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The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.

 

The Prince of Wales Theatre, Broad Street, Birmingham

Formerly - The Royal Music Hall / Birmingham Music Hall / Prince of Wales Operetta House

Birmingham Index

The Prince Of Wales Theatre, Birmingham From a Programme for 'The Terror' on March 11th 1929

Above - The Prince Of Wales Theatre, Birmingham From a Programme for 'The Terror' on March 11th 1929

Early Programme for Wilson Barrett's Company performing 'Old Love and the New!' at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in September 1880.The Prince of Wales Theatre was built on Broad Street, Birmingham at a cost of £12,000, and opened on the 3rd of September 1856 as the Royal Music Hall with a production of 'The Messiah.'

Right - An early Programme for Wilson Barrett's Company performing 'Old Love and the New!' at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in September 1880.

The Vestibule of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - From a 1929 Programme.When W. H. Swanborough bought the Theatre from its original owner, James Scott, in 1862 he renamed the building the Prince of Wales Operetta House.

Left - The Vestibule of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - From a 1929 Programme.

It was named Prince of Wales Operetta House after the marriage of the then Prince of Wales, Edward the VII. However, the Operetta House part of the name was dropped some years later in 1865 when the name became the simler Prince of Wales Theatre.

The Procenium and Curtain of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in 1901 - Compare this to the 1929 image below - From 'The Playgoer' 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon

Above - The Procenium and Curtain of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in 1901 - Compare this to the 1929 image below - From 'The Playgoer' 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon.

The Proscenium, Stage, and some of the Boxes of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - Compare this to the 1901 image above - From a 1929 Programme.

Above - The Proscenium, Stage, and some of the Boxes of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - Compare this to the 1901 image above - From a 1929 Programme.

The Tea Room of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - From a 1929 Programme.The Saloon of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - From a 1929 Programme.James Rodgers took over the Theatre in 1866 and set about enlarging and enhancing the building, and later on his son too refurbished the building before selling it in 1898.

Right - The Saloon and Tea Room of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - From a 1929 Programme.

The Theatre was then managed by the actor J. F. Graham until 1911 when Philip Rodway, who was the managing director of the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, took over until his death in 1932.

The Auditorium from the Stage of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - From 'The Playgoer' 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon .

Above - The Auditorium from the Stage of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham - From 'The Playgoer' 1901 - Courtesy Iain Wotherspoon.

The Staff of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in a photograph taken outside the Theatre just before setting off on a day trip in the late 1920s - Courtesy Derek Hayes

Above - The Staff of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in a photograph taken outside the Theatre just before setting off on a day trip in the late 1920s - Courtesy Derek Hayes, whose Grandparents worked at the Theatre. Derek writes: 'The lady sitting in the seats second row back on the charabanc closest to the camera is my great-grandmother, Mary-Anne Diggs. My grandmother, Albina Roe (nee Diggs), can be seen in profile two faces behind her mother. I know that Albina was aged 5 and Mary-Anne was aged 44 in 1911 so I guess this picture was taken about 15 years after in about 1926.'

The Staff of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in a photograph taken on stage at the Theatre - Courtesy Derek Hayes

Above - The Staff of the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham in a photograph taken on stage at the Theatre - Courtesy Derek Hayes, whose Grandparents worked at the Theatre. Derek writes: 'I'm told that my great-grandfather, John Diggs, is shown in the picture, I'm not too sure which one he is, but the tallest guy at the back looks very familiar. He was aged 66 in 1911 (artist by trade), so I guess this picture was taken sometime earlier than that, unless he's the old chap at the front.'

Programme for 'Crusoe's Adventures' at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Broad Street, Birmingham for Monday December 24th 1906 - Click for details.Emile Littler became a director of the Theatre in 1935 and put on several Pantomimes there in an attempt to revive the Theatre's fortunes.

Right - Programme for 'Crusoe's Adventures' at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Broad Street, Birmingham for Monday December 24th 1906 - Click for details.

Programme for 'The Terror' at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham on March 11th 1929. The images of the Theatre on this page come from this programme.The Prince of Wales Theatre was a casualty of one of the first air raids over Birmingham when it took a direct hit on the 9th of April 1941, completely destroying the auditorium and interior.

Left - Programme for 'The Terror' at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham on March 11th 1929. The images of the Theatre on this page come from this programme.

The building remained in this state but never reopened and was eventually demolished in 1987 to make way for its replacement, the New Birmingham Symphony Hall which opened in 1991.

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

Ashtray featuring Dorothy Ward at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham

Ashtray featuring Dorothy Ward at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham

Above - An Ashtray with a photo of Dorothy Ward under glass in the centre and embossed lettering around the edge which reads 'DOROTHY WARD, PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE BIRMINGHAM.' - Courtesy John Dutton.

Ashtray featuring Dorothy Ward at the Prince of Wales Theatre, BirminghamOn the back of the Ashtray is writing in ink which appears to read 'feb 23/10. Miss Dorothy Ward,' and further writing which is hard to read 'Beautiful Thomas' perhaps. John Dutton, whose Ashtray is shown here, says "I am curious to know further information. Did Dorothy perform in Babes at the theatre in 1910? And is this a one off ash tray or were others made?"

Right - An Ashtray with a photo of Dorothy Ward under glass in the centre and embossed lettering around the edge which reads 'DOROTHY WARD, PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE BIRMINGHAM.' - Courtesy John Dutton.

A visitor to the site, David Hartshorne, who is a nephew of Dorothy Ward, has sent in some information about the ashtray saying that it does indeed refer to Dorothy Ward's appearance in 'Babes in the Wood' at the Theatre in 1909/10.

Another visitor to the site, Tony Smith, says 'The ash tray was made in Birmingham for the grand opening of the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1909. I found a copy of the ash tray in the archives of a company called Baller and Mantle LTD., when I was helping to clear the building in 2007. I'm not sure but I think Baller and Mantle may have made the ashtrays (the one I have is in very good condition) for the Theatre as mementos for Theatre goers.'

If you have any more information about the ashtray please Contact me.