In 1937 the Odeon Cinema opened in Broadway, Peterborough and operated for more than 50 years successfully. In 1991 the Odeon showed it’s last film to the public and was left to fall into a state of disrepair, until in 1997 a local entrepreneur by the name of Peter Boizot MBE purchased the building as part of a larger project including a restaurant and art gallery. Four years later The Broadway was reopened in its current form.
Going back a little further, the street known as Broadway in Peterborough has a long theatrical history. At one time it had two theatres as well as the Odeon Cinema not two minutes apart. Before it made way for Sheltons in 1960, the building next door to the Odeon (now housing Gaston’s restaurant) was home to a Victorian venue known as The Grand. Opened in 1878, it was affectionately dubbed the Little Theatre and although subsequent name changes followed, including Theatre Royal and latterly The Empire, it stood in the heart of Peterborough’s entertainment centre for more than seven decades.
This much smaller venue than exists today saw many stars of the stage including writer NoelCoward who recalled in his memoirs a visit to the theatre in the 1930’s during a snow blizzard. He noted that when he arrived more audience members were on the stage than in the auditorium in an effort to shelter from the storm!
Two months after the Odeon opened, The Embassy theatre followed suit. Now a series of bars, it hosted the likes of Morcombe and Wise until it gradually converted into a cinema and changed its name to the ABC.
Continuing the legacy of theatres in its wake is a proud challenge for The Broadway and we hope you will continue to support us in our bid to provide quality entertainment on the street known as Broadway, Peterborough for many more decades to come.
Members of Mandy who have worked for Broadway Theatre