Grand Opera House



Grand Opera House

The buildings that comprise the Grand Opera House York were not originally intended to be a theatre. The tall section was built as York’s Corn Exchange in 1868 and was meant to be used as a concert hall from time to time. The auditorium was originally a warehouse opening onto Kings Street. In 1902 after the Corn Exchange failed, the buildings were converted into the Grand Opera House by William Peacock. The theatre opened on January 20th 1902 with Little Red Riding Hood starring Florrie Ford. In 1903 the name became The Grand Opera House and Empire because new regulations banned smoking in serious theatre but allowed it in music hall type theatres and smoking was fashionable at the time. The theatre remained in the hands of William Peacock’s family until 1945. The programmes were very varied; pantomime, music hall, variety, serious theatre, amateur opera, plays, reviews, and silent films. Many famous people appeared here including Florrie Ford, Charlie and Sydney Chaplin, Gracie Fields, Lillie Langtry, George Robey, Cecily Courtneidge and Jimmy Jewel.
The theatre is now run by ATG (Ambassador Theatre Group)and has been designated a Grade II listed building. Capacity: 1,000


Grand Opera House Seating plan