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Great Britain Grand Theatre - Doncaster - Feb 20

The Excursionists

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The Grand Theatre:


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Visited again with @Urbandoned and two non-members.

This spot has been covered numerous times but with our recent theatre tour it was one we had to tick off the list. I won't go into loads of detail on the history etc as you've most likely read it or you can look on previous reports :). However, I'll compile the main points:

History:

The Doncaster Grand/Grand Theatre was constructed in 1899 on the site of a former Circus Hall. The theatre stood in a prominent position facing Doncaster railway station and featured columns and arches on the frontage. Designed by by J P Briggs and built by local firm Arnold & Sons. Town centre improvements robbed it of any sensible context and it is no longer in a street, but attached rather indirectly to the Frenchgate shopping centre. It still faces the station, however is separated from it by a busy inner ring road which comes so close that it has actually snipped off a lower corner of the stage house. It was threatened with demolition until an energetic local campaign and Friends group secured statutory designation in 1994.

From it's opening in 1899 up to 1958 the Grand was used as a theatre. Moving on-wards past the year of '58, the property was used as a bingo hall up to it's closure in 1995. For it being closed for so long, there's still to this day a good amount to see in relatively good condition.


The Explore:

Pleasant morning spent in here with everyone, taking as many shots as possible. Entrance wasn't too hard at all. The explore is one I will always remember as it was the best theatre I had covered at the time. The hall felt intimate due to it's size and I could imagine it being used back when it functioned.

Media:

You can see the contrast in the area the theatre now remains in from the outside.

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Baroque treated main hall

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View on the hall from the circle

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The lower circle still had all seats left in good condition considering it's time left vacant.

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Shot from the upper circle

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There were less seats at the top, but they differed from the circle below, appearing older and more intricate. (Apologise about the focus on this one).

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Here are some shots of the theatre in use as bingo hall:

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The decaying lobby, contrasting to the main hall

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Communal areas for pre-show engagements and during intervals

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Stupidly, I didn't get a shot of the bar with the old "License Bar" sign. I can confirm it is trashed compared to the previous reports.
Here is above stage with what I assume would have been the old safety curtain?

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As always, feel free to watch our video take on the site.


Thanks for looking!
 
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The Excursionists

The Excursionists

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What an utterly shameful waste of a great looking building. No plans for it?
Surprised it’s not ashes.
There is a local group campaigning to save it. The council have had the following input:

The council has offered to work with the owner to find possible solutions for the theatre including investigating other potential uses for the building, however response has been slow. The owner has stated that they have long-term plans for the theatre but have not provided any further information as to what this actually means.

And..

The Friends group would also be keen to work with the owner on a long-term vision and strategy for restoring and reopening the theatre. The group has had several meetings with the representatives of the Frenchgate Centre to attempt to open discussions, and has extended an invite for the owner to join a stakeholder group that is to be set up to steer the viability study process. It is hoped that the owner will take the opportunity to be a part of this work.
 
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