Join Manchester Opera House's 100th birthday celebrations
Manchester's Opera House will have a free family open day to celebrate its forthcoming 100th birthday and to launch its centenary season.
The open day on Saturday 8 September will be opened by actor Tam Ryan, who will be back this Christmas for his third Opera House pantomime as Smee in Peter Pan. It will feature backstage tours, costume displays, face painting, performances on stage, technical demonstrations, children's craft activities, drama and dance workshops, storytelling sessions and more.
The Opera House opened on Boxing Day 1912 as New Theatre—after a few name changes it became the Opera House in August 1920—with a lavish production of the musical Kismet. It closed in 1979 and was sold to Mecca to become one of its bingo halls, but then reopened as a theatre in 1984 with Barnum starring Michael Crawford.
The Opera House's general manager Sarah Bleasdale said, "We’re so proud to be celebrating 100 glorious years of entertaining theatregoers, and are looking forward to a wonderful few months marking this historic milestone in the run up to our actual birthday on Boxing Day".
Actress Patricia Hodge, visiting the theatre in a production of Dandy Dick by Pinero, opened the renamed Centenary Bar, saying, "I am delighted to be part of the Opera House's 100 year celebrations and I was very honoured to be asked to open the newly-named Centenary Bar.
"Manchester holds the happiest memories for me. We are privileged to be playing the Opera House and I know I join with so many members of our profession in wishing this wonderful theatre a very happy Centenary Season."