Oxford Street, Harrogate,
Telephone: 01423 502 116
Venue Email: [email protected]
Contact: David Bown
Email: [email protected]
Built just before the turn of the century, Harrogate Theatre opened on 11 January 1900 with a charity gala in aid of British soldiers fighting the Boer War in South Africa. This was followed on 13 January 1900 by Mr J Tully’s pantomime, “Dick Whittington”.
Known as The Grand Opera House, the theatre was designed by architect, Frank Tugwell, who also designed the Futurist Theatre in Scarborough and the Savoy Theatre in London. The theatre incorporated many of the latest safety features, a fire-proof curtain which could be lowered between the stage and the auditorium, fire extinguishers and a sprinkler system. The stairs and corridors were constructed of stone, which made them fire proof.
The theatre was lavishly decorated with gilded plasterwork mouldings and boasted hot and cold running water in the dressing rooms and electric lighting. The carved frieze in the foyer was not part of the original décor, sculpted by Frances Darlington, it depicts themes from drama and literature and is thought to have been added shortly before 1911.