Greenwich Theatre
The Early Years

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Greenwich Theatre
Crooms Hill
Greenwich SE10 8ES
+44 (0)20 8858 4447

Greenwich Theatre has had a chequered history. In the past century it's been a warehouse, a cinema, a music hall, a scenery store and at times a derelict building. Much earlier, in the 1700s, it was two houses flanking the Rose and Crown public house.

For much of its life it was closely associated with the pub and its landlord. For a time it was a skittle alley. In 1870 it became the Rose and Crown Music Hall.

In the following years, with a new landlord, Charles Spencer Crowder - he was there for more than 25 years - the theatre was successively Crowders Music Hall (1871), Crowders Music Hall and Picture Gallery (l872) and Crowders Music Hall and Temple of Varieties (1878).

A new landlord, Alfred Ambrose Hurley, brought a new name. It was re-christened the equally colourful Parthenon Theatre of Varieties. Hurley made another major contribution to its future. In 1885 he had it rebuilt to the designs of John George Buckle.

In 1898 Samuel and Daniel Barnard took over and, in 1909, dispensing with the classical Greek allusions, called the theatre the Greenwich Palace of Varieties.

Three years later it became the Greenwich Hippodrome and Theatre Royal and, more often than not, was used as a cinema. In 1939 it was bought by London and District Cinemas.

It closed in 1949 and after that was often used for storage.

The present Greenwich Theatre opened in 1969 after seven years of fund-raising led by Ewan Hooper, who became the first Artistic Director.


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