Upcoming Events

Event
Date
Bars and Melody
3 August
Let's Hang On
9 August
Film: The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Cert 15
22 August
Film: Forrest Gump - Cert 12
23 August
Open Tour at 11am
28 August
Film: The Crow - Cert 18
28 August
The Sooty Show 2014
29 August
NT Encore Screening: Skylight
30 August
Cafe Lounge: Everything Stops for Autumnal Tea
31 August
Rhythm of the Dance
2 September
RSC Live on Screen: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
3 September
NT Live: Medea
4 September
Film: Alien - The Directors Cut - Cert 18
5 September
Ray Quinn
6 September
Milkshake! Live
7 September
The Bohemians
10 September
Film: Pulp Fiction - Cert 18
11 September
Film: Withnail and I - Cert 15
12 September
Film: The Shawshank Redemption - Cert 15
13 September
Heritage Open Day - Free Admission
14 September
Danny Oliver's Michael Jackson Eternity
19 September
Puttin on the Ritz
20 September
The Big Band with Five Star Swing
21 September
Open Tour at 11am
25 September
Cafe Lounge: Sing-Along-A-Golden Garter
25 September
Film: Christies Charity Screening - The Wicked Lady - Cert PG
28 September
Adonis presents Hollywood Strip hosted by Ollie Lock - Adults Only
1 October
Film: North West Film Archive Present: WWII - Life on the Home Front in NW England
2 October
The Simon & Garfunkel Story
5 October
Stones in His Pockets
9 October
Jongleurs Comedy on the Road
10 October
David Gest's Soul Legends Live in Concert!
11 October
Film: Billy Liar (Cert PG) plus After Post Film Q&A with Helen Fraser
17 October
Only Fools and Boycie
18 October
Dean Friedman
23 October
Open Tour at 11am
23 October
Halloween Double Bill: 13 Ghosts & The Curse of Frankenstein (Cert 12)
24 October
Musicality
25 October
Stockport Operatic Society - 42nd Street
28 October
to 1 November
Northwest Festival of Remembrance
2 November
5.4.3.2.1 it's....The Manfreds
6 November
The Bay City Rollers Story with Les McKeown
7 November
Paul Carroll's Music Hall Tavern Show
12 November
That'll Be The Day Brand New 2014 Christmas Show
16 November
The Russian State Ballet and Opera House presents: Swan Lake
18 November
The Good Old Days of Music Hall & Variety - A Christmas Celebration
19 November
Open Tour at 11am
20 November
Dancing Queen
20 November
The Mayors Charity Show
21 November
The Fairey Band featuring the Houghton Weavers
23 November
Plaza Christmas Special Film: White Christmas - Cert U
28 November
Film: ELF - Cert PG
28 November
Wellspring - The Spirit of Christmas
29 November
Cafe Lounge: Everything Stops for Festive Tea
30 November
Cinderella
5 December
to 4 January
Magical Mozart by Candlelight
21 January
Gin & Chronic Arthritis - Contains Adult Content
22 January
Jimmy Cricket Great Value for a Tenner Comedy Show
25 January
Barry Norman's Favourite Films
5 February
The Elvis Years
7 February
2015 Chinese New Year Extravaganza
28 February
The Russian State Ballet and Opera House presents Rigoletto
4 March
A Night of Dirty Dancing
25 March
Sex and the Suburbs starring Claire Sweeney - Adults Only
9 April
Dave Spikey - Punchlines - Suitable for 16+
11 April
The Life and Times of Jim Reeves
15 April
The Magic of Motown
16 April
69 Shades of Black starring Gail Porter - Adults Only
17 April
Ken Dodd's Happiness Show
18 April
Josephine Tewson - Still Keeping Up Appearances?
25 April
Basil Brush
10 May
Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft
20 May
Back to Broadway
31 May

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