Pavilion Theatre (Glasgow)
|Address||125 Renfield Street|
|Owner||The Glasgow Pavilion Ltd.|
One of Glasgow's oldest theatres, the Pavilion Theatre of Varieties opened on 29 February 1904 as a Music hall. The building has remained relatively unchanged in layout, although the sound and lighting systems have been updated over the years. It is now protected as a category A listed building.
The theatre was designed by Bertie Crewe as one of the three Glasgow venues operating as part of Thomas Barrasford's growing chain of British Music Halls, and was regarded as luxurious for its time. (The other two were Glasgow Hippodrome in New City Road and the Palace in Main Street, Gorbals.) The owners, Glasgow Pavilion Ltd, described its decor as "pure Louis XV", featuring Rococo plasterwork across the proscenium arch and boxes, terrazzo flooring, leadlight glazing and rich mahogany wood finishing. Ventilation was ensured by an electrically operated sliding roof panel above the auditorium. The facade was designed in the French Renaissance style and finished using glazed buff coloured terracotta. The auditorium's capacity of 1449 is made up of 677 stalls, 341 circle, 413 balcony and 18 box seats. A founding director, and soon managing director was Rich Waldon of the city`s Royal Princess`s Theatre.
In 1920 the Pavilion started producing pantomimes. From 1919 to 1957 the theatre and its productions and management were led by Fred Collins and his son Horace Collins and family. Star performers included Dave Willis, Jack Anthony and GH Elliot. Of their many shows, revues and pantomimes some pantomimes have been recorded on film for posterity. Glasgow University and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera have assisted the restoration and remastering of these. The Fred Collins Variety Agency was next door to the theatre in Renfield Street. During World War II Horace Collins was appointed ENSA director for Scotland. The Collins family leased and owned other theatres  including Aberdeen`s Tivoli Theatre, Dundee`s Palace Theatre and Edinburgh`s Theatre Royal, and Liverpool`s Shakespeare Theatre. The last two being leased from Howard & Wyndham Ltd.
The theatre continues to produce pantomime and also functions as a receiving house for plays and alternative comedians. The Pavilion Theatre is now the only privately run theatre in Scotland and one of a few unsubsidised independent theatres left in Britain outside London. The theatre mainly runs populist productions and pantomimes, as well as comedians and touring bands on the 'nostalgia' circuit.
In 2007, the Pavilion Theatre reinvented itself as the Scottish National Theatre of Variety, with a launch including numerous stars of the stage and the announcement was made by Iain Gordon the General Manager.
The Mighty Boosh have performed several times at the venue, including with early shows Arctic Boosh and Autoboosh in a five night stint in 2000, as well as their 2006 stage show. An episode of their radio series was also recorded at the venue. The act performed at the Pavilion once again on 13 and 14 September 2008 with Boosh Live. These dates set a record for the fastest selling act ever at the Pavilion, with tickets selling out in 3 hours for both nights.
The theatre is at the top of Renfield St, at the corner of Renfrew Street and a block away from the Royal Scottish Conservatoire. It is a short walk from Cowcaddens and Buchanan Street Subway stations, and Buchanan bus station.
- Historic Environment Scotland. "121-125 (Odd Nos) Renfield Street and Renfrew Street, The Pavilion Theatre (Category A Listed Building) (LB33103)". Retrieved 20 March 2019.
- "The Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow".
- "Aberdeen Theatres and Halls".
- "The Palace Theatre, Nethergate, Dundee".
- "The Theatre Royal, Broughton Street, Top of Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland".
- "The Shakespeare Theatre, Fraser Street, Liverpool".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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