The Dancehouse

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An entertainment venue on Oxford Road known for its theatre space, art-deco interiors and recently renovated cinema, as well as a highly innovative performances and regular events.

Far from dancing alone, this building has established a reputation of cultural innovation since its origins in the 1930s. In recent years it has hosted iconic comedians such as Jimmy Carr and Sarah Millican. Recent performances have included ‘New Dawn Fades’ – a play inspired by Joy Division and Manchester. It is a regular venue for the annual Manchester Literature Festival.

Often described as a ‘hidden gem’, The Dancehouse has layers of history. In its early days it was not associated with dancing at all, but opened as the world’s first twin cinema on the 20th September 1930. The Regal Twin Cinemas housed two screens which entertained audiences throughout the war, years before being bought by Star Cinemas Group and renamed Studios 1 & 2 in the 1960s – developed over the next decade to house a total of 5 screens.

The venue changed hands again in the 1980s – sold to the Cannon Group – but under the pressure of changing viewing habits, the cinema closed its doors on 25th September 1986, and lay abandoned for a total of four years.

However, the Northern Ballet School saw potential in the cinema space – and obtained the lease by 1990. By 1994, and in collaboration with The Dancehouse Theatre Company, the ballet school restored the building to its 1930s glory and with this came the name we know today – The Dancehouse.

The Dancehouse has since housed studio facilities, as well as an auditorium for performances and literature events on both a local and touring basis. In 2013 it reintroduced cinema screenings to its authentic 1930s auditorium, now with regular events.