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THE BIG FRONT ROOM

The 02 Apollo Manchester - A Year in Pictures

A photo documentary centred around the iconic Manchester Apollo Theatre. The images explore the relationship between the theatre, the fans and the visiting artists. The work was created over a 12 month period from 2018-2019 as part of a Postgraduate MA.

The 02 Apollo Manchester is arguably the city’s most loved entertainment venue. Affectionately referred to as ‘Manchester’s big front room’, the theatre over the years has played host to many of the world’s most famous entertainers: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson to name but a few. The visiting artists to the Apollo cross all genres of music and comedy – a real mix of the emerging and the established. The Apollo first opened its doors in August 1938 during the golden age of cinema. In 1977 the theatre became exclusively a music and comedy venue. There is a real sense of continuity, nostalgia and history about the building, qualities that seem to appeal to both the fans and performers alike.

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The 02 Apollo Manchester

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Dua Lipa fans

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Dua Lipa

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The Apollo street frontage

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The horn section of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra warm up backstage

Capacity: All seated, 2,693. For gigs of a more raucous nature, the stalls seating can be removed and crush barriers installed – increasing the capacity to 3500. The process takes around seven hours and it is not uncommon for seats to be removed and reinstated several times in a week.

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Johnny Marr photographed against the theatre's stage pulleys

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Apollo from the air: The theatre sits at the junction of Hyde Rd and Stockport Rd in Ardwick

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The Art Deco splendour of the circle landing

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The Circle Bar - Art Deco lighting

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Proscenium Arch: The ornate plasterwork surrounding the stage

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Backstage directions

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Dressing room corridor

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Marilyn Manson

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Manson fans

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The Old Projection Box: Untouched since 1977 when the last celluloid film spooled through the projectors and the theatre became exclusively a music and comedy venue.

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The auditorium – a view from the rear circle

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Scorched brickwork

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Film reel storage boxes

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The auditorium – as a cinema in the 1950s

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Heritage mural wall - Circle Bar

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The Bootleg Beatles

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Following in the footsteps of the Fab Four’s famous 1963 and 1965 Apollo Shows

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Rag 'N' Bone Man

Iconic Manchester Apollo shows

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Roy Chubby Brown relaxes in his dressing room before his annual Christmas comedy show

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Harry Styles: Fans camped out and queued for up to three days to guarantee the best view of their hero

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The main corner tower which welcomes visitors to the theatre 

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Hyde Road view of the theatre

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Two tour buses and snow

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The stage door

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Kaiser Chiefs

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UB40

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Sting & Shaggy

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The rear stage wall

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Paint it Black: Theatre technicians keep the stage and its walls painted black, providing a blank canvas for the visiting stage shows

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Stalls crush barriers

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Rear circle, gents toilet: 80 years of makeshift glazing

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Jools Holland in his dressing room pre-show