Express & Star

Wolverhampton Grand turns 125: Take a look at our weird and wonderful facts about the iconic theatre

Today Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre celebrates 125 years of putting on glittering productions.

WOLVERHAMPTON COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 08/09/2016 Wolverhampton Grand Theatre re-furbishment.

For more than a century the Lichfield Street venue has played host to star-studded shows, from musicals through to comedy gigs and live concerts.

Take a look at our weekly features celebrating the theatre's anniversary here.

Brassed Off at Wolverhampton Grand

To celebrate the milestone, we take a look at some weird and wonderful facts about the theatre...

  • The theatre cost 10,000 to build back in in the 1800’s.

  • Nine years later at the end of World War One, the victorious PM David Lloyd George launched his election campaign to a packed auditorium.

  • When it first opened in the auditorium was segregated by class, with the Dress Circle set aside for members of the gentry.

  • Agatha Christie premiered her play The Verdict at the venue which went on to huge success.

  • The theatre’s debut production was Utopia Limited by the world-renowned D’Oyly Carte Opera company who are still going today, and performed at the theatre as recently as two weeks ago today.

  • In the early 1900’s people waited for hours to grab a place in the ‘sixpenny gallery’, now the Grand Circle, where there was no advance booking and queues reaching around the building.

  • The 1900’s saw a core company of 20 repertory actors and crew grace the stage each week would present a new play to the packed masses.

  • In February 1980, the Grand Theatre closed its doors faced with financial difficulties and a very real prospect of permanent closure.

  • In December 1994, against all odds the Grand celebrated it centenary with a special, one-off performance from the very same D’Oyly Carte Opera Company who appeared there on its opening night.

  • Another major refurbishment in 1998 cemented the Grand’s reputation as one of the country’s leading regional theatres.

  • The theatre has recently played host to the opening of numerous UK tours, most recently being the opening of Nativity! The Musical which has gone on to London where it plays at the Eventim Apollo.

  • Su Pollard, who stars as “Queen Rat” in this year’s production of Dick Whittington, made her pantomime debut at this very theatre back in 1976.

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