The Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre cinema in Stockport, England (grid reference SJ895905) opened in 1932 and is now a Grade II* listed building. After being a bingo hall for many years, it has now been restored as a cinema and theatre, showing classic films and staging live shows
The building is in the Art Deco style, it was constructed in 1932 to a design by William Thornley. It opened as a cine-variety venue. It had an original seating capacity of 1878 (other sources say 1848)- and in its restored state has 614 seats in the stalls, 318 in the front circle and 254 in the rear circle (the balcony). The site involved cutting into the rock.
Compton Theatre Organ
To possess an original Compton Organ is rare, but the Plaza organ is notable in its own right. It was the first Compton Theatre Organ to be built with sunburst decorative glass panels. These can be illuminated in a range of colours.
The Compton organ is a three manual instrument with a unique 150 stop tab layout which was designed for the Plaza and her sister cinema by Norman Cocker the resident organist from Manchester Cathedral and Arthur Ward one of the original Directors of the Stockport Plaza. It has in addition 42 toe and thumb pistons. There are 11 ranks of pipes situated in 2 chambers, one over the other to the right of the stage. These are concealed behind the decorative grill in the wall. There is no electric amplification, as the sound is produced acoustically straight from the organ pipes. The console is on a lift so that it can rise out of the floor, adding to the theatrical effect. As there is no amplification the organist controls the volume using swell pedals that operate shutters in the grill. It was played before shows, and during silent movies, variety acts and musical interludes between films. The organ can supply a large range of effects from sleigh bells to aircraft and sea sounds