Upcoming Events

Event
Date
Peter Pan starring Bobby Davro, Lloyd Warbey and Dani Harmer
17 April
to 18 April
Film: Meet Mr in St Louis - Cert U
19 April
One Night in Vegas - Cancelled
20 April
Open Tour at 11am
23 April
Miss Stockport
24 April
Film: Jack Hulbert Double Bill - Cert U
25 April
Cafe Lounge: Jack Hulbert Tea and Talk
25 April
Cafe Lounge: St Georges Day Dinner
26 April
West End in Concert
27 April
Mike McGear McCartney - Cancelled
1 May
Saturday Night Bee Gees
2 May
Film: Sons of the Desert Family Film Day - Cert U
3 May
Albert Lee and Hogans Heroes - Frettening Behaviour Tour 2014
6 May
Buddy Holly and The Cricketers
8 May
Film: Pal Joey - Cert U
9 May
Joe McElderry - Set Your Soul Alive Tour
10 May
The Christie Variety Show
11 May
Jason Manford - Over 16s only
12 May
RSC Live Screenig Henry IV Part 1
14 May
Talon - The Best of Eagles
15 May
Film: Bridge on the River Kwai - Cert PG
16 May
Theatre Dance Workshop 2014
17 May
That'll Be The Day 2014 Tour
18 May
They've Just Nipped Out For Fags
21 May
NT Encore Screening: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
22 May
Open Tour at 11am
22 May
NT Encore Screening: King Lear
23 May
to 24 May
Organ Concert Coffee Morning
24 May
The Pied Piper
28 May
to 31 May
Bless 'Em All
2 June
Cafe Lounge: D Day Pudding Huzzah!
5 June
Abba Mania
6 June
D DAY Film Special: The Longest Day - Cert PG
8 June
English Youth Ballet present: Coppelia
13 June
to 14 June
Cafe Loune: Everything Stops for Summertime Tea
15 June
RSC Screening: Henry IV Part 2
18 June
Open Tour at 11am
19 June
Film: Bright Eyes - Cert U
20 June
Cafe Lounge: Shirley Temple Tea and Talk
20 June
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised)
23 June
NT Encore Screening: A Small Family Business
27 June
Jimmy Carr - Funny Business - Adults Only
28 June
Film: Yankee Doodle Dandy - Cert U
4 July
The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company Tour 2014
8 July
to 12 July
Gibsons Dance Academy present Move The Dance Show
13 July
Roy Chubby Brown - Adults Only
19 July
On Screen: Andre Rieu's 10th Anniversary 2014 Maastricht Concert
20 July
Film: All Quiet On The Western Front - Cert U
25 July
Open Tour at 11am
31 July
Film: The Railway Man - Cert 15
31 July
to 1 August
Let's Hang On
9 August
Film: The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Cert 15
22 August
Open Tour at 11am
28 August
The Sooty Show 2014
29 August
RSC Live on Screen: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
3 September
The Bohemians
10 September
Film: Withnail and I - Cert 15
12 September
Danny Oliver's Michael Jackson Eternity
19 September
Open Tour at 11am
25 September
Film: Christies Charity Screening - The Wicked Lady - Cert PG
28 September
David Gest's Soul Legends Live Concert!
11 October
Dean Friedman
23 October
Open Tour at 11am
23 October
Halloween Double Bill: 13 Ghosts & The Curse of Frankenstein (Cert 12)
24 October
Stockport Operatic Society - 42nd Street
28 October
to 1 November
Rollermania - Les McKeown and his legendary Bay City Rollers
7 November
Paul Carroll's Music Hall Tavern Show
12 November
The Russian State Ballet and Opera House presents: Swan Lake
18 November
Open Tour at 11am
20 November
Plaza Christmas Special Film: White Christmas - Cert U
28 November
Cinderella
5 December
to 4 January

Plaza News - Click below for latest news


HERITAGE

History

The Plaza first opened its doors to the public on 7th October 1932, with a charity show for Stockport Infirmary. The films shown were “Jailbird”, starring Laurel and Hardy, and “Out of the Blue” with Gene Gerrard and Jessie Matthews. Ticket prices ranged from 7d (3p) to 2/- (10p). Built at this time, The Plaza stood on the cusp between silent movies and the talkies; it looked both backwards and forwards. It also created a luxurious escape for people accustomed to the hard life of a Northern industrial town.

 

The Plaza began a programme of entertainment never seen before in Stockport with a mix of cinema and live performance. Shows included a silent newsreel, accompanied by The Plaza orchestra, featuring the Compton organ played by resident organist, Mr Cecil Chadwick.

 

The history of The Plaza is not without controversy. The Stockport Advertiser rallied against the new theatre, denouncing it as a bad influence on the town’s youth and complaining that it had been constructed by “outside labourers”, at the height of The Depression. Local newspapers initially refused to take The Plaza adverts.

 

As the pace of social change started to accelerate, the heyday of The Super Cinema and Variety Theatre was brief. By the mid 1930’s, cine-variety had ended and The Plaza shows assumed the familiar pattern of one feature film and a supporting “B” movie. By 1939, the success of The Plaza had provoked competition and there were two more Super Cinemas in Stockport’s town centre and two in the suburbs.

 

During the war, the town’s cinemas remained popular with many residents taking the view that The Plaza, being cut into a rock face, was one of the safest places to be during an air raid. The opening brochure had, in fact, boasted that nothing short of an earthquake could disturb the building.

 

The Plaza was refurbished in the 1950’s and continued to prosper in spite of the national decline in audiences. The 1953 Coronation proved a watershed in the acquisition of television sets and this, combined with the growth of other social pursuits, sealed the fate of many cinemas. By the late 1950’s, some Super Cinemas, barely 20 years old, were closing their doors and some were demolished.

However, the Plaza could cater for Cinemascope and 3-D and many stars made personal appearances to promote their films. The Plaza was also a hit with younger audiences and had its own Saturday children’s club, showing cartoons such as Flash Gordon and Zorro. Live entertainment took place on Saturday evenings featuring local musicians and Sunday jazz concerts followed. In 1960, the Plaza staged its first pantomime with the Dallas Boys in “Babes In The Wood”.

 

In 1965 the Plaza was sold to the Mecca Leisure Group for conversion to a Bingo hall. The switch to bingo was fought by Stockport Council but Mecca appealed to the Government and won their case. The Plaza's final show was on 31st December 1966 and featured Jerry Lee Lewis in “Three on a Coach” and Audie Murphy in “The Texican” and William Starr at the organ. Rank Leisure sold the Plaza to Stockport Plaza Trust in March 2000 and, after massive community and volunteer effort, audiences took their seats for the opening show on 7th October 2000.

 

Important Dates

1929 (April)
First Planning application made to Stockport Borough Council for the construction of a Cinema to be called the Regal, Mersey Square, Stockport.

1931
Construction of the Regal Cinema, Altrincham, executed by William Thornley from original designs by Drury and Gomersall for the Snape Cinema Circuit.

1932 (Oct)
Stockport Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre opens in Stockport

1937
Front Circle rake altered to compensate for the steep incline, balcony front raised and stage level raised

1949
Seven day programme introduced (same film for 7 days), a first for Stockport

1953 (Aug)
Large 48ft.x 18ft. projection screen installed

1953
Stockport’s first 3D film presentation screened - “Sangaree”

1954
First ‘Cinemascope’ presentation

1960
First pantomime 'Babes in the Wood' starring The Dallas Boys staged at the Plaza

1965 (July)
The Plaza sold by the Snape Circuit and purchased by the Mecca Group

1966 (Dec)
The Plaza closes as a cinema with the films 'Three on a Couch' starring Jerry Lewis and 'The Texican' with Audie Murphy and William Star at the organ

1967
Modifications to the auditorium to accommodate bingo; removal of roof tiling, loss of external verandah, neon lighting & signage. Flat floor insertion at rear of stalls, and alterations to foyer. Alterations to café area.

1967 (Feb)
The Plaza reopens as Mecca Bingo

1970s
Cafe Lounge converted to a nightclub called 'Samantha's' followed by later conversion to extra bingo seating

1989
Extensive refurbishment by Mecca Bingo with removal of final staging facilities and conversion of stage to extra bingo seating

1997 (Mar)
The Plaza is listed grade II by English Heritage

1998
Cinema closes as a Bingo Hall with a commemorative concert

2000 (Aug)
Venue listing upgraded to II* by English Heritage

2000
The Plaza is purchased by the Stockport Plaza Trust

2004

Queens Award for Voluntary Service awarded to the Plaza

2005
The Plaza trust commences restoration plans

2007
The Heritage Lottery Fund approves a Stage 1 application for funding of £1.9m towards Phase 1 of the restoration of the Plaza

2009 (Feb)
Jimmy Carr officially closes the Plaza with two sell out shows and work begins on Restoration and Refurbishment of the Stockport Plaza

2009 (May)
'Plaza on Tour' commences - a host of events in alternative venues throughout the region during the Plaza's closure

2009 (Dec)
The Plaza reopens following a £3.2 million restoration

2011 (Jan)
10 Years On Show featuring Plaza Volunteers and Youth, Joe Loss Orchestra and local talent staged to celebrate 10 Years on the saving of the Plaza.

2012 (June)

Digital Projector is installed at the Plaza

2012 (Sept)
Electrolier, the central light fitting restored in auditorium

2012 (Oct)
The Plaza celebrates her 80th birthday with a fortnight of open days, events, stage productions and film screenings

2013 (Aug)
Works commence to return the circle back to its original rake therefore restoring the architectural integrity of the building

The Plaza, Mersey Square, Stockport, Cheshire. SK1 1SP
Booking Line: 0161 477 7779 • Admin Line: 0161 480 3818 • Group Booking Line: 0843 208 1495
Email: boxoffice@stockportplaza.co.uk • www.stockportplaza.co.uk