And a hand-picked set of high-profile stars helped celebrate Leeds Grand Theatre’s 140th birthday at a special party yesterday.
Dozens of people shuffled along a red carpet through the famous entrance to the New Briggate-based theatre, build in 1987, for the celebration.
Guests, who included stage and screen stars, businesses, civic representatives and donors, were treated to a performance of hit Broadway musical, Jersey Boys.
Top names ranged from Wakefield-born Emmerdale actress Michelle Hardwick to Leeds’ own soap star Gaynor Faye. It was an emotional return too for Ms Faye’s mum, screenwriter Kay Mellor, whose Fat Friends – The Musical show premiered at the venue last year.
“As ever, a fantastic evening at he the fabulous Grand Theatre in my home town,” she told the YEP.
The theatre was also where Ms Faye performed her first ballet show.
“I love this theatre and all the staff,” she said. “It plays a big part in the whole of Yorkshire.” Other TV stars to attend included Gogglebox girls Ellie and Izzie Warner
To mark 140 years, theatre bosses organised a two-week series of events commemorating its history.
It kicked off with a pop-up exhibition in the Victoria Quarter and will close with afternoon tea for past and present staff on Sunday.
Chris Blythe, theatre chief executive, said: “We’ve all been excited to be able to host this celebration with Jersey Boys.
“There’s always a huge buzz when a big show like this comes into town and to be able to add the excitement around our 140th birthday to that means tonight was a night that everyone who attended is sure to remember.”
Leeds Grand Theatre is sometimes affectionately known as the Grand Old Lady of Leeds.
It was the brainchild of architect, George Corson, and took 13 months to complete at a cost of £62,000 in 1878.
The scheme included six shops, assembly rooms, a supper room and large cellars. Now a Grade II*-Listed building, the theatre was once famously described as “probably the finest of its size in Britain”.