Exploring with Bob
For a while a lot of my explores have taken me underground, but I wanted to try something different that I hadn’t seen before. So I figured I’d wave down the tour bus and take the ride over to sunny Doncaster for a quick mooch around the Grand Theatre. @DanUE17 came along for the trip to test out his new mirrorless camera.
If you already know about the history or you’re not in the least bit arsed, best to look away now. It’ll only be short anyway, since it’s a well reported explore. The Doncaster Grand was built in 1899 and was prominent feature of the high street. But, progress happened all around it and the theatre became almost engulfed by the Frenchgate Shopping Centre. According to the theatre’s trust, this had the effect of robbing it from, “any sensible context”. They seem to blame the demise of the theater on that. And it would be a pile of rubble, but for the Friends of Doncaster Grand’s activist group. They stopped the demolition, but have left it to rot away. Which doesn’t sound terribly friendly to me. Sometimes euthanasia is the kindest thing. It was a theatre until 1958 and then a bingo hall from 1961 to 1990.
They had closed the tour access when we arrived and as we would discover the official tour merchandise had long gone too. That might explain why the queue to get in was so short. We had to leave and enter by the fun access, which was worth doing of itself. The locals seemed entirely oblivious too. Well, they were when we arrived because most of them were still in bed and the sun was just rising.
Downstairs was a soggy mess and images from the floor level gave a poor perspective of the galleries.
So we quickly made our way up a level to the circle and gallery...
Everyone had shit colour sense back in the day. I mean, I am colourblind and I know that is fucking horrendous.
On the first level there was a bar, which once upon a time served Brewdog beers.
There was this lovely seating arrangement if all the spaces were taken at the bar.
The first thing to greet you as you walk down the terraces of the first level is the stage...
Here it is from the left...
Here are all the seats!
By now, there was some decent natural light coming in through the few windows that weren't boarded up and we made our way to the top level.
I took some time to reflect on whether I should start a YouTube channel and get cards and stickers printed so people knew I had been there. I don't know if I am l33t enough though.
I decided on this floor, that I would take a photo of the balconies and stage from the right.
But I took one from the left too.
Another shot of the stage, this time with a spot light for the ladder, so he could pretend to be a star. If only for a fleeting moment.
This is exactly how the ladder sees the balconies every day.
Upstairs where they used to do the lighting / change scenery / maybe make people float like ghosts and in more recent years sell the merchandise. Some of the ropes are still there...
But this was all that remained of the merchandise after the tour bus had been through...
And that was the place covered, so we made our way back out the way we had come in.
I enjoyed the explore. Definitely something different for me and still stuff to see, even if the Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre should consider renaming themselves the, "Don't Actually Give a Fuck About The Building Just Wanted To Complain About It Getting Knocked Down Busy Body Group".
Hope you enjoy make take on the place.