The Theatres Trust

Playhouse (Wakefield)

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Current state
  • Current use
    Licensed premises (club)
  • Address
    Westgate/Prospect Yard, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England


Built for Sidney Tolfree as a cinema by Albert Winstanley in 1913, it had an orchestra pit, stage and a trap. The following year dressing rooms were added, and it was in use for live entertainment. Auditorium, two-tier of simple design, the balcony slips extending two-thirds down the sides. Curved ceiling with circular ventilation grille. Rounded proscenium, with large deep squared quasi-boxes to ceiling level, with rounded fenestration and ornamental banding. The exterior is easily recognisable today, making a handsome presence on Westgate, with its close neighbour the Opera House. Two-storey stone façe of five bays, the central entrance surmounted by a terra-cotta leaded window and pediment with ornamental stone garland. The outer bays, narrow but similar in design, house exits. The upper storey has three narrow windows either side; two shops with arched entrances are incorporated at street level. The name PICTURE HOUSE appears between the levels. Acquired by Classic, it was run as a full-time cinema before being sold, probably when Cannon acquired ABC. It was then used as a skateboard centre, and later a club. Today only the balcony and original ceiling remain, though these are concealed. The interior is stripped of all other features and the present stage for live acts is situated at the side of the former auditorium.

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  • Other names
    Picture House, Classic
  • Events
    • Owner/Management: Wakefield Picture House Company, Sidney Tolfree, managing director
    • 1913 Design/Construction:
      • Albert Winstanley - Architect
    • 1920 Owner/Management: Claude Shayler, proprietor?
    • 1936 Owner/Management: Alfred Tolfree, managing director
    • 1972 Owner/Management: Classic, owner
  • Listings
    • Grade Not listed
  • Stage type
    • was proscenium flat

Of the period

Auditorium of the Lyric, Dinnington, 1998
Lyric (Dinnington)

Have you seen?

Stage at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, May 2010
Royal Court Liverpool

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