Those were the days: When the show couldn’t go on

Doncaster Arcadia
Doncaster Arcadia

Now just a patch of grass in Doncaster town centre, for many decades it was a place which brought pleasure to countless thousands of people.

It was 93 years ago this week, on June 5, 1922 that Doncaster’s Arcadia Cinema opened its doors for the first time, a building that would go through several changes before becoming its most familiar guise for younger readers, Doncaster Civic Theatre.

Doncaster Civic Theatre

Doncaster Civic Theatre

Orginally built as a sports hall but becoming a cinema before it even opened, the Arcadia occupied a prime patch of land on Waterdale, sandwiched between South Parade and Chequer Road.

It changed its name to theArcadia Picture House in the 1930s before Doncaster Council purchased the building in the 1940s, changing its name to the Doncaster Arts Centre.

Its final incarnation as the Civic Theatre came about in the 1970s following a refurbishment. Playing host to countless stars with everything from comedy to music, drama to dance and countless pantomime productions down the years, the Civic also staged hundreds of productions by local dance schools and amateur dramatic groups.

The final curtain for the Civic came with the opening of the new Cast performance venue in the autumn of 2013, built just a stone’s throw away in Sir Nigel Gresley Square.

The Civic itself clung on for several more months before finally being demolished as part of the wider Civic and Cultural Quarter project last summer.

However, a little part of the Civic lives on in the shape of one of the town’s newest roads.

Dance queen Nellie Stagles, who produced scores of dance shows at the Civic down the years, was honoured with a street name in her memory – Nellie Stagles Way linking College Road with Waterdale and running past the new Cast venue.

The curtain may have fallen but for many, it is a building which will never be forgotten by many.