Theatre and cinema

Today most people are primarily entertained at home by the television. A hundred years ago they would have made their own entertainment at home by reading, playing music and taking part in amateur dramatics. On the professional side, in 1910 John Mulholland opened his Theatre Royal in what is now the Broadway. Many famous actors have appeared and even started their careers there. It is still going strong today - the annual pantomime being especially popular. The Museum holds an extensive archive of past programmes and held a special centenary exhibition - full details are available under the special exhibitions section.

The Polka Children's Theatre was opened in 1979 by the Queen Mother in a building which was originally the church hall of Trinity Church to provide young audiences with their first taste of live theatre.

The Electric Theatre was Wimbledon's first cinema. It opened in Worple Road in 1909 and was soon renamed as the Queen's Picture Theatre. The King's Palace followed in the Broadway in 1910, then the New Electric further along the road in 1911. It was renamed The Apollo in 1914 and then The Prince's. The Elite was built in 1920 and The Regal in 1933, both in the Broadway, followed in 1936 by The Odeon in Worple Road. Sadly none of these now remain.