Palace Theatre

One of Plymouth's finest surviving Victorian buildings, which could make a viable music or community venue, in an area targeted for regeneration.

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Address
121 - 123 Union Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3NB
Risk Rating
7 (risk rating: 3. star rating: 2. community rating: 2.)
Local Authority
Plymouth City Council
Owner
Manochehr Bahmanzadeh
Architect
Wimperis & Arber
Date of Construction
1898
Listing
Grade II*
Capacity
Estimated at 1,400

Significance

The Palace Theatre is a Victorian building of outstanding architectural quality. It was built for the Livermore Brothers to a design by Wimperis & Arber. Originally called the New Palace Theatre of Varieties, it played host to a multitude of acts. Externally, it is decorated with Art Nouveau tiles depicting scenes of the Spanish Armada. The nautical theme continues inside with plasterwork featuring ships’ lanterns, shields, swords, flags and wreaths. The Palace is not in a central location, but in an area targeted for regeneration. The city is well served with theatres, but the Palace could be viable as a live music venue or community venue including theatre.

Why is this theatre at risk?

The Grade II* listed Plymouth Palace has lain empty since 2006. Significant investment and repair work is required to secure the building fabric and make it wind and weathertight.

Current situation

In 2015, GO! (Great Opportunities) Together acquired the long-term leases on Plymouth Palace and the adjoining hotel property. The organisation, a youth support charity, began the process of restoring and repairing the building, but pulled out of the project in early 2017. There is still substantial community interest in bringing this building back to life, and there have been several, unsuccessful, offers to purchase the building by private investors keen to restore the Palace for live performance. During this period Theatres Trust has been providing advice to interested parties regarding the necessary processes involved in bringing an historic theatre back to life.

Theatres Trust has also been in discussion with Historic England (which features the Palace on its Buildings at Risk register) and the council. Both have expressed a similar desire to see the theatre and adjoining Great Western Hotel restored and reopened. Historic England has confirmed that it would consider funding towards a viability study or similar for the theatre should a suitable group come forward.

The building remains in the ownership of Manochehr Bahmanzadeh, a local businessman who ran the theatre as a nightclub prior to its closure in 2006.

Image: Plymouth Palace, Theatres Trust