'GHOST signs’ giving a glimpse into the Grand Opera House’s history have been revealed outside the theatre after modern day posters were removed.

The flaking painted signs advertise wrestling, boxing, dancing and a café at a time when the theatre in Cumberland Street was known as The Empire.

The theatre was originally built in 1868 as a Corn Exchange and warehouse and was converted into a theatre in 1902, and was named as the Grand Opera House and Empire in 1903.

In 1958, the theatre was renamed the SS Empire, the auditorium was reconstructed, with the stalls boxes and stage removed and the stalls floored over to allow the space to be used for roller skating, dancing, bingo and wrestling - and the newly emerged signs appear to date back to this time.

In 1987, the building underwent a major refurbishment which restored it to a theatre.

The Grand Opera House has been closed since the first lockdown last March, with posters advertising shows from that month, such as the rock and roll musical Buddy, remaining in place for the rest of 2020 and early 2021.

The theatre looks set to reopen on the first day possible under the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown - May 17 - with tickets on sale for Les Musicals, although no announcement has been made as yet by Ambassador Theatre Group.

A spokeswoman said there was "nothing to report at the moment", adding: “As soon as anything is confirmed re specific opening date, I will definitely let you know.”

The group said in a statement issued after the Prime Minister unveiled the planned roadmap in February that it was "very much looking forward to welcoming audiences back to our venues soon" but had suspended performances at UK venues until Sunday, May 16.