Assembly Rooms

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Venue Type & Location

Multi-use

Site Name: Assembly Rooms
Location: Bristol
County: Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location

Overview

  • Address: Prince Street, Bristol.
    Click here for map



  • Alternate Names: New Music Room (during the 18th C.), The Regency Theatre (after 1811)



  • Capacity: In a letter printed in the Bristol Mercury during 1850, the assembly rooms were criticized for being “too small” for concerts. Specific information about venue capacity is unknown.



  • Audience Composition: In the 18th Century, the rooms were a gathering place for the local elite. Information about the typical audiences between 1842 and 1852 is still to be found.



  • Performance Space Description: Peter Borsay suggests that, during the 18th Century, Assembly Rooms (including the Prince Street venue) consisted of opulent ballrooms, plus “whole suites of finely decorated rooms that could be used for activities other than dancing” (160). Further research into the nature of the performance space following its refitting as a theatrical venue is still required.



  • Typical Fare: During the height of their popularity in the late 1700s, the rooms were mainly used for dancing, card playing, and other forms of fashionable leisure activity. In 1812, shortly after the space was converted for theatrical use, burlettas were the most common offering. By the mid 19th Century, the assembly rooms offered any number of types of entertainment, including variety concerts, magic shows, and exhibitions of moving panoramas.
  • Performance History

  • The Assembly Rooms were built in 1754 and 1755, using funds raised by subscription. 120 shareholders purchased shares of 30 pounds each, making the total cost of construction 3,600 pounds.



  • The venue was converted for theatrical use in 1811. It then served a variety of purposes before being partially demolished during the 1920s. Final demolition took place in 1956.




    Please see the 'Bibliographic Sources' link at right for a complete listing of materials (both primary and secondary) from which the above information was compiled.


    Beth Marquis

  • Troupes at Assembly Rooms

    Troupe Troupe Type # of events
    Cave, J.H. Minstrel 1
    Holt, Charles Band 8
    No Troupe 8

    Events at Assembly Rooms

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Variety 31 March 1845 - 5 April 1845 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire Cave, J.H.
    Exhibition 4 October 1849 - 6 October 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire No Troupe, Holt, Charles
    Exhibition 8 October 1849 - 13 October 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire Holt, Charles, No Troupe
    Exhibition 15 October 1849 - 20 October 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire No Troupe, Holt, Charles
    Exhibition 22 October 1849 - 27 October 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire No Troupe, Holt, Charles
    Exhibition 12 November 1849 - 17 November 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire Holt, Charles, No Troupe
    Exhibition 19 November 1849 - 24 November 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire No Troupe, Holt, Charles
    Exhibition 26 November 1849 - 1 December 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire No Troupe, Holt, Charles
    Exhibition 3 December 1849 - 8 December 1849 Bristol, Bristol (city-county) in Gloucestershire No Troupe, Holt, Charles

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Barker, Kathleen. The Theatre Royal Bristol. 1766-1966. London: The Society for Theatre Research, 1974.
    • Borsay, Peter. The English Urban Renaissance. Culture and Society in the Provincial Town, 1660-1770. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002.
    • Gomme, Andor Harvey, Michael Jenner & Bryan D.G. Little. Bristol: An Architectural History. London: Lund Humphries, 1979.