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Theatres in Accrington, Lancashire

The Prince's Theatre - More Accrington Theatres Coming Soon

The Prince's Theatre, 5 Edgar Street, Accrington

Later - The Prince's Picture Theatre

A Google StreetView Image showing the site of the former Prince's Theatre, Accrington, and next door what remains of the former Empire Cinema - Click to Interact.

Above - A Google StreetView Image showing the site of the former Prince's Theatre, Accrington, and next door what remains of the former Empire Cinema - Click to Interact.

An Advertisement for the opening of the New Prince's Theatre, Accrington - From the Burnley Express, 4th of March 1882.The Prince's Theatre was situated at 5 Edgar Street, Accrington, and opened on Monday the 6th of March 1882 with a production of the drama 'Rip Van Winkle'. The Theatre was built for Mr John Ormerod, as proprietor, with Mr John Ormerod as the Lessee and Manager. The Manchester Times of Saturday the 11th of March 1882 states:- 'A new Theatre opened on Monday evening in Accrington – The Prince's. It has been built by Mr John Ormerod. The House was crowded. Mr Ald Haywood read the prologue, and the company sang the National Anthem.'

Right - An Advertisement for the opening of the New Prince's Theatre, Accrington - From the Burnley Express, 4th of March 1882.

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser reported on the 9th November 1882 that on the evening of Tuesday the 7th November 1882 'Mr Charles M Hermann, the manager of the 'Uncle Toms Cabin' company, met with a serious accident. While Mr Hermann was preparing the revolvers behind the scenes two barrels exploded in his face, severely burning his forehead and left eye.'

Right from the beginning Pantomime made an annual Christmas appearance and at Christmas 1883 'Aladdin' was presented by Jas. Buchanan with Miss Clara Nicholls as Princess Badroubadour.

In 1885 the Theatre evidently closed for reconstruction and material enlargement, re-opening on Monday the 7th of September 1885. The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, dated Tuesday 8th September 1885, reports:- 'A considerable amount of money has been spent on the building, which will now hold 2500 people. It is beautifully furnished and fitted up with all modern improvements. Mr Watson who designed the Grand Theatre Leeds is the architect. In his opening address, Mr Speakman chief of Mr Wilson Barrett's Silver King company said the Theatre was one of the most comfortable in Lancashire.'

The Theatre presented Plays and Melodrama, and also had visits of Opera. Early productions included:-

Christmas 1899 the pantomime 'Little Red Riding Hood' was presented featuring Miss Rose St George as Roland, Miss Jenna Venor as Fairy Goldheart, and Miss Amanda Aubrey as Red Riding Hood, plus The Six Royal Welchman, and the Rhondda Valley Glee Singers. The Pantomime ending featured the Grand Transformation scene into the Harlequinade; 'Falke', a comic opera, week commencing 28th January 1901; 'What a Woman Did', week commencing 15th August 1904; 'Dare-Devil Dorothy', week commencing 30th September 1907; 'The Sinned', week commencing 18th October 1909; 'Alone in London' by Harriet Jay, week commencing 28th February 1910.

The Theatre was redecorated in August 1909 and had now changed it's productions policy to staging Variety acts, with early silent films as part of the programme.

By 1920 the Theatre had gone over to being a full time cinema, renamed 'The Prince's Picture Theatre,' but later reverted back to live theatrical presentations, and also reverting back to the name 'The Prince's Theatre.' Revues were popular at this time, and J. Gordon Flemming presented 'When the Clock Stops', advertised as a 'timely' revue during the week commencing 30th August 1926. The cast included Cameron Hall, Doris Davies, Oscar Williams, Coral Dark, Cecile Barnes and the Victor Clockwork girls.

The Theatre was later operated by the Star Cinemas Chain of Leeds but was eventually destroyed by fire in 1964. It had been situated adjacent to the Empire Picture Palace which at the time was operating as a Bingo Hall. After Bingo the Empire reopened again as a cinema now calling itself the New Prince's Cinema, so the Prince's name lived on.

A Google StreetView Image showing what remains of the former Empire Cinema, Accrington, and beyond it the site of the former Prince's Theatre - Click to Interact.The fire which destroyed the old Prince's Theatre meant that it was subsequently demolished. When flattened the site became a car park to the adjacent Empire / New Prince's Cinema. Eventually this cinema also closed for the last time and was converted to a plumber's Merchants. By 1998 the Empire building was converted for housing with office space on the ground floor but the Theatre's facade still exists to this day.

Right - A Google StreetView Image showing what remains of the former Empire Cinema, Accrington, and beyond it the site of the former Prince's Theatre - Click to Interact.

The above article on the Prince's Theatre, Accrington was researched and written for this site by David Garratt in September 2019.

If you have any more information or Images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

Arthur Lloyd is known to have performed in Accrington in December 1871.

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