The buildings that comprise the Grand Opera House York were not originally intended to be a theatre. The tall section was built as York’s Corn Exchange in 1868 and was meant to be used as a concert hall from time to time. The auditorium was originally a warehouse opening onto Kings Street. In 1902 after the Corn Exchange failed, the buildings were converted into the Grand Opera House by William Peacock. The theatre opened on January 20th 1902 with Little Red Riding Hood starring Florrie... Read more >>
The buildings that comprise the Grand Opera House York were not originally intended to be a theatre. The tall section was built as York’s Corn Exchange in 1868 and was meant to be used as a concert hall from time to time. The auditorium was originally a warehouse opening onto Kings Street. In 1902 after the Corn Exchange failed, the buildings were converted into the Grand Opera House by William Peacock. The theatre opened on January 20th 1902 with Little Red Riding Hood starring Florrie Ford. In 1903 the name became The Grand Opera House and Empire because new regulations banned smoking in serious theatre but allowed it in music hall type theatres and smoking was fashionable at the time.
The theatre remained in the hands of William Peacock’s family until 1945. The programmes were very varied; pantomime, music hall, variety, serious theatre, amateur opera, plays, reviews, and silent films. Many famous people appeared here including Florrie Ford, Charlie and Sydney Chaplin, Gracie Fields, Lillie Langtry, George Robey, Cecily Courtneidge and Jimmy Jewel.
From 1945 - 1956 FJ Butterworth owned the theatre and during this period such people as Vera Lynn, Laurel and Hardy and Morecome and Wise appeared but gradually audiences declined, probably due to competition from TV which, as Butterworth said, 'paid no crippling entertainment tax'.
In 1958 Shepherd of the Shambles bought it, hence S S Empire. The stage, lower boxes and raked stall floor were removed and replaced by a large flat floor suitable for roller-skating, dancing, bingo and wrestling and so it continued until 1985.
In 1987 the theatre was purchased by India Pru Co. Ltd who spent £4,000,000 restoring it to its former glory. The decor is very similar to how it was in the beginning; the carpet is a rewoven copy of the original with the GOH logo incorporated into it and the light fittings sympathetic to the period style. It was made structurally sound, a new stage was built and a new foyer excavated beneath. The entrance on Clifford Street was made into a Box Office and Cumberland Street became the main entrance. Clifford Street has since been restored as an entrance to the auditorium as well as the Box Office.
Book online: Use the links below
Telephone Booking: 0844 871 3024
Customer Service: 0844 871 7627
Groups Bookings: 0844 871 3044
Access Bookings: 0844 871 7677
Mon - Sat 12pm - 5.30pm
Monday - Saturday: 12.00 - 5.30pm
On days with performances the box office remains open until 15 minutes after the start of the show.
If a performance is taking place on a Sunday or a Bank Holiday we are open 2 hours before the start of the performance.
During the one hour prior to the show start time priority is given to those attending that performance and ticket purchases for other shows may not always be possible.
Audio Described Performances
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Pantomime): Saturday 28 December 2.00pm & 6.30pm
Tickets £16 - £26
Fame: Sat 22 March 2.30pm
Black Coffee Sat 5 April 2.30pm
Tonight’s the Night: Sat 3 May 2.30pm
Annie: Sat 24 May 3.00pm
20th Century Boy: Sat 31 May 2.30pm
Sister Act: Sat 20 September 2.30pm
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Pantomime): Monday 30 December 6.30pm
Tickets £16 - £26
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Pantomime): Tuesday 17 December 1.30pm
There is disabled access to the stalls level auditorium and bar via Kings Street. We also have allocated spaces for wheelchairs chairs on the end of row H and N. These will need to be requested at the time of booking.
A Sennheiser Infra Red Hearing System is available for people with hearing impairments. Please collect a headset from Front of House staff.
Guide, hearing and other working dogs are welcome in all parts of the theatre.
We have a disabled toilet in the stalls, located by the disabled access point.
For details and options of venue hire please contact email@example.com
Dance into the Fairytale
On-stage Workshop (age 7 - 12)
Sunday 29 April 2012
1pm - 2pm
Dance into the enchanted world of forests and fairies and explore the magical story of Princess Aurora in a dance workshop on stage.
English National Ballet's Department of Learning are contactable on 0207 581 1245 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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