Sunday, December 3

Palace Theatre, Manchester

The Palace Theatre, Manchester, is one of the main theatres in Manchester, England. It is situated on Oxford Street, on the north-east corner of the intersection with Whitworth Street. The Palace and its sister theatre the Opera House on Quay Street are operated by the same parent company, Ambassador Theatre Group. The original capacity of 3,675 has been reduced to its current 1,955.


The theatre, originally known as the Grand Old Lady of Oxford Street, opened on 18th May 1891, having been designed by the architect Alfred Darbyshire at a cost of £40,500. The Palace Theatre was redecorated and altered in 1896 to the designs of the renowned Theatre Architect Frank Matcham, and he again worked on some improvements to the Theatre in 1899 when he was commissioned to put in a pass door so that the Manager did not have to go outside in the rain and snow to reach backstage, and at the same time he also proposed to carry out some minor alterations and to redecorate the Theatre. The interior of the theatre was renovated under by Bertie Crewe in 1913, the renovation took seven months and the theatre reopened with a reduced seating capacity of 2,600. In September 1940, the theatre took a direct hit from a German bomb during the Manchester Blitz.

In the 1970s, audience numbers declined, as they did in many live venues, and it was threatened with closure. The Arts Council supported it in the 1980s, and after major internal refurbishment and an enlarged stage facility, it was run by a charitable trust, Norwest Holdings.

It is one of the largest and best equipped theatres outside London. It hosts major touring musicals often with major celebrities and performances of opera and ballet along with various other comedy acts and one night concerts.

Address: Oxford Street, Manchester, England

Owner: Ambassador Theatre Group

Designation: Grade II

Capacity: 1,955 (seated)


Opened: 18th May 1891

Renovated: 1913 (interior) by Bertie Crewe

Years active: 1891–present

Architect: Alfred Darbyshire


Information correct as of September 2020