The New Star Theatre of Varieties, 86 Snow Hill, Birmingham
Later - The Queen's Theatre and Opera House / The Metropole Theatre
The New Star Theatre of Varieties was situated on Birmingham's Snow Hill, a block down from Water Street, and opened on the 23rd of November 1885. The Theatre was designed by W. J. Ballard and built at a cost of £15,000 but wasn't successful and closed down later that year.
The Theatre was then reconstructed to the designs of Oliver Essex and reopened as the Queen's Theatre and Opera House on the 26th of December 1886 with a production of 'The Bohemian Girl.'
Under the management of Walter Melville in the early 1900s the Theatre had a change of name again, this time to the Metropole Theatre, with a capacity of nearly 1,600.
Right - A Photograph of Birmingham's Metropole Theatre, formerly the New Star Theatre of Varieties / Queen's Theatre and Opera House.
The Metropole closed down as a live Theatre in 1911 and was reopened as a Cinema operated by Joseph Levy. In January 1929 the Theatre was taken over by ABC who leased it to the Regent Circuit between 1933 and 1935, and it was later run by an independent operator from July 1938. The following year the Theatre was taken over by the Clifton Circuit in August but was bombed during the war in 1941 and remained closed until it was demolished in 1952.
In 1953 an Hotel was built on the site of the former Theatre, ironically this was designed by the Cinema Architects Harry Weedon and Partners. The building later became a YMCA, then a hostel for the homeless, and is today known as 'The Snow Hill' (See StreetView Image below).
There is a website dedicated to Snow Hill here.
If you have any more information
or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share, please Contact
Above - A Google StreetView Image of the site of the Metropole
Theatre, Birmingham today - Click
to Interact. Site details kindly sent in by David Humphries who says:-
'It is a fairly strange location for a theatre as it was in the Birmingham
Gun Quarter and almost half a mile from the city centre. However I
suspect that the demographics of the area would have been quite different
when the theatre was originally built. Having said that it is quite
understandable why after the war it was not rebuilt as a theatre,
as the area would by then have been predominantly manufacturing.'
You may find the following pages from this site of interest: