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Pavilion Theatre

125 Renfield Street Glasgow
History and museums
theatre, landmark, activities

The Pavilion Theatre is a theatre in Glasgow located on Renfield Street.


One of Glasgow's oldest theatres, the Pavilion Theatre of Varieties opened on 29 February 1904 as a Music hall. The building has remained relatively unchanged in layout, although the sound and lighting systems have been updated over the years. It is now protected as a category A listed building.

The theatre was designed by Bertie Crewe as the Glasgow venue of Thomas Barrasford's growing chain of British Music Halls, and was regarded as luxurious for its time. The owners described its decor as "pure Louis XV", featuring Rococo plasterwork across the proscenium arch and boxes, terrazzo flooring, leadlight glazing and rich mahogany wood finishing. Ventilation was ensured by an electrically operated sliding roof panel above the auditorium. The facade was designed in the French Renaissance style and finished using glazed buff coloured terracotta. The auditorium's capacity of 1449 is made up of 677 stalls, 341 circle, 413 balcony and 18 box seats.

Many of the leading music hall artistes of the early 20th century appeared at the Pavilion, including Marie Lloyd, Little Tich, Harry Lauder, Sarah Bernhardt and a then unknown Charlie Chaplin.

In the 1930s, the Pavilion began producing pantomimes and in more recent times it has also functioned as a receiving house for plays and alternative comedians.

The Pavilion Theatre is now the only privately run theatre in Scotland and one of a few unsubsidised independent theatres left in Britain outside London. The theatre mainly runs populist productions and pantomimes, as well as comedians and touring bands on the 'nostalgia' circuit.

In 2004 Janette Krankie was seriously injured during a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at the theatre, but has since made a full recovery.

The theatre is reputed to be haunted by a girl who 'bounced to death' in the Stalls area of the auditorium. Most frequent sightings of Bouncer are reported during catchy songs.

In 2007, the Pavilion Theatre reinvented itself as the Scottish National Theatre of Variety, with a launch including numerous stars of the stage and the announcement was made by Iain Gordon the General Manager.

The Mighty Boosh have become something of regulars at the venue after performing early shows Arctic Boosh and Autoboosh at the venue in 2000 during a five night stint, as well as their 2006 stage show. An episode of their radio series was also recorded at the venue. The act are due to perform at the Pavilion once again on 13 and 14 September 2008 with their latest show, Boosh Live. These dates set a record for the fastest selling act ever at the Pavilion, with tickets selling out in 3 hours for both nights.

In 2013 the BBC done a documentary on the Pavilions 2012/13 Pantomime The Wizard that never Was.


The theatre is at the top of Renfield St, towards the northern end of the city centre. It is a short walk from Cowcaddens and Buchanan Street Subway stations, and Buchanan bus station.

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