Last Updated on 27 March 2022 by Showcall Editorial Team
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
The Wolverhampton Grand Theatre known to locals as The Grand is located in Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton. The theatre opened in 1894 and has a seating capacity of 1200.
The Grand opened on 10 December 1984 and today is Wolverhampton’s last surviving theatre, The Theatre Royal, The Empire Palace and The Hippodrome having closed or in the case of The Hippodrome destroyed by fire.
The theatre was designed by theatre architect Charles J Phipps and its construction work which cost £10,000 saw the theatre finished in less than six months.
The original seating capacity of The Wolverhampton Grand in 1894 was a staggering 2151, with the auditorium segregated by class with the dress circle reserved for the gentry and reserved seating which could be booked in advance in the gallery. The theatre’s auditorium was lit using electricity but the stage was not.
On opening night The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company performed Gilbert and Sullivan’s Utopia Limited. Since that time the theatre has played host to a range of productions starring renowned performers like Sir Henry Irving and a young Charlie Chaplin.
The Grand was originally built as a touring theatre but after the early 1920’s it became a repertory theatre under the direction of Leon Salberg. During the thirties, forties and fifties stars including June Whitfield, Kenneth More, Leonard Rossiter and Gwen Berryman.
In 1944 The Grand staged its Diamond Jubilee production of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s South Pacific which featured a young Sean Connery.
Like many theatres across the UK the following decades saw audiences decline with the invention of television and as a result the Myatt Family (principal stakeholders in The Grand) sold their stake to the local authority for £74,000.
In 1970 the theatre underwent a small renovation, and the theatre turned into a non-profit-making trust with further renovations taking place in 1973. The theatre enjoyed success during the seventies but saw a decline again and was forced to close in 1980.
In 1980, a public meeting of fifty local supporters started a Save The Grand Action Group and working in collaboration with Wolverhampton Borough Council and a grant from the Department of the Environment saw theatre restoration started. Seating in the Upper Circle was redesigned, the Dress Circle foyer expanded and facilities improved so that by the theatre’s re-opening in 1982 it was one of the best equipped in the UK.
On 10 December 1994, the theatre celebrated its 100th Birthday with a gala performance by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company .
BOOK TICKETS FOR SHOWS AT THE WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND
WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND SEATING PLAN
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THE GRAND ONLINE TOUR
Go for an online tour of The Grand with James Collins.