Palace Theatre 121-123 Union Street - Plymouth Devon
This building is also known as the New Palace Theatre of Varieties and more recently the Academy Nightclub. Built in 1898 for the Livermore Brothers, this impressive building is one of only a handful of Victorian buildings left in Plymouth today. It was designed by Architects, Wimpers and Arber as a music hall and variety theatre. The Theatre opened as the New Palace Theatre on Monday the 5th September 1898. The total capacity of this building in its heyday would have hosted around 2500 people, the Auditorium consisted of stalls and a pit with a grand circle and gallery to suite, and along with a further eight stage boxes. Sadly the original lavish auditorium and stage house were completely decimated in a serious fire on the 23rd December 1898 almost 4 months after the Theatre had originally been opened. Out of the ashes the Theatre was indeed restored and opened to the public once again. This building has had numerous owners over its long service, once owned by the well-known local Hoyles family, legend states that the spirit of Mrs Hoyle is one particular ghost that haunts the Palace Theatre.
With regards to hauntings at this well-known Plymouth landmark, it is said that a woman called Mary who supposedly passed in the fire in 1898 has been seen and heard, the fire is believed to have taken a number of souls. It is said that Mary still haunts the vacant ruins of the Palace Theatre even today. I have spoken to a couple of individuals in recent times about the famous Theatre. One particular gentlemen worked as a security guard (door man) in the late 1980’s and stated that he had a number of first hand unevering encounter’s during his employment at the ancient Theatre. The gentleman recalled one particular morning, it was around 3am and the building was closed for buisness after a busy evening. Himself and a colleague were just talking amongst themslves in one particular area when all of a sudden the stoney silence was broken as a disembodied female scream was witnessed followed by all the lights turning completely off leaving both men open mouthed and slightly spooked, as no one else was present in the building at the time. The gentleman went on to state that noises were indeed quite commonplace and also the sightings of dark silhouettes resembling human forms were also seen by himself and others in areas unoccupied at the time. Today the Palace Theatre is no longer open although I would personally jump at the opportunity to spend the entire night at this awe inspiring building, just to experience first-hand if any of these old souls still wander aimlessly through the abandoned building.