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Niamos Center (Official)
Architects: J.J. Alley
Previous Names: Hippodrome, Grand Junction Theatre, Junction Picture Theatre, Playhouse, BBC Playhouse Theatre Nia Centre
Located in the northeast Manchester inner city district of Hulme. The Hippodrome was built and opened on 6th October 1902 and was adjacent to the 1901 built Grand Junction Theatre. Both theatres were operated by the Broadhead’s Theatres circuit, the Hippodrome being a small variety theatre and the Grand Junction Theatre a large playhouse theatre. Both were designed by architect J.J. Alley. Seating is provided in stalls dress circle and balcony levels, with long wooden benches in the slips at balcony level.
In 1905 the Hippodrome was re-named Grand Junction Theatre presenting drama productions and the adjacent Grand Junction Theatre became the Hulme Hippodrome presenting variety. In April 1929 it converted to cinema use and was re-named Junction Picture Theatre. In 1950 it was taken over by the James Brennan circuit and was refurbished. It reopened on 22nd January 1951 as a drama theatre re-named Playhouse, with “The Happiest Days of Your Life”.
In 1956 it was taken over by the BBC for the production of radio & television shows, the first production being in January 1956 a revue “Call it a Day”. In 1970 the BBC installed a Compton organ which had been removed from the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool. The BBC vacated the building on 25th August 1986.
In 1990 it was taken over by the Nia Group to be used as an Afro-Caribbean cultural centre for drama, music & dance. It was re-named Nia Centre and opened on 22nd April 1991. After many years, they moved out and the building became a Evangelical church for a while. It was vacant & unused in 2017. In 2018 it was puchased be a new owner and became a community centre from July 2018, with some films being screened. On 24th November - 2nd December 2018 the Manchester International Short Film Festival (Kinofilm Festival) will be held in the theatre.
On 19th December 2019 it staged the first live theatre event to happen in the theatre for 25 years with a production of the alternative pantomime “Snow White’s Priviledge”.
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