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Old Athenaeum
179 Buchanan Street

Opened in 1893 to a design by architect JJ Burnet, this small A-listed theatre was purpose built to train drama students.

The tall, narrow building is entered by a door leading to a circular stair well, running most of the height of the building.

The stairs circle a small liftshaft (although the lift has been removed). A small original paybox is situated just to the left of the entrance doors.

Ground floor level gave access to the rear circle of the petite auditorium, with the stalls several levels below ground.

Numerous spacious floors above the auditorium were used for rehearsal and storage space.

The plain auditorium originally sat around 790, and was restored after water damage in 1996 (by then seating around 350).

Unfortunately, the building was then sold to a property developer in 1997, and has remained closed and empty ever since.

Numerous schemes to adapt the building for retail or restaurant use have been mooted - and some initial work was carried on one, involving stripping out the bar area and removing the theatre seating, before planning permission for the conversion was refused.

This work has at least resulted in the partial uncovering of a mosaic that appears to have made up the rear stalls floor.

View from stage

Pillar detail

Stalls mosaic detail

Chair mountain

As of June 2005, the building appears to have been sold again, but no further information is available as to who the new owners are or what their plans are.

For a complete photo survey of the building, taken after closure, click here.

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