Cinemas in Ayrshire  ~  1900 - 2016

Ayr ~ Green's Playhouse

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Green's Playhouse, Ayr, now occupied by Mecca Bingo.    magnify ©Mike Bailey

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Theatre facade overlooking Boswell Park.    magnify  ©Mike Bailey

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The Playhouse Theatre viewed from the rear of Ayr Gaiety Theatremagnify ©Mike Bailey

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Rear elevation of Playhouse Theatre viewed from Fullarton Street.  magnify ©Mike Bailey

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Green's Playhouse, Ayrmagnify ©Mike Bailey

Green's Playhouse (Ayr)

The Playhouse, Ayr is the finest remaining complete example of a classic John Fairweather "Green’s Playhouse".

The Ayr Playhouse opened on 8th July 1931, a replacement for an earlier Playhouse on the site, which had burnt down. At that time it was the second largest cinema in the country.

Ayr’s Playhouse auditorium included a small central dome feature, a series of large Corinthian columns running down the side walls with boxes between them, and a square proscenium flanked by large pillars. The alterations for bingo do not detract from the impressive scale and design of the interior.

The Playhouse was listed Category C(s) in 1999, and in 2008 this was upgraded to Category B.

It should be noted that the building history on the Theatre Trust database differs from local records and the Historic Scotland database which dates the current structure to 1930.  The information below is drawn from the Theatre Trust database and may be subject to amendment.

Building Details

Green’s Picturedrome of 1911 was a conversion from a roller skating rink. The Picturedrome was converted to the original Playhouse in 1922 and destroyed by fire the following year.

The present building was erected in 1924. It became a bingo house in 1965. Crude and dominating harled brick edifice typical of its period of stylistic transition, incorporating elements of earlier building. Symmetrical façe with large pediment concealing projection box over central five bays and debased classical details. Three doors with tall windows and fanlight above.

As with so many cine-variety venues, it is the interior which delights. The foyers are solidly classical with weighty Ionic pilasters and white marble floors and balustrading. The auditorium, which originally seated 3,104, has one enormous balcony. On either side, giant Ionic orders with superimposed boxes soar triumphantly to the heavily beamed ceiling. The wide stage now contains the no smoking section of bingo tables.


Boswell Park, Ayr
Built: 1924
Dates of use: 1924 - 1965
Current state: Extant
Current use: Bingo

Capacities: Original: 3104, Later: 1951: 3116


1924 Design/Construction: John Fairweather - Architect

1911 Owner/Management: Green’s Picturedrome
1922 Owner/Management: George Green Ltd, proprietors
1970 Owner/Management: Mecca Ltd, proprietors.

Listings: Grade B


Dimensions:  Proscenium width: 15.25m (52ft)

Building information based on the database of the Theatre Trust and Scottish Heritage.

For further information, please follow this LINK


Green's Playhouse (Ayr)

The 1931 Kinematograph Year Book reports The Playhouse at Boswell Park. owned by George Green Ltd..  The venue is 'Rebuilding'.

The 1941 Kinematograph Year Book reports the Playhouse at Boswell Park owned by George Green, Ltd., Glasgow with 3,060 seats. Shows are continuous.  The stage is 22 ft. deep with four dressing rooms. Prices, 6d. to 2s.  Proscenium width, 52 ft. Cafe.

The 1947 Kinematograph Year Book reports the Play'house at Boswell Park owned by George Green, Ltd., Glasgow with 3,117 seats. Shows are continuous daily from 2 p.m. .  The stage is 22 ft. deep with four dressing rooms. Prices, 1s. to 3s. 6d. Cafe.

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Ayrshire Cultural Facility ~ Updated   September 5, 2016