History

The Abbeydale Picture Palace was opened by the Lord Mayor William Farewell Wardley on December 20th 1920, with the silent film The Call of the Road.

Designed by the architects Dixon & Stienlet of North Shields and Newcastle-on-Tyne to work as a theatre as well as a cinema, it has a generous stage with a fly tower, the UK’s only remaining “iron” safety curtain, intact and in situ, with original 1950s period advertisements.

The original classical proscenium was hidden by the existing plain arch when Cinemascope was installed in the 1950s, but otherwise the auditorium remains intact and the building is listed Grade II.

Soon after closing its doors on the 5th July 1975, the building was taken over by Messrs A & F Drake as an office-equipment showroom. They traded until the early 1990s, and after some years of neglect the building was taken over by the Friends of the Abbeydale Picture House as a rehearsal and performance space for amateur theatre groups.

When the Friends of the Abbeydale project came to an end in 2012, the building was bought at auction by Phil Robins. Since July 2015 it has been managed by Hand Of, a Sheffield based arts platform who organise a diverse range of cultural events.