Along time ago when I was a young and struggling actor in the singing sixties, I had the pleasure of performing at the Manchester Hyde Theatre. This was one of the biggest stages in the area and was so good to work in. The theatre disappeared to the cinema goers in the 1972, a sad occasion and it finally closed in 1992 due to fraud and money mismanagement. The owner placed the theatre for sale but no one bought and it moved sadly into neglect and decline. One bright spot is that the local people did not want this to happen to this lovely Edwardian theatre. In 2000 the building was given listed building status and a Building Preservation Trust was formed to save it, known as the “Theatre Royal Onwards” it has worked steadily and with dedication to rescue this lovely 1600 seat theatre. Stars old and new have come onboard, giving their support and this year the owners dropped their price; renewing efforts to fund raise to purchase the building.
Built in 1902 the theatre is still virtually untouched, retaining most of its magnificent original features and as such it is very unlikely to be delisted. It also falls under the protection of the Theatres Trust, who are statutory consulters on any changes to any theatre and they would certainly challenge any work that could possible damage the fabric of this lovely building. So hopefully this owner is seeing sense and as he is limited in his options will try and work hand in hand with Trust trying to save it.
This theatre is part of our National heritage and a significant part of my past so here’s hoping to a brighter future for it and one I certainly add my support to.