The Metropole Theatre, 312 Stanley Road, Bootle, Liverpool
The Metropole Theatre was situated at 312, Stanley Road in Bootle and built for the Pennington Estate Company in 1911.
The Theatre was designed by Havelock Sutton and Sons of Liverpool with a 5 storey facade, 80 foot wide, and an auditorium in the Renaissance Style, decorated in white and crimson, and capable of seating 1,850 people in a surprisingly intimate space for its size, with the circles projecting close to the stage.
The Metropole's stage was 75 foot wide with a proscenium opening of 36 foot wide by 30 foot high, and the depth of the stage was 27 foot.
The Theatre opened on the 20th of February 1911 and was a very grand affair with the Mayor and Mayoress of Bootle in attendance. Stanley Street outside the Theatre was lit up for the occasion by arc lamps, and nearby buildings were decorated with festoons of flags.
The Metropole was an immediate success and after the pantomime a season of Shakespeare plays was produced, and this was then followed by a string of plays and musical comedies, always well received by the local populous.
Right - A Poster for the pantomime 'Cinderella' at the Metropole Theatre, Bootle in February 1920 - Courtesy Tony Craig who says 'If you scroll down, Rae Gladwyn (my aunt) plays Fairy Godmother (she was my mother Jessie Jewel's older sister), Gordon Gay plays Dandini, this was the early stage name of Joe Ring (he was mom's brother), and Fred Ellis and Marie Liston, play Narcissus & Dewdrop the 'Ugly' Sisters... they were mother & father to Rae, Joe (Gordon) and Jessie (my mom), and were of course my grandparents. The Panto also featured my family in their own act The FOUR DENOVAS (it doesn't appear that mom, who would still only be 9 years old at the time, was yet in that act).
In March 1922 the Theatre was taken over by the Bootle Times proprietor, Arthur Smith, and cinema director J. Leslie Greene, who closed it for a month and set about spending several thousand pounds on improvements to the Theatre. These included new Wilton carpeting, mahogany woodwork screens, stalls seating, new stalls entrances, and redecoration of the auditorium. The Theatre reopened on Easter Monday the 17th of April 1922 with a production of London's Gaiety Theatre show 'To-night's the Night'.
The Metropole then went on to stage mostly twice nightly Revue and Vaudeville shows until it was closed in June 1931 for major alterations so that it could be converted for Cine Variety. This included constructing a totally new Upper Circle with tip up seats, which were also put in the gallery to replace the old and uncomfortable wooden benches. The Gallery seating was also reduced by 400 so that a new projection box could be installed. The Theatre reopened on Monday the 3rd of August 1931 with a twice nightly showing of the film 'Lottery Bride' and the stage production 'La Grande Revuette at Cie'. Also included was a Movietone News presentation. This Cine Variety era only lasted until 1934 though, and then the Theatre dropped the film showings and went back to Revues and Variety again.
However, eventually, because of the war, when variety acts were not so easy to come by, the Theatre did revert to Cine Variety for a month or so again in October 1940 but had closed completely by the 23rd of November.
The following year the Theatre had a grand Gala reopening on Monday the 5th of May 1941 with a twice nightly variety show. Sadly this was to be very short lived though as only two days later the Theatre was completely destroyed by bombs on the 7th of May 1941. The rubble was eventually cleared and the site stood empty until it was used for the building of an amusement arcade and restaurant in the early 1980s.
Some of the information on this page was gleaned from Harold Ackroyd's informative and entertaining book 'The Liverpool Stage'.
If you have any more information or images for this Theatre you are willing to share please Contact me.
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