Palace Theatre, Plymouth

Flamboyant theatre, one of Plymouth’s finest buildings, continues to decay

The Grade II*-listed Palace Theatre (or the “New Palace Theatre of Varieties” as it was christened) was built by architects John Thomas Wimperis & William Henry Arber in 1898.

The Palace Theatre is one of the most remarkable entertainment buildings of its time.It sums up the flamboyance of the music hall, with display and show both inside and out.The principal façade boasts Spanish soldiers, Flemish gables, Tuscan columns, scenes from the Armada and a small lighthouse, and the interior is every bit as lavish.

The construction of Plymouth’s more central Theatre Royal in the 1970s led to closure as a theatre, and the building’s spell as a club ended in 2006 after a drugs raid.

Often appearing on the The Victorian Society’s endangered list helps to kick local authorities into action to preserve their architectural assets.Although the Palace Theatre was in our Top Ten endangered buildings in 2008, Plymouth City Council has made no progress in finding a solution and the building’s condition has further deteriorated.

Plymouth Council needs to take decisive action, or the city risks losing one of its best buildings.The state of Union Street lets Plymouth down, and the reopening of the Palace Theatre is a necessary precondition for its regeneration.

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