Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Theatre back to its former glory

Stockport Plaza
The lights have been switched off for 70 years

A decaying film theatre in Greater Manchester, which had its neon lights switched off during World War II, has been transformed after a £3.2m revamp.

Stockport Plaza will open its doors once more after being restored to its 1930s glory days of glamour and extravagance.

Its art deco lights are glowing for the first time since being turned off during the blitz.

Ted Doan, general manager, said: "It has been beautifully preserved."

Work to regenerate the theatre started in February, with historians, artists and craftspeople endeavouring to capture the elegance of the once-popular haunt.

Dancing nymphs

"Built in 1932, it was built as a picture palace to take people out out of the greyness of their lives and the hard work in the factories.

"It was a super cinema with sumptuous surroundings, gold metallics, lattice work and blue velvet seats, said Mr Doan."

Stocport Plaza
It has taken nine months to restore the theatre to its 1930s heydays

The theatre was created to make the audience feel they were in a magic garden.

The curtains are decorated with gladioli and dancing nymphs.

Much of the detail had been caked in wallpaper and fake ceilings until the restoration team began to chip off the coverings.

The North West Development Agency (NWDA) has donated £95,000 towards the restoration package.

"We have a cinema variety gala on the opening night, the entire theme will be as if we were back in 1932, with orchestra, dancing girls, and a rare screening of the film Gold Diggers 1933, shipped over from the US," Mr Doan added.

The first pantomime in the theatre will be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Monday.

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In pictures: Stockport Plaza
11 Dec 09 |  History

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