St Augustines Parade,
Built in the grand Victorian style it was designed by Frank Matcham who was a leading architect of the time, opening its doors to the public on the 16th of December 1912.
The building was erected on the instruction of Oswald Stoll (1866-1942), co-founder of the Stoll Moss theatre group and was considered to be his greatest venture of the time.
Amongst many of its unique features was a water tank constructed in front of the stage which could be filled within a minute by 100,000 gallons of water and thereby provided the means of providing a greater variety of entertainment and allowing for not only stage shows but also for aquatic and circus acts.
The stage was a massive 5,000 square feet and built in two sections, the rear part which was 40 feet by 32 feet could be raised up so that the front section could slide out from underneath to reveal the vast steel water tank. And the tank itself was formed of four sections, all of which could be independently raised or lowered to perform various effects such as tidal waves, rapids, and waterfalls. Added to this were ramps for the horses on either side and a 50 feet wide by 6 feet deep glass screen in the stalls of the Theatre, which could be raised up with the use of a single lever, to protect the orchestra and audience from the spray. To make all this possible the stage was equipped with four large electric motors and seven hydraulic rams.
However this unusual feature no longer exists but another unusual feature although no longer used still survives and that is a retractable roof.
The dome in the roof above the stalls can be opened to reveal the sky above and was frequently opened during intervals.Now days with the advent of air conditioning the air cooled dome is rarely used. It does still function and is believed to be the only operating dome still capable of being used.
In the 1940s the theatre was almost destroyed by fire and after this a major rebuild took place .
It is now a venue for major stage productions and has been host to many premieres .
Seating is on three levels and caters for people with disabilities.
For booking and information telephone - free phone 0800 857 5007