Report - - Hulme Playhouse, March 2011 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Hulme Playhouse, March 2011


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28DL Full Member
Solo visit done with permission from Charles Nketia, leader of the restoration and Pastor for Fountain Gate Chapel.

The Visit
Unfortunately Tweek and Ptchaw (my freighthopping friend) weren't able to make this visit but I went anyway, and had a nice free roam. The place is fairly stripped but is far fresher than the Hippodrome, naturally being a 2000 closure and having been very very securely kept, although there was some evidence of squatters upstairs. On the other hand, its architecture is effectively overshadowed by the Hippodrome next door but compare it to other theatres and cinemas and it definitely does hold its own and is in its own right a brilliant explore. Parts of it are modernized indeed, and the paint over the plasterwork is frankly rubbish but it's still a really nice place.

The restoration is coming along brilliantly; it started about 10 weeks ago, the basement which was flooded has been drained, the roof is sealed and parts of it are really looking fresh! And to be fair, I really do like them both but of the two Charles seems the most determined and dedicated to his project. Why? He seems to have more work for the volunteers, and where Charles works 'til late (8pm apparently) Tony doesn't tend to be doing anything whenever I stop by and hasn't for a long time. As a result I've not worked at the Hippodrome for a long while. Since the projects are running simultaneously, I personally hope that maybe Tony will follow Charles' example. Mind you I think work is being made on sealing the Hippodrome roof, about time!

History from Arthur Lloyd
The Hulme Playhouse was constructed next door to the current Hulme Hippodrome and originally opened as the Hippodrome Theatre itself in 1902. The Theatre was designed by J. J. Alley who also designed the Theatre next door and both were connected by an arcade. Alley also designed several other Theatres in Manchester, including the Metropole, the Royal Osborne, the Hulme Hippodrome, and the Queens Park Hippodrome along with the Pavilion Theatre in Liverpool, and several others in the Broadhead Circuit.

The Theatre was smaller than its neighbour but had a similar auditorium with two straight Balconies, but this Theatre has slips running to the proscenium from the upper Balcony. The Theatre originally had a capacity of 1,500.

In 1905 the Theatre was renamed the Grand Junction Theatre whilst the Theatre next door, originally called the Grand Junction Theatre and Floral Hall, was renamed the Hulme Hippodrome. Both Theatres effectively swapping names.

In 1929 the Theatre was converted for Cinema use and renamed the Junction Picture Theatre.

In 1951 the Theatre was renamed again, this time to the Playhouse and was in use as a live Theatre again.

In 1956 the Theatre was renamed again, this time to the BBC Playhouse and used from 1956 to 1987 by the BBC as a Radio and TV studio. The Theatre was also used as a Studio by the Northern Dance Orchestra (NDO).

In 1991 the Theatre was renamed yet again, this time to the Nia Centre, and converted internally for mid size touring productions but the stage depth was made smaller and the site lines were compromised and the venture failed. The Theatre closed in 2000.

The Hulme Playhouse is Grade II Listed and its current capacity is 700 but sadly it stands empty today and is slowly decaying.

You can find more about the plans here.


Get your tampons here ladies, get your tampons here!






Into the basement











Bricked up projection room

Promotional posters

Hope you enjoyed that,

Love TBM x


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