The Music Hall and Theatre History Site
Dedicated to Arthur Lloyd, 1839 - 1904.


The Royal Olympic Theatre, Lever Street, Manchester

Manchester Theatres Index

The Royal Olympic Theatre, Manchester was built in 1838, closed in 1841, and was eventually converted into a Drapery Store.

'Now for the Olympic, which was opened, according to Mr Byam Wyke, in 1838. A good deal of misconception prevails about this shortlived theatre. Some say that it was originally a place of worship, others that it was converted into a theatre from a warehouse. Both appear to be wrong. The facts seem to be as follows;— When the Rev. Samuel Warren was expelled from the Wesleyan Conference, as a result of the "Fly-street" controversy, a section of the Methodists went with him, and they were called Warrenites. They first used a wooden building called Coolie's Circus, in Lever-street, and afterwards erected a brick and wood building at the corner of Lever-street and Stevensen!s square. Dr. Warren soon after entered the Church and became the first incumbent of All Souls, Every-street, Manchester, which was consecrated in November, 1840, the first stone having been laid Oct. 26th, 1839. After Dr. Warren entered the Church, the brick and wood building at the corner of Lever-street was pulled down, and a carrier's warehouse erected on its site. This in its turn was killed by the railway system, and was also demolished, the Olympic Theatre being raised in its place.

The performances here were of a very low caste, though G. W. Brookes once made his appearance on its boards. When Carter, the lion king, was there a short play was acted every evening. Van Arnburgh, another lion king, was at one of the other theatres at the same time. As a matter of fact they were partners, and the professed rivalry was simply to draw custom. Carter married Miss Dean, an actress at the Olympic, and the daughter of Samuel Dean, a Manchester pawnbroker. Something about this old Manchester theatre can be found in the first volume of the Manchester City News Notes and Queries, pages 10, 17, and 25. The premises were purchased in 1842 by Messrs Falkner, who turned it into a drapery store.'

The above text in quotes was originally published in an article in the Era, 4th of January 1896.

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