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The well known Building at Christchurch Road which we now know was O2 Academy Bournemouth was first opened to the public as a theatre on 27th May 1895, named ‘The Grand Pavilion Theatre’. Following changes in ownership in ‘98, it was renamed ‘The Boscombe Grand Theatre’. In 1905, it was then renamed ‘The Boscombe Hippodrome’, which it was known as for over 50 years. In 1956 the theatre was shut down for a full refurbishment and was reopened and renamed as ‘The Royal Ballrooms’.

Throughout the 60s & 70s, the building was used for big named music acts such as; Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Status Quo and many more. Some of these big names were a big part of the club night ‘Starkers’ which was on for the short period between 1971-1972. 

In 1982, the building had its second multi-million pound refurbishment. To then be renamed as ‘The Academy Nightclub’. The nightclub had one of the first ever water-cooled lasers and was the first karaoke bar in the UK.

In the 90s, the rave culture rose dramatically, spawning nights such as Fantasia, Wild Turkey & Parhelion. In 1997 the venue was renamed again as ‘The Opera House Nightclub’, which it is still recognised as to this day. In the same year, the dance night Slinky was introduced. In the early 2000s, Slinky became known as one of the best club nights in the country, enjoying several years of success and attracting some of the biggest global names in electro music – Paul Oakenfold, Armin Van Burren & Paul Van Dyk.

The Opera House was then refurbed for the third time before it was bought by AMG Group and rebranded as O2 Academy Bournemouth – becoming part of the O2 Academy brand. The O2 Academy Bournemouth now hosts a wide range of live music events alongside dance music events which is what it became popular for.

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