The original Assembly Rooms opened at the Leeds Grand Theatre in 1879, and provided a variety of entertainment from magic and minstrel shows to musical concerts. For most of the 20th century the venue operated as a cinema, including a brief ‘flash’ showing adult films in the 1970s.
The venue’s Victorian splendour was largely hidden away during its life as a cinema. Expert restoration work has now exposed the room’s original barrel-vaulted ceiling, gothic motifs and arched windows. The space has been further enhanced through the addition of a contemporary gallery level and modern wood panelling.
The Howard Assembly Room reopened in January 2009 as a flexible and eclectic arts venue programmed by Opera North, presenting over 25 events each season, including recitals, concerts and gigs by international performers, film, talks, artistic installations and events for children.
The two-year renovation of the Howard Assembly Room was supported by Leeds City Council, Leeds Grand Theatre, Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire Forward and the Opera North and Leeds Grand Theatre Development Trust. The Howard Assembly Room is generously supported by Doctor and Mrs Keith Howard