian columns. The high proscenium arch is decorated with a circular medallion flanked by gryphons. The high ceiling above the auditorium takes the form of a coffered segmental tunnel vault.
The stage is 42 feet deep and 37 feet wide. The orchestra pit holds 80 musicians. The theatre has 1,920 seats. The theatre was redecorated in March 2011 keeping the green and gold colour scheme of the auditorium unchanged.
The Opera House hosted the 1958 European premiere of West Side Story and the British regional premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera with a production that opened in 1993 and ran to 1995, an exceptional run for a regional production. The Opera House was the venue for a stage show, Gorillaz' Demon Days Live.
Manchester Opera House also saw the premiere of Never Forget, the Take That musical. The cast included Tim Driesen, who played the role of Adrian Banks/Mark Owen. The musical has had both of its UK tours premiere at the Manchester Opera House.
The world premiere of Ghost the Musical was held at the theatre from March–May 2011 before it transferred to London's West End. The UK premiere of the Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5 began its UK tour at the theatre on 12 October 2012.
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