Tyne and Wear HER(7383): Birtley, Orchard Street, Theatre Royal - Details
Birtley, Orchard Street, Theatre Royal
Religious Ritual and Funerary
Primitive Methodist Chapel
The Theatre Royal or Bolam's, opened in October 1910, was a converted Primitive Methodist Chapel built in 1867. The gallery of the chapel became the circle of the cinema. Its first owner was the Armstrong Brothers, later the Premier Picture Company (Clem, Anthony and John Bolam). In 1911 a fire broke out causing £800 worth of damage. Clem Bolam rented the Co-operative Hall (HER 7382) for six weeks while his cinema was rebuilt. A new entrance was added, along with a larger stage and proscenium and 750 red plush seats. The interior was panelled in plaster mould. In 1920, W.H. Smith, a relative by marriage took over. In 1937 the cinema was refurbished again, with concealed lighting and a beige, orange, green and gold spray-painted interior, new entrance hall and cream, green and black exterior. In 1950 the cinema was taken over by Dawe Brothers and in 1958 it closed. It became a confectionary warehouse in 1965 and was demolished in 1968.
F. Manders, 1995, Cinemas of Gateshead, pp 6-9