Apollo Coventry

Hales Street,
Coventry, CV1 1JD

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Apollo Cinemas, Howard & Wyndham Ltd., Stoll Circuit

Architects: Duncan Kaye

Firms: Hattrell & Wortley, W. Stanley Hattrell & Partners

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: New Hippodrome Theatre, Coventry Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Apollo Coventry

The Coventry Hippodrome Theatre, which stood in Hales Street, was the third theatre in the city to have that name. The first was situated close by in Pool Meadow and opened in 1884. The second theatre stood adjacent to the third Hippodrome also in Hales Street, opening in 1906.

Building of the ‘New Hippodrome Theatre’ commenced in December 1936 and was designed in the Art Deco style by the local Coventry architectural firm W. Stanley Hattrell & Partners together with Hattrell & Wortley using their in-house architect, Duncan Kaye. Seating was provided for 1,014 in the stalls, 640 in the dress circle and 462 in the upper circle and 20 in the two boxes located each side of the proscenium. The proscenium was 50 feet wide, the stage 39 feet deep and there were twelve dressing rooms.

It was the idea of impresario Sam H. Newsome to build his New Hippodrome Theatre and it opened on 1st November 1937, the day after the second Hippodrome closed. Harry Roy and His Band were on the opening variety bill. Sam H. Newsome was to become famous for his spectacular Spring Shows, Birthday Shows (in the Autumn seasons) and his Pantomimes, which were also presented at theatres in other cities on following pantomime seasons. The New Hippodrome Theatre soon became known as ‘The Showplace Of The Midlands’ and all the famous music hall, radio and TV stars of the day appeared in his shows, along with regular visits from The D'Oyly Carte Opera, Sadlers Wells Opera, pre-and-post London tours etc. In 1955 the theatre was renamed the Coventry Theatre. By 1958 it was an associated theatre in the Stoll Circuit.

In October 1967, Sam Newsome sold out to the Grade Organisation and in turn it passed into the EMI Company and Bernard Delfont presented many of his shows there. Films were screened at the Coventry Theatre during the summer months from 1969 to 1975 when stage shows were thin on the ground. It was equipped with 70mm projectors and the 70mm version of “Gone with the Wind” was screened for nine weeks from June 1969, which was followed by “Dr Zhivago” presented in 70mm. In 1979 it was taken over by Paul Gregg’s Apollo Theatre Company and subsequently its name changed again to the Apollo Coventry.

Unfortunately, by this time, another famous Hippodrome Theatre, the Birmingham Hippodrome began to attract all the big shows and Coventry seemed to get passed by, except for the many ‘pop’ concerts which Apollo Coventry presented. Apollo eventually gave in and following a ‘sell-out’ concert by Barbara Dickson on 6th June 1985, it became a Granada Bingo Club, later becoming the Gala Bingo Club.

It was compulsory purchased by Coventry City Council in 2000 and demolished in 2002 to make way for Millenium Place.

The Coventry Theatre was not a startling building architecturally outside, it resembled an almost windowless stucco-faced box. There were three Art Deco style relief female figures over the corner entrance. The interior was a simple Art Deco style, with troughs across the ceiling at the proscenium, which contained concealed lighting.

The Coventry Hippodrome Theatre has left its legacy in the memories of stage presentations that were theatrical history, never to be repeated.

Contributed by abcman

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ian on September 22, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Four photos (inside and out) taken in 1995 here:–

View link

View link

View link

View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 28, 2010 at 8:50 am

A vintage photograph of the newly built New Hippodrome Theatre in 1937, with the original Hippodrome Theatre on the right of the picture:
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 31, 2010 at 7:02 am

Photographs, memorabilia and more details on the Hippodrome Theatre:

rivest266 on July 24, 2021 at 5:49 am

Grand opening ad posted.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.