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Palace Theatre and Grand Hall, The

Dominating a corner site between London Road and Green Street / Sturrock Street, immediately to the east of Kilmarnock town centre, the Palace Theatre and Grand Hall describes itself as Ayrshire's premier entertainment venue. The venue includes a 500-seat theatre, which offers a year round programme of music, comedy, drama, dance and light entertainment, together with a range of flexible spaces which host concerts, conferences, meetings and weddings. Its striking red-sandstone Italianate clock-tower lies at the centre of the long angled facade of the building, which is now A-listed. The Palace Theatre was built as the town's corn exchange in 1862 at a cost of £6600, the work of local architect James Ingram (1799 - 1879), and converted to a theatre in 1903. The extension which now comprises the Grand Hall was added by his son Robert Ingram (1841 - 1915) in 1886 and originally housed Kilmarnock Library and the Athenaeum Reading Room. The Grand Hall was created in the late 1940s. The interiors were reconstructed after a fire in 1979.

The tower is dedicated to Prince Albert who had died in 1861. It features small clock faces, with the Burgh arms below and three heads carved above the arched windows on the first floor level; Prince Albert in the centre, with Field Marshall Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde (1792 - 1863), to left and Sir James Shaw (1764 - 1843) to the right.

The venue has played host to the likes of Kevin Bridges, Billy Connolly, Calvin Harris and Craig Hill. The Café Bar features regular events which showcase up and coming comedians.

The building is owned by East Ayrshire Council and is operated on their behalf by East Ayrshire Leisure.


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