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The People's Palace Theatre, Mile End Road, London

Today - Queen Mary's University's Great Hall

A google StreetView Image of the People's Palace, Mile End in 2017 - Click to Interact.

Above - A google StreetView Image of the People's Palace, Mile End in 2017 - Click to Interact.

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A Programme for the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End Road, on Good Friday, 7th of April 1950 - Courtesy Martin Clark.The People's Palace Theatre is a beautifully refurbished Grade II listed Art Deco building situated on the Mile End Road, London, and now seats 778 (1,000 standing), and the auditorium is today called The Great Hall. It has one of the largest stages in London. The Stalls has a flat floor for multiple uses but can have 366 retractable bleacher seats which can be retracted to accommodate 550 standing and the fixed seat Circle has 412 seats.

The exterior design was by Campbell Jones and Smithers in a modern stripped classical style in Portland stone and red brick and the auditorium was designed by noted cinema architect George Coles. The proscenium width is 14.0m and height 6.7m. It has a fully fitted stage and fly tower. There is an apron stage in situ with steel deck panels which can be removed to reveal the orchestra pit. The Theatre's website has extensive details and exact information for the Theatre including rigging, dressing rooms, and other technical information, but it is of West End standards.

Right - A Programme for the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End Road, on Good Friday, 7th of April 1950 - Courtesy Martin Clark.

The original People's Palace was opened in 1887 by Queen Victoria and was built to provide cultural activities for the people of East London, it had a large concert hall called The Queens Hall. Unfortunately on the 26th of February 1931 The Queens Hall was completely destroyed by a devastating fire but the original People's Palace is still in situ next to the modern Theatre and is today called the Queen's Building. An image of the original People's Palace can be seen below.

The Original People's Palace, Mile End as designed by the architect E. R. Robson F.R.I.B.A. - From the Academy Architecture and Architectural Review of 1889.

Above - The Original People's Palace, Mile End as designed by the architect E. R. Robson F.R.I.B.A. - From the Academy Architecture and Architectural Review of 1889.

The People's Palace Theatre as originally designed - From a Programme for Good Friday, 7th of April 1950 - Courtesy Martin Clark.

Above - The People's Palace Theatre, Mile End as originally designed in 1937 - From a Programme for Good Friday, 7th of April 1950 - Courtesy Martin Clark.

A Programme for the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End Road, for July the 5th 1937 - Courtesy Martin Clark.On the 13th February 1937 the new Peoples Palace opened in it's current location, adjacent to the Queens building. In keeping with the original purpose it was built as a Theatre and Cinema with 1,600 seats and was operated as such for many years.

It was purchased by Queen Mary's University in 1954 and played host to Graduation ceremonies, formal dances and lectures. In the 1950's the University moved the entrance to the eastern side of the building and the original entrance on Mile End road was altered with windows in place of the entrance steps and main doors.

Right - A Programme for the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End Road, for July the 5th 1937 - Courtesy Martin Clark.

In 2012 the University did a complete refurbishment of the auditorium and the original 1930's decoration and colours were recreated. The grade II listed Rutt pipe Organ was restored and the original projection room was restored at the back of the circle.

The Great Hall can be hired for all sorts of events including live concerts. Artists that have graced it's large stage over the years include The Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Fleetwood Mac and Damon Albarn. It's capacity is not as large as the Troxy in East London which has a larger capacity but poor stage facilities, in comparison the People's Palace has much better technical and stage facilities.

A photograph of the Auditorium of the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End - Courtesy Roger Fox.

A photograph of the Auditorium of the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End - Courtesy Roger Fox.

Above - Two photographs of the Auditorium of the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End - Courtesy Roger Fox.

A seating plan for the Theatre can be seen here. Technical specifications can be seen here. The University's website has excellent information and a short video about the People's Palace here. And there are also some very good photos on the events hire website here.

Queen Mary visiting the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End - Courtesy Roger Fox.

Above - Queen Mary visiting the People's Palace Theatre, Mile End - Courtesy Roger Fox.

The above article was kindly written for this site by Martin Clark in February 2021.

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

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