The Theatres Trust

Futurist Theatre

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Dates of use
    • 1957 - 2014: Theatre/Cinema
  • Current state
  • Current use
    Dark (currently at risk)
  • Address
    Foreshore Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 1NT, England
  • Website


The site has been used for entertainment since 1903 when the Kiralfy's Arcadia Theatre opened. In July 1912 the Palladium Picture House was opened next door, and in 1920 the Arcadia closed and was demolished to make way for the Futurist. At the same time the Palladium was renamed the Arcadia and presented live shows until 1968 when the Futurist, which had presented live shows since 1957 was expanded to include a large stage over much of the second Arcadia site. The exterior is largely clad in unattractive yellow panels, but the original decorative Italianate style faience facade largely survives behind and is visible at high level. It has a large auditorium with a deep circle supported on twelve slender columns – four down each side and four central. There is also a gallery divided into boxes. Plain walls with reeded panels that once contained murals. Plain balcony front, lyre-shaped and returned to decorative plaster pilasters at the proscenium wall for exits either side of stage. The ceiling is divided into two parts separated by a wide arch. Front portion is original with elliptical dome containing three ornamental ventilation grilles. Concealed lighting around rim. The rear ceiling is higher and plain, dating from 1968. Also in 1968 boxes were created either side of the proscenium from which the stage is completely hidden. The proscenium is plain, rectangular and functional. There is a deep wide stage with full tower and counterweight sets. The stage is above the foyer, so there are no traps, and front-of-house space is limited. The theatre was closed on 5 January 2014, and the Council marketed the site including the Futurist and surrounding shops for redevelopment. Current development plans for the site are to create a leisure attraction which will include a roller coaster, botanical garden and aviary. In November 2014 Scarborough Borough Council submitted a Planning Application for demolition of the Futurist which received approval in January 2015. A subsequent appeal against this decision was unsuccessful. However, no demolition works have yet taken place. An application for statutory listing submitted in late 2014 was turned down by English Heritage due to "substantial alteration and loss of character". The interior is still in good condition despite two years' closure.

Hide all images

Streetscape showing the Futurist Theatre, Scarborough, 2012
© Ian Grundy

See all images

Hide further details

  • Events
    • Owner/Management: Catlins (Scarborough) Ltd
    • 1921 Design/Construction:
      • F A Tugwell - Architect
    • 1957 - 2014 Use: Theatre/Cinema
    • 1957 Design/Construction: conversion to theatre; organ pipes removed and two staircases descending to stage constructed as artists' entrance (a la Radio City, New York).
      • Captain Ritson - Architect
    • 1959 Alteration: new wider proscenium.
      • Captain Ritson - Architect
    • 1966 - 1969 Alteration: stage extended; proscenium again remodelled, six large boxes created above rear circle; interior remodelled; exterior clad in yellow panels.
      • Cassidy, Farrington & Dennys - Architect
    • 1980 - 2002 Owner/Management: Apollo Leisure/Clear Channel/SFX, lessee
    • 1980 Owner/Management: Scarborough Borough Council
    • 2002 - 2014 Owner/Management: Barrie Stead, lessee
  • Capacities
    • Original: 2393
    • Later: 1966: 2015 1998: 2155
    • Current: 2155
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Stage type
    • Proscenium rake
  • Dimensions
    • Stage dimensions: Depth: 11.28m Width: 13.18m
    • Proscenium width: 10.87m
    • Height to grid: 13.75m
    • Orchestra pit: Original for 13

Of the period

Exterior of The Playhouse, Alnwick, 1991
Playhouse (Alnwick)

Have you seen?

Actors on stage at the Normansfield Theatre, Richmond, 2007
Normansfield Theatre

Protecting theatres for everyone