Grand Opera House, Belfast

Grand Opera House, Belfast (must see)

The Grand Opera House is a historical theatre designed by the most prolific theatre architect of the period, Frank Matcham. It opened on 23 December 1895. According to The Theatres Trust the "magnificent auditorium is probably the best surviving example in the United Kingdom of the oriental style applied to theatre architecture".

It was renamed the Palace of Varieties in 1904, although it reverted to its original name in 1909. Variety programmes dominated in the 1920s and 1930s and the theatre saw performances by famous British performers such as Gracie Fields, Will Fyffe and Harry Lauder. It became a repertory theatre during World War II and at the celebrations to mark the end of the war, Eisenhower, Montgomery and Alanbrooke attended gala performances at the theatre.

The Grand Opera House was used as a cinema between 1949 and 1972, after which it was almost demolished, only to open again in 1980. The theatre was added to the list of national historical buildings in the 1970s and has been restored extensively since.

The building had been damaged by bombs on several occasions usually when the nearby Europa Hotel had been targeted. It was very badly damaged by bomb blasts in 1991 and 1993. The theatre continued to thrive, however, hosting musicals, plays, pantomimes and live music.

In 1995 the running of the theatre was taken over by the Grand Opera House Trust and an extensive renovation was undertaken in 2006. The theatre now also has a restaurant on the third floor called "The Hippodrome", on the ground floor a daytime bistro called "Luciano's" as well as space for corporate meetings and functions.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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Grand Opera House on Map

Sight Name: Grand Opera House
Sight Location: Belfast, Ireland (See walking tours in Belfast)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Belfast, Ireland

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