Gaiety Theatre, Manchester
The Gaiety Theatre, Manchester was a theatre in Manchester, England. It was opened in 1884 and demolished in 1959. It replaced a previous Gaiety Theatre on the site which had been destroyed by fire. The new theatre was designed by Alfred Darbyshire for United Theatres Co. Ltd. and opened in 1884. On 9 November 1908 it was bought by Annie Horniman for £25,000 and reconstructed to plans by Frank Matcham, reducing its capacity from 2,500 to 1,300. It was Britain's first regional repertory theatre. In 1920 the theatre was taken over by Samuel Fitton & Associates but closed in 1922. It was in use again between 1945 and 1947 but was demolished in 1959. During the time the theatre was being run by Annie Horniman, a wide variety of types of plays was produced. Anne Horniman also encouraged local writers, who became known as the Manchester School of playwrights. They included Harold Brighouse, writer of Hobson's Choice , and Stanley Houghton, who wrote Hindle Wakes . Actors who performed at the Gaiety early in their careers include Sybil Thorndike and Basil Dean. In 2008 Annie Horniman's centenary was celebrated by a performance of Houghton's play Independent Means , which had been recently rediscovered in the British Library by Chris Honer, the theatre's artistic director.