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Odeon (Paramount)


The theatre was built by the Paramount Film Company of America. The architects Verity and Beverley, who had spent two years studying theatre design in America, were commissioned to build the Plaza in London as part of the Lower Regent Street redevelopment. The company decided to build a magnificent theatre in the North of England, and, having previously leased the Theatre Royal, built the theatre in Manchester. In 1930, a large site was acquired in Oxford Street, between George Street and St James Street, and the theatre was built on three levels, one a mezzanine, with a street pay-box, the finest Wurlitzer theatre organ in Europe with full-size orchestra pit, and stage facilities to match any legitimate theatre. The stone-faced façade of four bays offered a dignified street frontage, with canopy the full width. The internal decoration of the foyers and auditorium was a free treatment of the Baroque, with a huge rounded proscenium, and an almost ‘atmospheric’ effect of an open sky on the ceiling. The stage productions were Francis A Mangan creations, already famous at the Plaza in London and the Paramount in Paris, accompanied by a full orchestra. The theatre, acquired in 1941 by Rank, passed to Odeon, and was subdivided in 1974. However, the stage, proscenium, ceiling and foyer areas were left intact although some parts were obscured. Planning permission to develop the site was granted in 2002. Demolition of the theatre to enable the construction of a new 14 storey office building commenced in 2017.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1930 - 1974: (with films)
Current state
Current use
Oxford Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England
Further details
Other names
  • Owner/Management: Hospital Trust (London), freeholder
  • Owner/Management: Paramount Manchester Theatre Ltd, proprietor
  • Owner/Management: Manchester & Metropolitan Properties, owner
  • 1930 Design/Construction:
    Robert Hope-James (organ builder)
    - Consultant
    Knight & Co
    - Consultant
    fire curtain
    Waring & Gillow
    - Consultant
    furnishings and seating
  • 1930 Design/Construction:
    F Verity & S Beverley
    - Architect
  • 1930 - 1974 Use: (with films)
  • 1941 Owner/Management: Rank, proprietor
  • 1974 Alteration: auditorium subdivided
    Odeon house architect
    - Architect
  • 2016 Owner/Management: Castlebrooke, owner
  • 2017 Demolition:
  • Capacity
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -