10 Oxford Road,
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The Dancehouse (Official)
Previously operated by: Star Cinemas
Firms: Pendleton & Dickinson
Functions: Live Theatre
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Twin Regal Kinemas, Regal Twins, Romulus & Remus, Studios 1 & 2
The Dancehouse Theatre was a conversion of an existing building which had been in use as a restaurant, plus second & third floor premises. The Manchester based architectural firm Pendleton & Dickinson had planned initially the second floor was to become a banqueting hall, with shops at street level. The banquet hall plans were discarded and the space on the second floor became the Twin Regal Kinemas which on 20th September 1930. The cinemas which were back to back shared a single projection room. Neither had a balcony and each seated 800.
Although it’s common place now, these two cinemas often presented the same film albeit at different times. Each had a barrel vaulted ceiling and elaborate Art Deco plasterwork down the side walls depicting folds of cloth.
In 1960, they were bought by the Star Cinemas group and renamed Romulus and Remus which lasted just two years before they became known as Studios 1 & 2.
In 1972 sub-division took place and they became Studios 1-5. Ian Grundy recalls, “I believe that only the former Studio 1 was split leaving Studio 2 intact – but this is unconfirmed”.
Star Cinemas chain was bought by the Cannon Group late in 1985 and, as happened elsewhere in the country, they were quickly closed, the last films being screened September 25, 1986.
They were left shuttered until Manchester gained the European City of Drama in 1992 and the need for more middle scale live theatre space identified the closed Studios as ideal for conversion.
So the Dancehouse Theatre was born using one of the auditoria as the theatre – and very attractive it is too in its restored state, whilst the other is now rehearsal and studio space for the Northern Ballet School which now shares the premises.
Here, too, the surviving plasterwork has been restored. The former Twin Regal Kinemas are a Grade II Listed building.
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