49 Peter Street,
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Firms: Drury & Gomersall
Previous Names: Royal Cinema
Opened September 29, 1845 and designed by Messrs. Irwin & Chester, the interior was reconstructed by Edward Salomons in 1875. It operated as a live theatre until 1921 when films were introduced, and quickly took over. It was taken over by the J.F. Emery Circuit in 1924 and was the second city cinema to install sound in January 1929. The J.F. Emery Circuit departed from the building in 1930 and it was taken over by the H.D. Moorhouse Circuit.
Major changes were made to the theatre to allow cinema use – the three balconies were removed and replaced by two new balconies and the stage was also moved back and largely incorporated into the auditorium. However the interior was still very rich with a particularly elaborate proscenium arch and the original sumptuous ceiling (with similarities to that of Covent Garden, London) survived.
3D was introduced in 1953 and in 1957, alterations were carried out to the plans of architectural firm Drury & Gomersall. In 1963 the seating capacity was reduced to 1,000 when the Theatre Royal was converted to Manchester’s only Cinerama theatre. A huge screen measuring 65 feet by 28 feet was installed. On 17th December 1965 a simultaneous European Premiere of “Battle of the Bulge” was held here and at the Casino Cinerama Theatre, in London. But, as elsewhere, eventually the lack of new Cinerama films took its toll, and in 1972 it closed and became a bingo hall.
After bingo vacated the building it became a disco named Royale and has recently had a major revamp. As it is a Grade II Listed building, much of the interior survives.
By 2020 the nightclub had closed and the adjacent hotel were using the Theatre Royal for storage.
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