The Grand Opera House

The restored Victorian theatre houses a sumptuous oriental interior

Frank Matcham's Grand Opera House presents a comparatively restrained brick and cast stone façade to Great Victoria Street. The onion domed minarets that flank the façade and disguise the theatre’s ventilation towers hint at the orientalism of the interior with its sumptuous auditorium and elaborate Indian themed plasterwork.

The Grand Opera House opened in 1895, after a year of building work by H and J Martin, who would also carry out the 1970s restoration work. It was converted to a cinema in 1961 by the Rank Odeon organisation and then closed as a cinema in 1972. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland bought over the building in 1976 and completed sympathetic restoration work. The Grand Opera House reopened as a working theatre in 1981.

Further reading:
An Introduction to Ulster Architecture (1975) by Hugh Dixon.

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