We believe this theatre deserves to operate again and this project is your chance to wonder on what it might have been like when it was first launched in 1888, or when operated as a theatre until the 1970’s or what will it look like when it’s renewed from disrepair?
The Pavilion Theatre of Varieties opened in 1888. It was designed by the architectural firm Bucknall & Jennings on a triangular site. The stage end being at the apex, which originally had a circular tower feature. There were two square towers at the other two corners. The exterior is built in brick, with plenty of stone features.
The auditorium is up stairs at first floor level, leaving the ground floor to house shop units and offices. Inside the auditorium there are two balconies, which have open iron balaustrades, the upper balcony still retains its original bench seating. The main orchestra floor is now leveled for use as a dancefloor.
The building was re-named Empire Theatre in 1892, then became the Palace Theatre of Varieties in 1901. At this time stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Lilly Langtry, Marie Lloyd and Dan Leno appeared on stage. By 1908, films were being screened as part of the variety bill and by 1912 it was known as the Swansea Popular Picture Hall and Peoples Palace. By 1923 it had reverted back to live theatre again and took the name Palace Theatre of Varieties for a second time.
The history of 156 High Street is rich with interesting and significant cultural stories. Did you know it was the first place in Wales to show a silent film? The Palace hosted the first ever cinema show in Swansea in 1896.
I found this older image on this wikipedia and Cinema Treasures website.
The above photo was taken three years ago and found here. Today, it is in a very serious state of neglect.
This your chance to draw on the rich cultural history of The Palace and the amazing potential for its future to create your very own poster.
Email your poster to streetartwalking[at]gmail[dot]com before July 2017 to be part of this temporary artwork. Posters may be pasted up and over, depending on the number of submissions received.
Let your imagination run wild to promote your own theatre production. Inspire people to ponder on what might have happened back in the day or what shows might come to the theatre once it reopens.
- Call Out Opens 05 April 2017
- Posters Due 6 July 2017
- Festival 13-16 July 2017
Find out more about the Palace by visiting these resources:
Swansea’s Palace Theatre ‘on verge of collapse,’ trust says – BBC News
Palace (Swansea) – The Theatres Trust http://www.theatrestrust.org.uk/resources/theatres/show/411-palace-swansea
Palace Theatre 156 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1NE
Wiki (Palace Theatre, Swansea)
The Palace Theatre Paste Up Project is a cornerstone project of From the Station to the Sea, a collaboration between Volcano Theatre and Coastal Housing Group funded through the Arts Council of Wales’s Ideas : People : Places initiative (more here).
Find out more as we go
Follow our Facebook page and Instagram to learn more about The Palace and this project over the next three months before 6 July.