College Theatre Club (Coupland St, Ardwick)

The College Club was owned and run by two blokes called Lez and Cecil. We used to do a week at a time there because our manager, George Gray, used to play alto sax there in the band.

I saw many great acts there - Rev Black and the Rockin Vickers and Sounds Incorporated - as well as many more.

A guy called George from Salford used to be the drummer there. Sometimes when we played there, our bass player Barrie would walk of stage into the changing room still playing his bass to talk to whoever was in there. You would turn around and wonder where he had gone (he had a very long guitar lead) into an Vox AC30 top and a T60 cab.

John Featherstone - Chuckles - 21/8/09 

The College Club was our very first gig in the Manchester club circuit. I was the founder member of "The Answers" and we were introduced to the manager by an Ex. wrestler called "Red Adare" as I recall. We supported a three piece irish band whose name slips my memory however their lead singer was "Roy Walker" (It's Good but it's not right).

Another night we supported Bernard Manning who spent most of his act slagging off the tiny waiter "Garth" who gave as much as he got!

Went on to play all of the Manchester clubs in one form or another great times were had by all.

Tom Casey - 7/2/11

I became resident compere at The College Theatre Club in 1965 after leaving The Corvettes. It was owned by Les Lawrence and Cecil Watch. The Organist was Bob Percy who went on to play at the Philarmonic Club in Blackpool,and George Cooper was the great little drummer.

It was great experience for me as a teenager just breaking into cabaret and stood me in good stead for forthcoming compere jobs at The Talk Of The North, Fagins, La RONDE in Huddersfield and the fabulous Fiesta Club in Sheffield where I became the original compere when it opened.

Nights of particular interest were the Stag nights,when I introduced (and had to share a small dressing room with) over a dozen strippers.Well,somebody had to do it!!

The Banshees from Belfast played there one night,stayed behind to hear me sing, then asked me to join them as they were recording the following week .I couldn't refuse and recorded RUN TO MY LOVIN ARMS at Abbey Road,which turned out great but was given to Billy Fury by our agent Roy Tempest whilst we were working the Star Club in Hamburg. Nice!! Great times.

Paul Stevens - 17/5/11

I remember doing a Sunday lunch audition at the College Theatre Club when I was drummer with Paul Fenda and the Teenbeats. This would have been 1962. We must have done OK as we were asked back as a supporting group when Shane Fenton and the Fentones were top of the bill.

Chris Bowden - 29/12/11

The College Theatre Club was at 85 Coupland Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester 15 and opened in February? 1960.

The club was located in the Manchester University area of Chorlton-on-Medlock, just to the south of the city Centre. 

It had started as The College Cinema was opened in 1914. It was equipped with a British (BA) Sound System around 1930. The College Cinema closed on Saturday, February 13, 1960 with Hardy Kruger in 'Blind Date' and 'Tarawa Beachhead.' It became The College Theatre Club.

The College Theatre Club was owned and run by Les 'Lez' Lawrence (b. Leslie Lawrence) and Cecil Watch and the manager was George Gray who used to play alto sax in the band there. The organist was Bobby Percy (b. Robert Percy), who went on to play The Philharmonic Club, Blackpool and George Cooper was the great little drummer.

On Friday, May 25, Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27, 1962 Freddie and the Dreamers backed 20-year-old famous singer Jimmy Justice (b. James Anthony Bernard Little, Friday, December 15, 1939, Bermondsey, South East London, England) here. Justice, had three hits in March 1962 with 'When My Little Girl Is Smiling' in June 1962 with 'Ain't That Funny' and in August 1962 with 'Spanish Harlem.'

The Answers played their very first gig here on the Manchester club circuit.

The resident compère from 1965 was Paul Stevens after he left The Corvettes.

The College Theatre Club was later called The Ardi Irish Club and later became the immensely popular New Ardri Ballroom and moved to Hulme, Manchester 15

John H. Warburg. June 23

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