Opera Scotland

Coliseum Glasgow

Architect: Frank Matcham.

Opened 18 December 1905. as a variety house, owned by Moss; it was on the corner of Eglinton street and herbertson Street; its capacity on opening was put at 4000 according to the Arthur Lloyd website

A cinema from 1925, its proscenium was removed in 1929.

Unsuccessfully converted to Cinerama in 1963.

Compulsory purchase 1976 for ring road, the plan for which was abandoned.

Later used for Bingo

Data from Bruce Peter: Scotland's Splendid Theatres (Polygon 1999).


When BNOC played a three-week season in the spring of 1923, the only occasion when opera was done at the theatre), a letter appeared in the Glasgow Herald of Wednesday 21 March (p9).  It indicates the difference in composition of the audience, compared with the normal 'variety' customers, and a certain lack of planning that occurred:

March 20

Sir, Permit me to call attention to the disgraceful lack of arrangements for the handling of carriages last night at this theatre where the British National Opera Company is housed at present.  No numbers were handed out to the drivers of carriages on arrival at the theatre, as is done at other theatres in Glasgow, to facilitate drivers picking up their passengers at the close of the performance, nor was any arrangement made for the calling of carriages.

The consequence was that drivers of vehicles had to stand about the door of the theatre looking for their passengers, or passengers had to look for their own vehiccles.  No police traffic regulations seemed to be in existence, and vehicles were lined up on both sides of the street, so you can quite understand the confusion that arose when these vehicles were picking up and departing with their passengers, vehicles going north and south having to cross the tram- ines, and this, combined with foot and tram traffic, rendered Eglinton Street exceedingly unsafe.

The lack of ordinary arrangements reflects no credit on the theatre or police authorities.

I am, etc.



This was the only occasion when opera was performed at the Coliseum. It was the result of a clash between companies.  The Carl Rosa had, as usual, booked the Theatre Royal for their spring season. The BNOC were therefore obliged to perform elsewhere.  Subsequently, the BNOC toured Scotland in the autumn.  Here they had already played Edinburgh for two weeks, before settling in Glasgow.

The schedule was as follows:

Glasgow, w/c 19 March:  Mon 19 Rhinegold;  Tue 20 Valkyrie;  Wed 21 mat Hansel and Gretel;  Wed 21 eve Phoebus and Pan & Pagliacci;  Thu 22 Madam Butterfly;  Fri 23 Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 24 mat Magic Flute;  Sat 24 eve Trovatore.

Glasgow, w/c 26 March:  Mon 26 Seraglio;  Tue 27 Siegfried;  Wed 28 mat Samson and Delilah;  Wed 28 eve Louise;  Thu 29 Phoebus and Pan & Pagliacci;  Fri 30 Hansel and Gretel;  Sat 31 mat Marriage of Figaro;  Sat 31 eve Madam Butterfly.

Glasgow, w/c 2 April:  Mon 2 Carmen;  Tue 3 Mastersingers;  Wed 4 mat Bohème;  Wed 4 eve Samson and Delilah;  Thu 5 Magic Flute;  Fri 6 Twilight of the Gods; Sat 7 mat Hansel and Gretel;  Sat 7 eve Aïda.

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Eglinton Street

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