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Pantages Playhouse Theatre

The Pantages Playhouse Theatre is a former vaudeville theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Pantages Playhouse Theatre National Historic Site of Canada
Pantages Playhouse Theatre, Pantages Playhouse Theatre National Historic Site of Canada, Théâtre Pantages Playhouse
Pantages Playhouse Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.jpg
Pantages Playhouse Theatre
Location180 Market Avenue East
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3B 0P7
OwnerCity of Winnipeg
DesignationNational Historic Site of Canada
Opened9 February 1914
ArchitectGeorge W. Northwood and B. Marcus Priteca
Official namePantages Playhouse Theatre National Historic Site of Canada
Designated15 November 1985
Pantages Playhouse Theatre in Downtown Winnipeg.

The two-storey building features a decorative façade with a lit marquee across the front, as well as classical decorative elements such as columns, brackets, frieze and cornice. The building continues to feature original interior layout and original lobby decor such as marble sheathing and decorative plaster ceiling.[1]

Of the 75 theatres once found in Pantages' chain, the theatre in Winnipeg is one of the few that have survived.[2]


Built in 1913-14 and opened on 9 February 1914 as the Pantages Theatre, the building is located in Winnipeg's Exchange District. The theatre was originally the ninth theatre built in the Pantages chain of eighty-six theatres. The theatre was designed by architects George W. Northwood and B. Marcus Priteca and built for the Pantages Company. The company, a major American vaudeville chain, built the facility to present live theatrical, musical and vaudeville performances.[1][2] Winnipeg was a proving ground for performers. Alexander Pantages was quoted as saying, "all my acts originate in Winnipeg and move around the circuit."[3]

In 1923, the theatre company moved to the Capitol Theatre, and the city of Winnipeg acquired the building, renaming it Playhouse Theatre and using it as a venue for live theatre. The last vaudeville show in the Pantages Theatre was 23 June 1923. The conversion to live theatre was not successful, and it eventually reverted to a format of vaudeville, tabloid musicals and motion pictures.[2]

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet made its premier performance on the building's stage in June 1940, and continued there until the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall was constructed in 1967.[2]

The City Finance Committee sold the building in 1943 to a new owner intent on using it for vaudeville and motion pictures, but the city seized it for taxes in 1945. In 1948, the theatre began to feature amateur performers and spawned the Manitoba Theatre Centre in 1956.[2]

In the 1980s, the theatre's auditorium was repainted and the seating and draperies were replaced by salvage from a cinema. In 1993, under a tripartite agreement with the Province and the Federal Governments, the City of Winnipeg acquired the Main Street frontage and added a new entrance and lobby to the theatre, as well as adding improvements to the backstage.[2]

The Performing Arts Consortium of Winnipeg, Inc. assumed responsibility for the management of the theatre in February 1998.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Pantages Playhouse Theatre National Historic Site of Canada". Canada's Historic Places. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Historical Synopsis". Pantages Playhouse Theatre. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  3. ^ McCarten, Barry (Autumn 1988). "History and Live Theatre in Winnipeg". Manitoba Historical Society. Retrieved 15 May 2014.

Coordinates: 49°53′56″N 97°08′16″W / 49.8989°N 97.1379°W / 49.8989; -97.1379