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Concert Venues :: Green's Playhouse


Now Known As
Date Opened Sept. 15, 1927
Venue Capacity 4,368
Venue URL
Venue Address 126 Renfield Street
Glasgow, Glasgow City G2

Venue Information

Following a series of press ads highlighting the comfort and strength of the building, with its "huge raft of rock-like foundations 27ft below street level", Green's Playhouse, Renfield Street opened on September 15th 1927 with the Monty Banks film Play Safe, a comedy famous for its runaway train scene.

The architect of Green's Playhouse was John Fairweather, whose speciality was cinema design and who had already designed Green's Picturedromes in Tollcross and Rutherglen and prepared for his most important job to date by touring America in 1922 to study their cinema design ideas.

The cinema was built behind an existing frontage onto Renfield Street facing the Pavilion Theatre and was given a marquee canopy made of worked bronze which ran the entire length of the 96ft frontage. The vertical Playhouse sign was 40ft tall, visible from the bottom of Renfield Street and had the lettering picked out in individual light bulbs as was common in America, possibly noted by John Fairweather on his United States tour.

The auditorium in the neo-classical style with its impressive Corinthian columns was decorated in a subtle colour scheme or orange and primrose, the total seating was 4,368 although when the ballroom and tearooms were also full The Playhouse could hold an incredible 10,000 people.

The Playhouse had to rely on second runs and poorer quality films and by the mid 60s were struggling to fill the auditorium.

From the beginning Green's Playhouse had featured music either as Sunday classical concerts or in the ballroom where the top dance bands played to packed houses and now they started a programme of live music.

Green's Playhouse closed on June 30th 1973, was leased to Unicorn Leisure, refurbished with new seats, lighting and a shocking pink colour scheme and re-opened as The Apollo, the first film on Saturday 8th September was the Russian epic Nicholas and Alexandria and although The Apollo was promoted as "Europe's Largest Luxury Cinema", films soon took second place to live music as it became the main venue for all the big pop, rock and entertainment names including ABBA, Billy Connolly and Paul McCartney.

The Apollo closed in June 1985, the site having been sold for development of a new multiplex cinema. A combination of a fire which gutted the ballroom, partial demolition of dangerous sections and demolition of the building proper, and by February 1989 Green's Playhouse was gone and the site cleared.

Changes of ownership of the multiplex project, from Maybox Movie Theatres to Cineplex Odeon to Virgin Cinemas and finally to UGC meant that it would be another twelve years before another cinema occupied the site.

The UGC 18 screen multiplex, often described as one of the ugliest buildings in Glasgow, finally opened in 2001 and as the largest cinema in Europe, it closes the circle started by George Green.'splayhouse.html

Venue Photos

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