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The Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester

Also known as: The Royal Cinema / Royal Bingo / Royale

Manchester Index

The Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester in July 2009 - Courtesy Charles Bowman

Above - The Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester in July 2009 - Courtesy Charles Bowman

 

The auditorium of the Theatre Royal, Manchester in 1980 whilst being used for Bingo - Photo courtesy Ted Bottle.See the Theatres Trust Listing for this TheatreThe Grade II Listed Theatre Royal in Peter Street, Manchester was built in 1845 by John Gould Irwin & Francis Chester and is Manchester's oldest surviving Theatre.

The auditorium was originally built on four levels with Stalls and three balconies and was originally designed for drama and opera productions.

Right - The auditorium of the Theatre Royal, Manchester in 1980 whilst being used for Bingo - Photo courtesy Ted Bottle.

Programe for the Theatre Royal, Manchester 1915 - Courtesy Peter Charlton.The Theatres Trust Guide says that: 'The façade of the Theatre Royal, as well as Cockerell’s banks were clearly a source of inspiration for Richardson and his partners when designing the front of the Royal Opera House.'

The guide also says that: 'The ornate ceiling, now not easily visible, has deeply coved sides and basketwork enrichment reminiscent of Covent Garden.'

Left - A Programe for the Theatre Royal, Manchester in 1915 - Courtesy Peter Charlton.

Fred Lloyd, Arthur Lloyd's elder brother, is known to have been in the Company at the Theatre Royal, Manchester from September 29th 1860 to July 31st 1861, with none other than Edwin Booth and Henry Irving. The ERA reported on one of this Company's productions in their December 1st 1861 edition saying:- 'Massinger's play of A New Way to Pay Old Debts was performed on Tuesday. Mr Booth's delineation of Sir Giles Overeach through its various phases of will and passion, elicited the highest encomiums. Mr F. Lloyd made an excellent Marall, and Mr Thompson was unctious as Justice Greedy. Mr Henry Irving was Wellborn, and Miss Lucy Rushton Margaret.' - The ERA, 1st December 1861.

Dame Genevieve Ward, the once Famous American Tragedienne, made her first dramatic appearance at the Theatre Royal, Manchester in September 1873 as Lady Macbeth. She died at the age of 84 and was the Granddaughter of a former Mayor of New York.

In 1875 the interior off the Theatre was reconstructed.

A Token for the Theatre Royal, Manchester - Courtesy Stan Owen A Token for the Theatre Royal, Manchester - Courtesy Stan Owen

Above - A Token for the Theatre Royal, Manchester - Courtesy Stan Owen - The coin is stamped Theatre Royal Manchester on one side and The Hardmans esq on the reverse. If you know who these Hardmans were please Contact me. As the token is undated it may have actually been for the earlier Theatre Royal on Fountain Street.

A Poster signed by some of the cast and advertising the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company performing 'San Lin or The Cat and the Cherub' at the Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester for May 11th 1899 - Courtesy Jeffrey Bennett, Prison Fellowship UK

Above - A Poster signed by some of the cast and advertising the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company performing 'San Lin or The Cat and the Cherub' at the Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester for May 11th 1899 - Courtesy Jeffrey Bennett, Prison Fellowship UK

In 1921 the interior of the Theatre was again reconstructed, this time for Cinema use and most of the stage was removed along with one of the Balconies.

In 1963 the Theatre was furthur reconstructed for Cinerama.

 

The Theatre Royal, Manchester's procenium and stage hidden behind a cinerama curtain whilst the Theatre was being used for Bingo in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.

Above - The Theatre Royal, Manchester's procenium and stage hidden behind a cinerama curtain whilst the Theatre was being used for Bingo in 1980 - Photo Courtesy Ted Bottle.

In 1972 the Theatre was converted for Bingo and in the 1990s it was converted into a Nightclub, but given the will and the finance the Theatre is probably restorable to its former Theatrical use.

There is an interesting article on the Theatre Royal on the website of the Widescreen Movies Magazine here.

In October 2009 the Theatre Royal, which is Manchester's oldest surviving Theatre, was put forward as one of the proposed new homes for the Library Theatre Company but they will now be moving to a new £19m venue on First Street in the city centre along with the Cornerhouse cinema. The existing Cornerhouse building, on Oxford Street, is likely to be redeveloped. The new venue is proposed to open in 2014.

Rehearsals for 'The Decision at the Theatre Royal, Manchester in July 2010 -  Photo Ashley JS McKenzie - Courtesy Mia Darlone.

Rehearsals for 'The Decision at the Theatre Royal, Manchester in July 2010 -  Photo Ashley JS McKenzie - Courtesy Mia Darlone.Above and Right - Rebecca Andrews and Paul Brandreth in rehearsals for 'The Decision at the Theatre Royal, Manchester in July 2010. The production was written and produced by Mia Darlone and directed by Charlie Mortimer, and was the first theatre production at the Theatre Royal since 1921. It was put together with no budget and used to showcase the script for the screen, and with the hope of gaining further opportunities within the industry for everyone involved in the production. - Photo Ashley JS McKenzie - Courtesy Mia Darlone.

In 2010 it was announced that a production of 'The Decision' presented by Mia Darlone would be staged at the Theatre Royal in late July, the first stage production to be produced there since 1921. More details can be found here.

An article in the Manchester Evening News of the 20th of November 2012 said that the Theatre Royal had been bought by the Edwardian Hotels group who own the adjacent hotel in the former Free Trade Hall. The article says that the Hotel Group plan to 'restore and refurbish' the building and one can only hope that it will be reopened as a live Theatre again. The Theatre is currently vacant and the front entrance was recently boarded up. Full article here.

 

The Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester in July 2009 - Courtesy Charles Bowman

Above - The Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester in July 2009 - Courtesy Charles Bowman

If you have any more information about this Theatre of have programmes or images you are willing to share please Contact Me.