Grand Opera House, Belfast
Grand Opera House is a theatre located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was once renamed the Palace of Varieties, but eventually, it retained its original name. During World War 2, the theatre became an opera production and many gala performances to celebrate the conclusion of the war. In the 1970s, the theatre was inactive following Northern Ireland conflicts primarily influenced by historical events. The Rank Organization began plans to sell the theatre and be replaced with offices. Luckily, the building was bought and listed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1974. After an all-encompassing renovation funded by the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education, Grand Opera House was again opened to the public in 1980.
Despite damages caused by bombings during World War Two, the theatre kept hosting live music, rigmaroles, and live music to entertain the people of Belfast, Northern Ireland. From 2006, Grand Opera House Trust managed the theatre, which led to significant renovation and expansion of the Grand Opera House. The new Grand Opera House had spaces to offer accommodation to performing artists, access for visitors with disabilities, and an extended entryway.
Another recent renovation was completed in March 2021. Sitting in the Grand Opera House, one can marvel at elephant heads, well-executed plasterworks, ornate boxes, and historical paintings that have been repainted to match its originality. New seats have been installed to offer more comfort to visitors, state of the art sound and lighting have been put into place to ensure people enjoy their viewing to capacity. Grand Opera House has information panels set around the theatre for visitors to read the fascinating history of the theatre. There is an exhibition that shares the exciting stories of all the artists who entertained audiences over hundred years ago. A walk in the Grand Opera House will get you to enjoy an abundance of historical artifacts, paints, and pictures put across the theatre. There are glamorous stalls and circle bars in the theatre where at the interval, visitors can buy a drink and enjoy it while interacting with some of the artists. There are visual displays of song lyrics that audiences can enjoy a sing-along.
Grand Opera House holds workshops, exhibitions, talks, and community outreach projects for the people of Northern Ireland. These projects were primarily done in schools before the Convid19 pandemic but will resume in the future to share the fascinating history in schools and community at large.