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Development

Each theatre is treated separately. Some theatres had relatively short lives and are now closed. Several of the theatres had at least one change of name. The list below gives the date of opening of each theatre, and indicates any changes of name which have occurred.

1771 –The first theatre in Leeds opened under the management of Tate Wilkinson. It was a great success, until the beginning of the nineteenth century when the popularity of the theatre declined. The Theatre became the Theatre Royal in 1848. In 1867 John Coleman demolished it and built the New Theatre Royal.

1792 – Albion Street Music Hall opened, and was a popular venue for all kinds of entertainment until it was superseded by the Town Hall in 1858.

1848- William Schuking Thorne opened his new Theatre in King Charles's Croft, and called it the Princess's Theatre. Joseph Hobson bought the Princess's Theatre from Thorne, and called it the Princess's Palace. The theatre was re-named the Tivoli in 1898, and later the Hippodrome.

1848- Joseph Hobson opened the Casino next door to the Princess. The Casino became a theatre,called the Royal Alhambra, and later the Royal Amphitheatre.

1865- Charles Thornton opened 'Thornton's New Music Hall and Fashionable Lounge', which later became the City Varieties.

1875 –The Theatre Royal in Hunslet Lane, formerly The Theatre, burned down.

1876 –The Royal Amphitheatre burned down, and was replaced by the Theatre Royal (not to be confused with the Theatre Royal in Hunslet Lane).

1878- The Grand Theatre opened on New Briggate.

1885- The Prince and Princess of Wales opened the Colisseum on Cookridge Street.

1897- The Empire Palace opened on Briggate.

1898- The Queen's Theatre was built in Holbeck, hoping to attract audiences from people living south of the river.

1925 – The Civic Playhouse (later the Civic Theatre) opened in the Leeds Mechanics Institute on Cookridge Street.

1964- The start of the campaign to build a new theatre in Leeds began, and in 1970 the Leeds Playhouse was opened.

1989 – Dame Judi Dench laid the foundation stone for the West Yorkshire Playhouse on Quarry Hill. The Playhouse opened on 8th March 1990.
Click images to enlarge
Playbill for the Theatre, 1789
Playbill for the Theatre, 1789
Marie Lloyd at the Princess Palace, 1895
Marie Lloyd at the Princess Palace, 1895
Grovenor McCord and his performing dogs, the Coliseum 1895
Grovenor McCord and his performing dogs, the Coliseum 1895
Empire Theatre, 1960
Empire Theatre, 1960
Scene from Havana, Grand Theatre, 1924
Scene from Havana, Grand Theatre, 1924




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003