Palace Theatre

Creative Tourist
Palace Theatre Manchester
Image courtesy of Palace Theatre Manchester.

Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6FT – Visit Now

After a tumultuous year, one of Manchester’s greatest theatres has announced its reopening plans. The full venue will be back in action from 2 August 2021, with some small but important adjustments to usual proceedings, designed to keep staff, performers and attendees safe and happy. Firstly, it’s more important than ever to book in advance as the opportunity to purchase tickets at the door will be greatly reduced. Electronic ticketing is the method going forward, reducing risk of transmission.

As ever, opening hours will be dictated by the performances. The box office will only be open for 90 minutes before each showing and the Palace Theatre won’t be open to the public outside of these performances. As to be expected, multiple entrances and exits will be in use, plus a one-way system around the venue. Plus you can expect hand sanitiser, enhanced signage and contactless payment throughout – the theatre will be operating as a cashless venue for the foreseeable future.

Expect the same great evening out as before, with world-class West End shows

The good news is the bars will be open as normal, with a new advance purchase ‘click & collect’ service for food and drink and a website will be launched for patrons to order at their seats. Overall, the message is that you can expect the same great evening out as before, with world-class West End shows, but with added levels of Covid-beating security.

As for the Palace Theatre itself, it was originally known as the Manchester Palace of Varieties and opened in 1891. Designed by the architect Alfred Darbyshire, it had an initial capacity of 3,675. However, over the years the seating size has reduced to accommodate an extended stage and dressing room facilities.

Following its opening on the 18th May 1891, The Palace focused on classical works – a spectacular ballet of Cleopatra was the first production to grace the stage. However, the theatre soon found its niche in inviting more popular performers to its stage. Judy Garland, Gracie Fields, Noël Coward and Laurel and Hardy were among the names who played The Palace from the 1930s onwards.

Steeped in history, The Palace took a direct hit from a German bomb during the Manchester Blitz in 1940. Presenting an Italian Renaissance architectural style, the original features – including the impressive façade and round-arch windows – managed to survive. The building then underwent a full refurbishment in the late 1970s and reopened in 1981 with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.

Many touring productions have opened at The Palace, including the hit Broadway and West End musical, The Producers in 2007 starring Peter Kay. Other notable regional premieres have included Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia! and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Paying homage to its classical roots, the theatre staged the world première of Rufus Wainwright’s opera Prima Donna, in association with Opera North, during the Manchester International Festival of 2009.

With a particular focus on touring productions, musicals, opera and ballet, The Palace Theatre remains one of Manchester‘s major venues and is one of the best equipped and popular theatres outside London.

  • 97 Oxford Street
  • Manchester
  • M1 6FT
  • View map


The Palace Theatre regularly schedule BSL, Audio Described and Captioned performances, for more information please contact 0800 912 6971 / There are 4 wheelchair spaces at the Palace Theatre, There is an accessible toilet on the circle level. The stalls is down 15 steps with no lift access and there are a minimum of 2 steps up into all toilets in the stalls. We have a dual channel infra-red sound enhancement system in the auditorium. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome at the Palace Theatre and they can stay with you while you are in the Theatre.

Commercial and hire services

The Palace Theatre has a magnificent auditorium with a traditional proscenium arch stage and seating capacity of 1,955, making it suitable for one-off hires, conference and events.