UK – Manchester – Capitol Theatre

Dates: 1931 – 1997

Location: Didsbury, Manchester

Initially built as a cinema, the building was converted into TV studios for ABC’s Manchester base in 1956 and used for programmes such as Opportunity Knocks and Police Surgeon until 1967. 

  • 1931 – Opened as The Capitol Theatre
  • 1932 April – Damaged by fire. Closed for repairs until August 1933
  • 1933 August – Reopens as a cinema, with capacity for live theatre performances as well. 
  • 1956 – Converted to TV Studios for ABC
  • 1967 – Studios leased to Yorkshire TV for recording pre-launch programming for the newly merged Associated Rediffusion & ABC, creating Thames Television. 
  • 1970 – Sold to Manchester Polytechnic, as the base for their theatre and television school from 1971. Renamed the Horniman Theatre. 
  • 1987 – Reverts to original name The Capitol Theatre. 
  • 1992 – Polytechnic granted university status and renamed Manchester Metropolitan University. 
  • 1997 – Building sold to development company to be demolished for flats. A new Capitol Theatre is built elsewhere as a 140 seat studio theatre. 
  • 1998-1999 Demolished
  • The site is now a large block of flats called Capitol Court. 

Opening of ABC TV Manchester in 1956 (British Pathe)

Featuring a short sequence of the System CD lighting desk in operation. Mostly silent. 

Second British Pathe film with more synchronised sound

Links to information about equipment at Capitol Theatre, Manchester over the years

  • JTM (Strand)
  • CD / System CD (Strand)
  • Compact (CMS) (Strand)
  • Documents

    ABC Television at Didsbury 
    [External Website]

    Cinema Treasures: Capitol Cinema 
    [External Website]

    Lost Manchester TV Studio haunted by actor who died during live broadcast (September 2022)
    [External Website]




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