Apollo Theater (Gronau)

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The Apollo Theater (Gronau) was a popular cinema, theater and concert hall. In the years 1934–1940 it developed into an important German-Dutch cultural institution. After renovations and modernizations, the smaller hall is now part of a cinema center at Mühlenmathe 37 in Gronau (Westphalia) .

Cinema license from 1912

The beginnings of the Apollo Theater lie in the diverse activities of the entrepreneur Willi Lindebaum, who switched from the timber trade to the hotel business in 1903. The start-up boom after the city charter was granted (1898) certainly played an important role here. On March 27, 1912 Lindebaum received a cinema license and founded the "Lichtspiele Westfälischer Hof" next to his hotel. Lindebaum's idea of ​​the Hotel Horstmöller was successfully copied as early as 1913. The rival company "Walhalla" was created.

The “cinematographs hall” of the “Lichtspiele Westfälischer Hof” was u. a. modernized and expanded in March 1921, it now comprised 293 places. A spacious staircase led to the gallery.

From these years the employment contract of the cinema pianist Robert Vorstheim ("depending on the performance 35-40 M for a three-day playing time"), sheet music from the cinema orchestra and a grand piano have been preserved. The silent film era ended on April 14, 1930 with the use of “Polyphar-Kinoton-Appatur”.

Conversion to the "Apollo Theater" (1934)

After 1933, the cinemas were brought into line by the National Socialists. From September 1934, Willi Lindebaum continued his cinema operations as the “ Ufa ” cinema, thus ensuring the technical conversion to a contemporary sound film theater. The "Lichtspiele Westfälischer Hof" has now been renamed the "Apollo Theater".

Lindebaum relied on the combination of cinema, theater and concert hall for the modernization. In addition, a stage and an orchestra pit for 30 musicians were installed. The Apollo Theater had a total of 564 seats (374 on the ground floor, 190 on the gallery, 7 boxes) and thus became a “medium-sized” house. The architectural design of the ceiling and the balcony had Art Deco echoes. The seating, the curtain and the painting were kept in blue and silver.

The opening event on September 14, 1934 was based on Berlin models and its design (symphony concert, celebratory speech, sound film) was aimed at the "sophisticated taste" of a middle-class audience.

As a result of the renovation of the Apollo Theater, the fast-growing industrial city of Gronau received a modern hall that replaced the private stage of the factory owners' club (“Society Recreation”) and the Lilienfeld Tonhalle. Now productions from the neighboring Dutch town of Enschede could also be taken over.

Historical Apollo Hall, as it was after the renovation (2004)

The cultural program was mainly supported by the following institutions for which German-Dutch cooperation was essential:

A highlight was the world premiere of the operetta " Insel der Träume " (music: Hans-Martin Majewski , libretto: Joachim von Ostau ) in May 1938, during which the composer himself was the conductor.

In addition to the cinema and theater program, the evening and dance hall ("Apollo-Stuben") also gained in importance in the 1930s.

The beginning of the Second World War, especially the German invasion of the Netherlands, put an end to the local cultural program in the Apollo Theater. National Socialist organizations such as KdF and the “ Bayreuther Bund ” regulated the program from 1941–1944.

Second heyday after 1945

In the post-war period, the Apollo Theater became a permanent venue for the "Gronauer Kulturgemeinde" (cultural community in Gronau), which had existed since 1945, and its successor institution, the "Kulturring" founded in 1948. The evening bar also experienced a second heyday in the jazz dance music scene of the 1950s.

Development into a cinema center

In the early 1990s, the historic Apollo Hall was completely rebuilt: the stage and orchestra pit were removed and the auditorium reduced to 308 seats. As "Hall 1" it is now part of a multiplex cinema center with nine cinemas.

On October 29, 2015, a fire broke out in the cinema, and several halls were destroyed.


  • Hanspeter Dickel: "Guaranteed flicker-free and calm pictures!" A new medium is introduced, in: ders. (Hg): Nature and culture of the area Gronau and Epe, Gronau 1982, p. 475.
  • Alfred Hagemann, Elmar Hoff (ed.): "Island of Dreams". Music in Gronau and Enschede (1895–2005), Essen 2006, p. 397.
  • Klaus Kreimeier: The Ufa story. History of a film company, Frankfurt a. M. 2002, pp. 143, 216.

Individual evidence

  1. [1] accessed on December 3, 2015

Coordinates: 52 ° 12 '48  .2 " N , 7 ° 1' 17.2"  E