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Stroud's love of performing arts dates back as early as 1794 when plays were performed at the New Theatre in the High Street. Later in the 19th Century, touring companies visited the Sub rooms and the old Temperance hall which is now called Lansdown Hall. In 1957, the Cotswold Playhouse became the home of the Cotswold Players.


The Electric Photoplay House in Lansdown, was Stroud's first cinema in 1910. It was followed by the Stroud Picture House in King St Parade (1917), which later became the Ritz Cinema.

The Empire Theatre (1913) gradually responded to its audience and by 1927, was being used as a cinema, called The Classic.  By 1971, it was Stroud's only surviving cinema.

Today, a new cinema complex has being built on the site of the old bus station at Merrywalks.

From January 2016, this website is managed by Stroud Local History Society

SM Programme for opening of Gaumont Palace E584
GRO Cotswold Playhouse IMG 1341
SM Poster for Circus IMG 2362