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The Apollo was built as a cinema with a stage for live acts in 1938. It is now a concert hall. The faience façade in moderne style with rounded corners is now rendered at ground floor level but is a fine example of its kind and time. rectangular centre and large rectangular tripartite openings on both floors, flanked by vertical panels with Art Deco ornament.

Extensive modernisation in the 1970s permitted expansion of the range of stage performances, moving the Apollo into the mainstream, presenting pantomime and variety with film presentations, as well as popular concert performances (the last of these normally in promenade mode). The interior is substantially Mollo & Egan’s original design, save for the outer foyer which has been split to allow for separate fire escapes. The opulent plasterwork around the columns in the former cafe is intact, now a bar.

The splendid auditorium is architecturally almost intact, apart from the post 1977 lipstick red and gold decoration. It has two balconies with stepped sides (too substantial to be called slips), ornament to side walls, plunging to the front of the stage, which has a freely curved, cove-lit ante-proscenium. The stalls seats are removed for pop concerts with a standing audience. Today this is possibly Manchester’s leading venue for popular and rock band concerts.

The ballroom, also with original plasterwork, now has a small stage and is used as a club. The former restaurant at low level is now used as a seat store.

The Apollo has suffered, inside and out, from inconsistent maintenance in the past but the façade has recently been refurbished and prospects for further refurbishment seem promising. Graffiti sprayers are a major problem in this neighbourhood.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1938 - 1977: occasional; 1977 continuing
Current state
Current use
Music venue (Live music venue)
Ardwick Green, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England
Further details
Other names
ABC , Apollo - later Labatt’s Apollo
  • 1938 Design/Construction:
    Peter Cummings & Alex Irvine
    - Architect
  • 1938 Design/Construction:
    R Gillespie Williams
    - Consultant
    holophane lighting
    Eugene Mollo & Egan
    - Consultant
    decorative design
  • 1938 Owner/Management: Local Syndicate
  • 1938 - 1977 Use: occasional; 1977 continuing
  • 1943 Owner/Management: ABC
  • 1977 Alteration: refurbished
    Watts & Partners
    - Architect
  • 1977 Owner/Management: Paul Gregg (independent operator)
  • 1978 Owner/Management: Apollo Leisure
  • Capacity
  • Capacity
    1995: 2500 (3500 standing)
  • Listing
Stage type
Raked, proscenium with thrust
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: w: SL 15.55m SR 15.55m
Proscenium width: 14.02m
Height to grid: 19.81m
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -