Dominion Theatre

268-269 Tottenham Court Road,
London, W1T 5AQ

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vindanpar on March 18, 2021 at 2:22 pm

There is footage of the Royal premiere of Star! on youtube. As both Julie Andrews and Daniel Massey(at least we don’t see him but we see Noel Coward) are not there it doesn’t seem very exciting. And the Duke and Duchess of Kent? This makes it Royal? A wet firecracker. Like the film.

Lionel on September 9, 2020 at 12:24 pm

A projection booth was built in 1958 at the rear of the stalls for Todd-AO, presumably using Philips DP70 projectors (the only Todd-AO projectors at that time). Yet on some pictures, we can see small rectangles looking like portholes on the wall at the rear of the dress circle, and a picture taken in a projection booth with blue walls showing a pair of Cinemeccanica 35-70mm projectors, tilted down. Also, the small red box to the right of a projector is a remote control for a Dolby CP100 processor. Does somebody know when this new projection booth was built ?

Lionel on September 9, 2020 at 11:52 am

Occasional films after 1981 also included a limited engagement of “Gremlins” in 70mm from August 17 to 26, 1986 (I believe it was 1986). In the early eighties, I saw the “Chinese Acrobatic Show” there, the only time I went to the Dominion. I just added 2 pictures of the theatre front to the photos section, which I took around 1986-1988.

Lizzlie on March 18, 2019 at 11:06 am

Hello! I work at the Dominion and I’m currently researching the history of the theatre as it is our 90th anniversary this year! If anyone has any anecdotes about working at/visiting the Dominion, or old photographs, I would love to see them! Please email .uk if you can help. Thanks! Liz

Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell on February 25, 2019 at 3:41 am

I understand the screen at The Dominion back then at 48ft width was small by comparison to the other West End Cinemas such as The Astoria, Metropole and Empire, let alone The Odeon Marble Arch….

Ian on February 24, 2019 at 3:52 pm

Only part of the upper circle was converted to a large room, the rear portion, with the wall containing portholes from the projection room, steppings, and even the rear row of seats, survives and could in theory be restored to make the Dominion the largest West End Theatre. Whether there is the demand, or whether people would put up with seats at the rear of the balcony (which are a very long way from the stage) is debateable!


Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 24, 2019 at 1:01 pm

The Dominion Theatre was ‘downsized’ in 1958 when the 677-seat balcony(upper circle) was closed off and converted into offices. There was a loss of seats in the rear of the orchestra level when a new projection box was installed to screen Todd-AO and 70mm films. Other side seats with a bad view were also taken out and the seating capacity was reduced to 1,654. “The Sound of Music” became a BIG attraction, both for Londoners and tourists to the city. It also played for many months (sometimes years) in other large UK cities before going on general release. It played London suburban cinemas in 1969, four years after its Roadshow opening at the Dominion Theatre.

vindanpar on February 24, 2019 at 11:57 am

Nice picture of auditorium posted.

Were all these seats available for reserved seat movies? Seems like too many. Did they make a smaller theater within it like they did with the Rivoli and Warner and Loew’s State in NY? If not how did they get 3 years out of SOM and 4 out of SP? Huge audiences going again and again?

vindanpar on September 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm

The above picture seems like the early 70s when the film was re-released yet the artwork is the original.

In New York the re-release used new artwork. So what year was the picture taken?

Jason Mullen
Jason Mullen on September 9, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Arthur has some fascinating info and new photos of this Theatre added recently. Incidentally my mother a drama student at the time worked as an usherette on South Pacific. She saw it more times then she would have liked.

Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell on August 11, 2016 at 5:13 am

it certainly does although I must say as a 10 year old seeing the matinee of the SOM in March 1966 it looked enormous

vindanpar on August 7, 2016 at 8:03 am

46 ft seems pretty small for a screen for a major London roadshow house.

Especially for films like SOM, Cleopatra and Lawrence.

Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell on January 27, 2016 at 10:43 am

couldn’t agree more. Maybe Ken Roe has some photos he could post? It is astonishing there are no photos of these TODD AO screens surviving anywhere? Also I would love to see photos of The Astoria screen and Metropole Victoria screens too from this famous period…

vindanpar on January 27, 2016 at 10:35 am

Interesting that a theater of this enormous size could show South Pacific for 4 years and Sound of Music for 3(maybe longer if 20th Century didn’t want it for Star. It was pulled from NY’s Rivoli despite management’s objections because the studio wanted it for Sand Pebbles.)

I too would love to see interior photos from its roadshow days.

Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell on January 27, 2016 at 9:10 am

Good remembering these golden days I just wish someone had a photo of the screen during the Todd AO days at this landmark cinema

boristhebassman on January 27, 2016 at 8:16 am

My first visit to a west end cinema was to see South Pacific – an experience still very much in my memory nearly 60 years later.

Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell on August 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

regrettably no. The Dominion has reverted back to theatre events. I would have gone like a shot… Has anyone a photo of the Todd AO screen installed at the Dominion from 1958-1974 when roadshows were a staple diet of this venue… would be fascinated to see…

goodshow on August 28, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Query to cultman (Feb 19, 2015) did it ever happen- a 50th screening of The Sound of Music at the Dominion?

DavidZornig on August 27, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Just added an incredible photo of The Court Theatre in 1927, a year or two before being torn down to build the Dominion Theatre. Credit: Stockholm Transport Museum Photo, courtesy of the Who Knows East – Old Photographs Facebook page. Since The Court Theatre has no CT page, and occupied the same site and address as the Dominion Theatre, I posted it here.

Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell on February 19, 2015 at 10:56 am

With the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music Movie this year and The Dominion’s 50th anniversary of the UK premiere next month, wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could stage a Todd AO screening to celebrate this important landmark in the theatre’s history? They are currently in between progammes there….

Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell on February 19, 2015 at 10:50 am

it is interesting to see The Dominion is showing movies again as at February 18th 2015, even if it is just Disney’s Frozen sing a long. I wonder if the original projection box and screen area is being used?

3payne on April 23, 2013 at 9:54 am

My father was manager of this cinema late 1950’s possibly early 1960’s…he met several stars Judy garland etc..

rasLXR on March 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Michael Zoldessy posted in commentary about South Pacific I have added my post onto here. SOUTH PACIFIC AT THE DOMINION 55th Anniversary on 21st April 2013. The film ran 4 years and 22 weeks. The Dominion used one show print and one stand by print, the show print was used throughout the run apart from a few shows when the show print was sent for cleaning on those occasions the stand by was run. The projection team were awarded a special bonus by the distributor at the end of the run for their care and professionalism. I noticed John Carpenter in the documentary side by side saying how the prints of Titanic were falling to bits out of the projectors, if he had been more accurate he should have said that film is not the problem in exhibition but the lack of skilled projection staff is the problem. I ran the last show on the Dominions DP70’s (A Star Is Born with B.Streisand also 70mm print) the booth was removed and the film continued the next day from the new booth with Vic 8s at the rear of the circle. This was the 3rd booth in the Dominion the original at the rear of the upper balcony was closed for South Pacific and onward due to the rake. The original booth is still there. R

Ian on July 4, 2012 at 6:10 am

And for a comparison some interior shots from 1990, before restoration :–