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Opened in 1920 as a theatre, although film was shown shortly afterwards. It closed in 1923, opening again with more films, although live performance continued. In 1930 a sound system was installed to allow 'talkies'. The Sandonia is a long and narrow building, with a pretty faience facade to Sandon Road. A huge central recessed arch forms the main entrance, which was flanked by one small shop either side (now boarded up). Semi-circular glazed central window flanked by oculi, garlands and busts. Flytower with a long lantern on the roof. The three-storey dressing room block is behind the stage, rectangular except for a cut into one side, due to the presence of an adjacent brook which necessitates a permanent pump in the cellar. There are eight dressing rooms. Small foyer with two pairs of double doors lead to the stalls and stairs to upper foyer. Oval shaped upper foyer with glazed lantern and much plasterwork leads to balcony. From the 1960s the Sandonia was used for bingo. In 1991 the lower part of the auditorium was converted to use as a snooker hall. The stalls rake was split into two terraces providing room for thirteen full sized tables and the stage given a false floor over the original rake, providing for four more tables. When viewed in the 1990s, a false ceiling divided the snooker hall from the circle. Before its horizontal division, the auditorium was tunnel-like with pilasters. The long barrel-vaulted roof with parallel ribs could be seen above the false ceiling. Staffordshire knots within wreaths ornamented the circle front, and a large plaster motif consisting of two female figures adorned the proscenium arch. The fly tower was cut off from the stage by two false ceilings, but the safety curtain remained in situ. Following closure as a snooker hall (c.2000), the Sandonia has remained empty and disused and has been placed on the market to let. The decorative landmark facade remains intact, as do some of the front of house spaces, but the auditorium has been stripped of its false ceilings and most of its plasterwork. Only the figures above the proscenium arch remain.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1920 - 1930: As a theatre
  • 1930 - 1960: Cinema
  • 1960 - 1969: Bingo
  • 1992 - 2000: Snooker
Current state
Current use
248 Sandon Road, Stafford, Staffordshire, ST16 3ES, England
Further details
Other names
  • 1920 Design/Construction: architect unknown.
  • 1920 - 1930 Use: As a theatre
  • 1921 Alteration: annexe (for refreshments) created at rear of circle.
  • 1923 Owner/Management: Messrs Goodalls, owners
  • 1930 Alteration: adapted for talkies
  • 1930 Owner/Management: T J Everton for Staffordshire Entertainments Ltd, lessees
  • 1930 - 1960 Use: Cinema
  • 1960 - 1969 Use: Bingo
  • 1991 Alteration: false ceiling inserted (for snooker hall).
  • 1992 Owner/Management: Coral, Brian & Gary Thomas
  • 1992 - 2000 Use: Snooker
  • Capacity
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Proscenium Rake 1:28
Building dimensions: 53ft 7in frontage, c.185ft to rear wall of stage
Stage dimensions: Depth: 30ft Width (wall to wall) 40ft
Proscenium width: 27ft 5in
Height to grid: c.62ft 7in
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -