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Tivoli

Charles John Phipps

alias Opera House, Her Majesty's Theatre
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1872 | construction
Built and designed by C. J. Phipps in 1872 with the street elevation that was Venetian Gothic in style, with colourful bands of pink and grey granite, round-arched openings and deep, bracketed overhanging eaves.
(detail)1897 | alteration
Frank Matcham carried out some alterations auditorium alterations.
(detail)1909 | alteration
Frank Matcham carried out more comprehensive work, which has left us with a high-quality Edwardian Baroque interior.
(detail)1966 | closure
It ceased working as a theatre and became a bingo hall until 1998.

People

History

In Aberdeen, the category A-listed Tivoli Theatre has a remarkable eye-catching façade designed by C J Phipps and the distinguished local architect, James Matthews, who later became the Lord Provost of the city. Built in 1872, the striking street elevation is Venetian Gothic in style, with colourful bands of pink and grey granite, round-arched openings and deep, bracketed overhanging eaves. Theatre specialist Frank Matcham carried out some alterations to the building in 1897 and returned in 1909 to carry out more comprehensive work, which has left us with a high-quality Edwardian Baroque interior that shows his skill working within the constraints of an existing building. It ceased working as a theatre in 1966 and became a bingo hall until 1998. However, it is hoped that it will reopen as a theatre venue again.

 

In: Acting with confidence. Scotland's theatre architecture. ISBN: 978-1-84917-038-3.

 

Matthews probably acted as executant architect to Phipps and was almost certainly responsible for the design of the polychromatic stone facade in an Italian Gothic style. In 1897 Frank Matcham carried out 'structural alterations and improvements'. In 1909, however, he carried out a further ;extensive scheme of reconstruction' at a cost of £10,000.3 It is to the work of 1909 that the auditorium owes its present character. The Baroque style plasterwork is unmistakably typical oť this dáte. There are two slightly-curved baiconies, the first of nine rows, and the second a gallery with ten rows of padded benches. The four supporting iron columns probably survive from Phipps's auditorium, and were made use of by Matcham in his recon­struction. The balcony fronts are decorated with cartouches and heavily modellcd festoons. On either šidě of the proscenium are two superimposed boxes flanked by attenuated lonic columns, The upper boxes háve curved cowls crowned by elaboráte cartouches set in front of large inverted shells. The splendid circular ceiling is divided into four richly-framed painted panels. The proscenium is rectangular and flanked by slender columns carrying scrolled brackets.

AIthough the Tivoli has been ušed as a bingo halí for some years, it has suffered no signifícant alterations and remains oné of the best preserved examples of Matcham's work. The delightfully intimate auditorium is oné of the fínest in Scotland. If refurbished and brought back into use as a repertory playhouse the theatre wouíd be an admirable complement to Matchanťs other Aberdeen theatre, His Majesty's; the city's touring house.

 

In: WALKER, Brian Mercer. Frank Matcham: theatre architect. Belfast: Blackstaff Press, c1980, xii, 178 p. ISBN 08-564-0231-1.  p. 130- 132

 

 

Author: Brian Mercer Walker

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