Manchester Opera House
|Address||3 Quay Street|
|Owner||Ambassador Theatre Group as a CIO|
|Architect||Richardson & Gill with Farquarson|
|Manchester Palace and Opera House Trust|
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 Opera House is one of the main theatres in Manchester, England. The Opera House and its sister theatre the Palace Theatre, Manchester on Oxford Street are operated by the same parent company, Ambassador Theatre Group.
The theatre opened as the New Theatre in 1912, renamed the New Queen’s Theatre in 1915 and as the Opera House in 1920 when it came under the wing of John Hart and his associates of United Theatres Ltd. In 1931 it was bought by, and prospered under, Howard & Wyndham Ltd which had been formed at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow in 1895 by Michael Simons. The group`s managing director A Stewart Cruikshank, headquartered at the group's headquarters in the King's Theatre, Edinburgh was joined on the board by Charles B Cochrane who now became a visiting producer at the Opera House, premiering numerous musicals and revues. The theatre staged the full range of plays, musicals, opera, and pantomime.
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. It was subsequently sold to Ambassador Theatre Group in 2009. In March 2020 the theatre acquired Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) status along with the Palace Theatre.
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. Other productions to receive their world premiere at the Opera House include Bat Out of Hell which premiered in February 2017, & Juliet, which received its world premiere in September 2019, and most recently Back to the Future, premiering in February 2020.
- Listed buildings in Manchester-M3
- Palace Theatre
- Live Nation deal – Ambassador Theatre Group's acquisition of venues previously owned by Live Nation UK
- "•". The Stage. 30 August 1931.
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- "Opera House (Manchester)". The Theatres Trust. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- "Manchester's Palace Theatre and Opera House sold to Ambassador Group". Manchester Evening News. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
- "Palace Theatre and Opera House Trust". Charities Commission. March 2020. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
- Historic England. "The Opera House, Quay Street (1247470)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- Darvill, Josh (3 September 2019). "& Juliet: First look at new pop musical by Max Martin". Stage Chat.
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