William Robert (Bertie) Crewe
The Palace Theatre in Redditch first opened its doors in August 1913. At a cost of approximately £9000 to build, The Palace was described as a miniature opera house. The Palace Theatre was designed by William Robert (Bertie) Crewe, recognized as one of the most dynamic architects of the 1890s-1900s. In his lifetime Wiliam Robert Crew was involved in the planning or collaboration of nearly 200 theatres and cinemas. Theatres designed by Robert are now extremely rare which makes The Palace Theatre Redditch a building of national importance. The Palace Theatre was built in Redditch when theatre construction was in decline and cinema was on the rise so it was at the crossroads of building design, looking both to the past and to the future.
Redditch The Palace Theatre and Cinema
The Palace, when it opened, is what we would call a Cine-Variety house because they had both films and variety entertainment on the bill. In February 1929 the Palace in Redditch dropped variety in favour of becoming a ‘Super’ Cinema. In 1930 a Western Electric Sound System was installed to take advantage of the talkies. When Jack Leuty took over management of The Palace in the late 40s film took a back seat to more traditional theatrical entertainment.
Palace to Close Down
With the threat of television causing audience numbers to dwindle, rising costs, and the lack of artists and good touring shows it became inevitable that The Palace in Redditch would be forced to close. The Palace closed in 1954 but opened again less than a year later as a Roller Skating Rink. Up until the late 60s, The Palace had a life of mixed-use including Dance Hall and Bingo Hall.
The Palace Redditch A Multi-Purpose Venu
In 1967 the Palace was handed over to Redditch Urban District Council and it was decided to refit the building for theatrical use. In 1985 Redditch Borough Council took over the management and running of the building. Now, after the Covid lockdowns, the Redditch Palace Theatre has an impressive calendar of shows and entertainments for us to look forward to including our very own Elsa Jean McTaggart (Eva Cassidy: The Story).