ABC Theatre (Blackpool)
The ABC Theatre was at 130-140 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire and opened on Friday, May 31, 1963 with the summer season stage show 'Holiday Carnival' starring Cliff Richard and the Shadows.
The ABC Theatre started out as The Empire Theatre and Opera House which opened on July 4, 1895 and was designed in an Italian Renaissance style by Manchester architect John Dent Harker (1860 - 1933). In 1900 it became The Hippodrome Theatre and presented a circus.
A raked floor was added in 1910 and it became a cinema/variety theatre, seating 2,500. Extensive alterations were carried out in 1923 to the plans of architect Halstead Best. It was taken over by ABC (Associated British Cinemas) in April 1929, and the seating capacity was increased to 2,820. The proscenium was 32ft wide, the stage 25ft deep and there were eight dressing rooms. It was equipped with a WE (Western Electric) sound system. Plans were proposed to rebuild The Hippodrome Theatre in 1939, but the outbreak of World War II halted this. The Hippodrome Theatre closed in 1960.
Much of the old theatre was demolished, except the outer walls and the new ABC Theatre was rebuilt in the shell of the old.
The ABC Theatre opened on Friday, May 31, 1963 with the summer season stage show 'Holiday Carnival' starring Cliff Richard and the Shadows. It was designed by architect Cecil Jack Foster (1909 - 1996) with seating for 1,934 in stalls and circle, it was a very modern theatre with gold seats and tabs. It was used for stage shows during the summer months, with films and concerts during the winter seasons.
It was permanently wired up for TV transmissions and during the 1960’s ABC Weekend Television transmitted their 'Blackpool Night Out' shows from the ABC.
The Beatles played gigs here over two months from Sunday, July 7, 1963. The compère was Carry On films comedian Jack Douglas (1927 - 2008). On Sunday, July 14, 1963 they also had Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas as well as The Beatles.
The ABC Theatre closed in January 1986.
Some info came from the book 'The Beatles Live! The Ultimate Reference Book' (1986) by Mark Lewisohn.
Some info came from here
Info courtesy John H. Warburg