13 Castle Hill,
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Architects: A. Ramsell
Previous Names: Opera House Picture Palace & Electric Theatre
Located in the ‘Black Country’ West Midlands town of Dudley, close to the entrance to Dudley Zoo. The Opera House was opened in September 1899. It was designed by architect A. Ramsell. By the early-1900’s films were part of the variety programme. By the summer of 1910 it was being advertised as the Opera House Picture Palace and Electric Theatre, when films were being screen in the afternoons.
Around 1920 it was taken over by Benjamin Kennedy and was again back in use as a live theatre, although in 1930 it was equipped to screen sound films. Ben Kennedy also operated the Plaza Cinema next door, which he demolished and rebuilt in 1936 to the plans of architect Archibald Hurley Robinson (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures).
The Opera House was destroyed by fire in November 1936 (the new Plaza Cinema was saved from destruction).
Ben Kennedy employed architect Archibald Hurley Robinson again, to build the magnificent Art Deco style Hippodrome Theatre on the site of the Opera House. (It has its own page on Cinema Treasures).
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