Alhambra Theatre

Riebeeck Street,
Cape Town 8000

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Additional Info

Architects: Percy Rogers Cooke

Styles: Atmospheric, Moorish

Nearby Theaters

Alhambra Theatre

South Africa’s finest Atmospheric style theatre was designed in 1928 by architect P. Rogers Cooke. It opened in 1929 and had a Wurlitzer 2Manual/8Ranks theatre pipe organ installed which was opened by Max Bruce. The organ was moved to the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town in 1931.

The Alhambra Theatre operated as one of Cape Town’s major cinemas for many years and also presented numerous stage shows well into the 1960’s. The Alhambra Theatre was closed in January 1972 and demolished in 1974.

The organ that was originally in the Alhambra Theatre was installed in the Nico Milan/Artscape Theatre, Cape Town in 1998.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

atmos on July 18, 2006 at 5:58 am

Theatre opened on 2 December 1929.Marlene Dietrich appeared on stage her in April 1966.

yurikoorland1 on May 3, 2007 at 2:27 am

i remember the very distinct twinkling starry ceiling!!!

jaapie on June 14, 2007 at 5:32 am

Yes i recall the lovely Alhambra Theatre very well too,with its lovely Twinkling Ceiling as was said by (yuri) also the very plush Curtaining and the lovely works on the walls.
The seating was superb,with the Royal Balcony being the best seats in the House,i always tried to get seats in the Upper Circle which were very good too.
Then thre was the period that they used to have Midnight Shows there as well,and you had to go early to get a seat as the Midnight Shows proved to be so ver popular.
there was also one show i will never forget and that was when Jonny (Cryboy) Ray came there and i was not fortunate to get an inside Ticket,but thankfully they had Speakers on the outsides (the Streets were packed) and eventually Johnny Ray came out on the top Balcony and sang to us in the Street,anyone remember that night?? It was GREAT!!!

yurikoorland1 on June 14, 2007 at 8:35 am

I was too young to be let out after sunset…I only remember the King and I.

atmos on July 2, 2007 at 7:14 am

Theatre was demolished in 1974.

OTCF on November 14, 2007 at 3:21 pm

In 1929, the Alhambra Theatre acquired its name from an earlier cinema across the street situated at 4 Riebeek Street, to suit it’s Moorish architectural theme. The original “Alhambra” in turn acquired the new name “Royal Theatre”.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 25, 2008 at 1:29 pm

A vintage photograph of the Alhambra Theatre in the 1960’s during its stage show presentations period:

fleshfields on August 5, 2009 at 5:59 am

Michael vd Leer mentions the original Alhambra in Riebeeck Street. It was designed in 1911 by the architects MacGillivray & Grant for Wiener & Co. The projected cost was 7,000 pounds but it cost more than that because a sliding roof was added.

WH Grant was to go on to design the chain of cinemas down the Cape Peninsula in the late ‘30s and early '40s including the Scala, Savoy, Bijou, Empire, etc. Also the Protea in Paarl, the Colosseum in Cape Town and the Del Monico Palais de Danse.

There is a picture of the Alhambra Picture Palace design drawing here View link

macca on August 31, 2010 at 1:58 am

As this is also about the Theatre and Del Monico,i wonder if there is anyone who may have a Pic of the Del Monico and was it in Longmarket Street ??
Thanks you in advance

HiltonT on July 15, 2011 at 9:30 am

Macca, Photo here:

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