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

 

The Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, London

Later - The Plaza Paramount / Apollo West End, Lower Regent Street, Now Regent Street

Introduction - Opening - Programmes

The Plaza Theatre, from an original period postcardThe Plaza in 2005 - M.L.

 

Above - The Plaza Theatre as originally built in 1926, from a period postcard, and The building sporting a Tesco Metro store and small cinema multiplex in 2005 - Photo M.L.

The Opening Night Programme for the Plaza Theatre, 1st of March 1926See Theatreland MapsThe Plaza Theatre on Lower Regent Street, London (later renamed the Plaza Paramount) was built in 1926 and designed by Frank T. Verity for Paramount Pictures as a large and luxurious cinema with stage facilities. The grand foyer was lavishly decorated and Wallet containing the opening night brass ticket shown below - Kindly donated by Kenneth Parton.furnished with genuine Italian antique pieces, and the splendid auditorium, in the Italian Renaissance style with plasterwork by Marc Henri, was capable of seating 1,896 people in some comfort and on three levels, stalls, royal circle, and balcony, and was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 Manual 15 Rank Organ.

Above Left - A wallet containing the opening night brass ticket shown below - Kindly donated by Kenneth Parton.

There was also a cafe, and the films were supported by the Plaza Tiller Girls who complimented each feature with a unique stage performance, and were renowned for their precision.

One of the Brass Tickets issued for the opening performance at the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, on March the 1st 1926 - Kindly donated by Kenneth Parton.The Plaza Theatre officially opened on the 2nd of March 1926 with a showing of the film 'Nell Gwyn' with Dorothy Gish, and several live events on stage. However there was a private performance the evening before and Special Brass tickets were issued for this performance on the 1st of March for all the seats in the auditorium. Several of these Brass Tickets have come to light recently and are displayed here.

Above Right - One of the Brass Tickets issued for the opening night performance at the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, on March the 1st 1926 - Kindly donated by Kenneth Parton.

Brass tickets for the opening of the Plaza Theatre - Courtesy Phill Jeapes A Brass Ticket for the opening of the Plaza Theatre -  Courtesy Steven Matteson

 

Above - Three more brass tickets for the opening of the Plaza Theatre. Two for the Orchestra Stalls Row GG 16 and 17 - Courtesy Phill Jeapes, and one for the Balcony Row S No 28 - Courtesy Steven Matteson who says 'my Grandfather Charles Matteson was a cinematographer, he obtained a brass ticket to attend the opening night of the Plaza Theatre but he could not attend the show as his son (my father) was being born.'

A Brass Tickets for the opening of the Plaza Theatre, this one for Row W No 8 in the Orchestra Stalls - Kindly Donated by John Harvey.

Above - Yet another one of the Brass Tickets for the opening of the Plaza Theatre, this one for Row W No 8 in the Orchestra Stalls - Kindly Donated by John Harvey who found it whilst using a metal detector in Canada, hence the state of it. Maybe we will get the whole set eventually. Amazing where these tickets all ended up.

Entrance to the Apollo West End Multiplex and part of the Tesco Metro store residing in the shell of the old Plaza Theatre - M.L. 2005.In 1967 the Theatre was converted to a twin cinema at great expense by Verity & Beverly but sadly most of the original decor was destroyed in the process leaving behind just a few fragments in the highest parts of the building. The organ was removed at this time and the new auditoriums could seat 820 in the upper cinema and 972 in the lower.

Left - The entrance to the Apollo West End Multiplex and part of the Tesco Metro store residing in the shell of the old Plaza Theatre - ML 2005.

Further conversion in 2004 has seen the Theatre all but destroyed with only the outer walls remaining. Now there is a Tesco store on the ground floor, and a new 5 screen cinema complex above called Apollo West End (Shown Above). The cinemas are all luxuriously fitted out but very small, the largest being only 170 seats.

The Opening Night of the Plaza Theatre, with text from the opening night programme, 1st of March 1926

The original Safety Curtain and Auditorium of the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus

Above - The original Safety Curtain and Auditorium of the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus

The opening night programme for the newly built Plaza Theatre in 1926 - Click to see this programme.The Plaza has been designed in the confident hope that it will prove a real home of entertainment in the heart of London for all who seek relaxation and amusement.

Right - The opening night programme for the newly built Plaza Theatre in 1926 - Click to see this programme.

A Plaque commemorating the opening of the Plaza Theatre, from Universal Pictures, March 1st 1926 - Courtesy Hugh McCullough.After an intensive study of all the modern improvements which make for comfort and enjoyment in a motion picture theatre, we have adopted what we believe to be the most suitable for the Plaza.

If we have been successful it is due to the whole hearted co-operation of the many who have helped in the work. We should, therefore, like to express our thanks here to the architect, MR. FRANK Verity, F.R.I.B.A.; the builder, MAJOR ARTHUR VIGOR ; and to all others who have contributed towards the erection of the Plaza.

Left - A Plaque commemorating the opening of the Plaza Theatre, from Universal Pictures, March 1st 1926 - Courtesy Hugh McCullough of CinePhoto.co.uk.

The Plaza will be the London home of Paramount productions and others of equal merit, where it is hoped to present all that is best and most worthy in motion picture art. The Theatre was conceived and constructed for this purpose by the Famous Players / Lasky Corporation. Adolph Zukor, President.

The original Foyer of the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus

Above - The original Foyer of the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus

A view of the Plaza Theatre taken on the 11th of April 1955 during the run of George Pal's 'Conquest of Space' - Courtesy Allan Hailstone. There will be an entire change of programme every week, commencing each Monday. A continuous performance from 1.30 pm. to 11p.m., presenting four complete shows daily.

The Theatre opens at 5.30p.m. on Sundays with a continuous performance commencing at 6.0 pm. presenting two complete shows.

Feature films presented at the Plaza each week cannot be seen elsewhere for a period of from three to six months with the exception of "THE WANDERER, - Paramount's latest spectacle.

Right - A view of the Plaza Theatre taken on the 11th of April 1955 during the run of George Pal's 'Conquest of Space' - Courtesy Allan Hailstone.

ADMISSION PRICES,
Including Government Tax:

500 Balcony Seats at 2/4
1155 Orchestra Stalls at 3/6
190 Grand Circle at 5/9
84 Royal Circle at 7/6

For the PLAZA THEATRE COMPANY LIMITED
J. C GRAHAM. Chairman and Managing Director
A. KAUFMAN.
A. HIRST.
B. HICKS.

The Above Details are from the opening night programme for the Plaza Theatre, 1st of March 1926 - Click to see the entire programme.

The original Auditorium of the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus

Above - The original Auditorium of the Plaza Theatre, Piccadilly Circus

Some more Plaza Theatre Programmes

Mae West in 'Every Day's A Holiday' at the Plaza Theatre Errol Flynn in 'The Perfect Specimen'  at the Plaza Theatre

Above - Two 1930s programmes for the Plaza Theatre - Mae West in 'Every Day's A Holiday' and Errol Flynn in 'The Perfect Specimen' - Courtesy Hugh McCullough of CinePhoto.co.uk.

Plaza Theatre information - From a 1930s programme for 'The Perfect Specimen' - Courtesy Hugh McCullough of CinePhoto.co.uk.

Above - Plaza Theatre information - From a 1930s programme for 'The Perfect Specimen' - Courtesy Hugh McCullough of CinePhoto.co.uk.

Three Programmes for 1930s features - Click to see programmes in detail. Three Programmes for 1930s features - Click to see programmes in detail. Three Programmes for 1930s features - Click to see programmes in detail.

 

Above - Three Programmes for 1930s features - Click to see programmes in detail.

A Programme for the Royal World Premier of 'Yangtse Incident' at the Plaza Theatre, London, on Monday the 1st of April 1957 - Kindly Donated by Siobhan Craven-Robins. A Programme for the Royal World Premier of 'Yangtse Incident' at the Plaza Theatre, London, on Monday the 1st of April 1957 - Kindly Donated by Siobhan Craven-Robins.

A Programme for the Royal World Premier of 'Yangtse Incident' at the Plaza Theatre, London, on Monday the 1st of April 1957 - Kindly Donated by Siobhan Craven-Robins.

Above - A Programme for the Royal World Premier of 'Yangtse Incident' at the Plaza Theatre, London, on Monday the 1st of April 1957 - Kindly Donated by Siobhan Craven-Robins.

The former Plaza Theatre, now a Tesco Metro store and small cinema multiplex, in a photograph taken in 2005 - Photo M.L.

Above - The former Plaza Theatre, now a Tesco Metro store and small cinema multiplex, in a photograph taken in 2005 - Photo M.L.

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