Grand Theatre

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The Grand Theatre was a famous venue in Bloemfontein.

A Victorian horsehoe shaped theatre, it was housed in the Grand Hotel in Hanger Street, near the Bloemfontein station. The theatre had long facade in what was then known as the modern French Renaissance style, three storeys high and crowned with three domes. Inside there was a 170 foot lobby, sliding roof, 900 seats and one of largest stages in SA.

The venue opened on Monday, 19 February 1906 with The Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan). For 50 years world renowned artists appeared here, also local groups and travelling companies with musicals and other shows. For example Paul de Groot's groundbreaking Afrikaans production of Oorskotjie was done there in 1926, Viennese tenor Richard Tauber performed there in 1939, *****.

Converted during the 1920s to also show films, it became a bio-vaudeville house, doubling as theatre and bioscope for the next 30 years. By the 1950s it had basically become a delapidated a venue for films only and was sold to SA Breweries in 1953. It stood empty for the next few years, till it was condemned and demolished in 1956. (AW)

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