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Metropole Theatre

Hi ,
 Can someone please tell me if there was a Theatre in Abertillery
in the early 1900`s  which staged Professional shows .Musicals etc ?

   On another Site someone is asking about her Great Aunt who, in 1911 was lodging in Princess Street, with two other ladies .with a Miner and his family--- she  later married a violinist and they lived at Roslyn House "Richmond Road She was actress supposedly
  Family stories tell she was with the Tiller Girls but the family couldn`t prove or disprove it. Did Abertillery ever run Profesional
Shows ?
I must admit I`ve been surprised about the number of Show People
on the local Census   lodging in  and around  Abertillery
Has anyone any thoughts on this?
pent boy

shows in abertillery.

Hi dragongirl, the abertillery amateur dramatics society always held their concerts and stage versions of the big musicals of the time in the Pavillion cinema. My mother took me to see many shows there, as there was a nice big stage and if I remember correctly the cinema screen was able to be raised  which made the stage area quile large.If there were any professional concerts held I would think that this was where they were held,mind you I dont know when the Pavillion was built but it was probably in the early 1900s. We used to go there late 1940s/50s.

shows in Abertillery

Hi Pentboy
    That`s an interesting one the" Pavilion "as a Theatre would certainly have held an audience required to stage a really Professional Show. As far back as the 1901 Census lots of Actors Actresses etc stayed at houses etc around the towncentre I really wondered what they were"starring"in. A lot seemed to be regulars couldn`t all have relatives living in Abertillery !!
Another thing to puzzle over unless someone can prove that The Tiller
Girls did perform there.. for a Website with lots of items,lists of Theatre dates are  few and far between eg -early 1900`s a troupe of
Tiller girls left for a 6 month Tour of America photograph of them posing on deck before they set sail for New York. Thanks for your import!!
Mary Ann

Re: shows in Abertillery

Hello Dragon Girl and Pentboy
A little bit of info I have gleaned from one of the old “Abertillery” books and which may be of interest:

“When opened in June 1907 and offering the town’s first moving picture
show Myriorama, the Pavilion laid claim to possessing the second largest
stage in Wales, surpassed only by the New Theatre Cardiff and having seating
for 1600 theatre-goers.”

and from the Web:

“A unique blend of the traditional and the ultra modern, The Met (as it is known locally) has stood at the heart of the community of Abertillery for over 100 years. Originally known as the Metropole Theatre and Dance Hall, it has had a significant role in the history of Abertillery since it's construction in 1892, and has always been recognised as a hub in the cultural life of the community.”

“In it's hey day The Met had a fantastic ballroom and dance floor, a Victorian Theatre, where many famous names performed - Charlie Chaplin amongst them, and in later years an indoor market and cinema.”

My grandparents were licensees of The Station Hotel and then the Globe Hotel between 1923 and 1934 and I can remember my mother telling me that Sandy Powell and Jimmy James, two famous old comedians, stayed with them at various times when performing in the town, at which theatre I cannot say -  it seems they had a choice of two!
pent boy


Thanks Mary Ann, and isnt it nice to think that the Met has survived and is still used for its original purpose, shame about the cinemas though, aspecially the Pavillion. Glad to see you have confirmed my memory of that huge stage. Just as an aside, I recall my brother being asked to paint some of the backdrops and scenery for a few of the Pavillion shows in the 50s when he was in the Grammar School.


Thanks Mary Ann and Pent Boy
Its nice when you can confirm details to someone overseas. I
will try and find out if Sarah Dorothy Townsend had a Stage Name
but it looks as though she could have travelled  to NewYork in the thirties with the Tiller Girls - imagine performing in places like Abertillery and the being whisked off to NewYork !!! Not all glamour I shouldn`t  think   especially if they were in different "Digs" every few weeks .

Would have been better if she was playing New York and got whisked off to Abertillery.

Metropole Theatre

Oh David
how cynical you are, maybe Abertillery was a stepping stone to a great career!!!
Seriously though every street seemed to have its quota of Actors. actressess, dancers ,musicans etc and some must have "made good""
The Duke

Metropole Theatre

Hi Dragongirl,
Just a few memories regarding the Metropole. As children  we used to play cricket and football in Mitre Street in the car park. This was before the Market was re-opened so was the early 50s. At that time the Metropole was all boarded up, however as kids will we would dare each other to go into the "Haunted Theatre"
As you entered the stage was on your left and you could just make out the upper seating section in the dim light.
I remember ornate boxs on the left and right of the stage and somehow we erected a swing from old pit rope and we would swing from this in the theatre. Just below the carpark to the right of the entrance was a small amount of waste land this was next to the cottages and at this time of year we used to build a bonfire there. It was a wonder the building ever survived.

Metropole Theatre

Hi Duke
          It`s good to see The Metropole  survived the  attention of you and your friends!!!  Seriously when you think of the cinemas gutted or demolished. The Empress, The   Gaiety,   Pavilion , The Palace has gone through lots of guises Bingo Hall, Club etc but still there

You tend to forget what facilities there were when we were younger.a  different film every night as some programmes changed mid week and not forgetting Saturday Morning Pictures !!!
 Abertillery wasn`t a bad place to grow up in .


Metropole Theatre

Hi Caroline
   What an impressive drawing,thanks very much for sharing.will
send it to New Zealand  to Sarah Townsend `s great Niece.


South Wales Gazette Archives June 7th 1907

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