Theatre Royal, Birmingham

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Venue Type & Location

Theatre

Site Name: Theatre Royal, Birmingham
Location: Birmingham
County: Warwickshire
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location

Overview

  • Address: New Street, Birmingham.
    Click Here for map.



  • Alternate Names: Theatre (pre-1807)



  • Capacity: Definitive information about the capacity of the theatre in the mid-19th Century has not been found, although Andrew Spencer claims that it held 2,500 spectators (see: Birmingham 'Synchronopsis'.)



  • Performance Space Description: During the years covered by this database, the Theatre Royal was fronted by a façade that had been designed by Samuel Wyatt in 1780. This frontage, according to the Theatres Trust Site, “was a fine neo-classical design of two storeys in five bays, the two outer bays being higher by a low attic with a pitched roof. The three centre bays had entrances set behind a recessed arcade, above which was a first floor loggia with coupled doric columns and a crowning balustrade”. An image of this façade (c. 1830) can be seen Here (Postaprint Site, Images from William Smith's A New and Compendious History of the County of Warwick. Scroll down and click on the Theatre Royal link). Little information has yet been located about the characteristics of the performance space itself.



  • Performance History

  • The first theatre on the site of what would become the Theatre Royal was erected in 1774. The above mentioned façade was added to this building in 1780, and survived the 1792 fire that destroyed much of the original auditorium.



  • The theatre was then rebuilt (from plans by George Saunders), and re-opened in 1794. In 1807, it was granted a Royal patent.


  • This theatre too was largely destroyed by fire in 1820 (though the Wyatt frontage again survived). Samuel Beazley was chosen to redesign the space, and it opened once more in the summer of 1828.



  • The Beazley Theatre and Wyatt façade remained (with some alterations) until they were razed to make way for a new design (by Runtz) in 1902. In 1956, the theatre was finally demolished for good. Retail stores and offices now stand in its place.



    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.



    Additional resources (which have not yet been accessed), include:


  • Cunningham, John. E. Theatre Royal; the History of the the Theatre Royal, Birmingham. Oxford: G. Ronald, 1950.


  • Pemberton, T. Edgar. The Theatre Royal, Birmingham, 1774-1901. A Record and Some Recollections. Birmingham: Cond Bros., 1901.


  • Birmingham City Archives. A listing of many of the archives’ holdings pertaining to the Theatre Royal can be seen on the Access to Archives site - Here.


    Beth Marquis

  • Troupes at Theatre Royal, Birmingham

    Events at Theatre Royal, Birmingham

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Dramatic 17 November 1845 - 17 November 1845 Birmingham, Warwickshire Aldridge, Ira
    Minstrel Show 18 December 1848 - 20 December 1848 Birmingham, Warwickshire Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Minstrel Show 21 December 1848 - 22 December 1848 Birmingham, Warwickshire Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Minstrel Show 19 March 1849 - 24 March 1849 Birmingham, Warwickshire Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Minstrel Show 26 March 1849 - 31 March 1849 Birmingham, Warwickshire Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Dramatic 17 February 1851 - 17 February 1851 Birmingham, Warwickshire Black Doctor Troupe (Birmingham, 51)
    Dramatic 31 March 1851 - 31 March 1851 Birmingham, Warwickshire Brooke, G.V.

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Andrew Spencer’s Birmingham ‘Synchronopsis’. 03/20/2008 (http://www.bham.de/index_synchro.html)
    • Birmingham Journal March 24, 1849: 8: 3.
      Info in Record:
      • surrounding performances at venue:
    • Birmingham Journal and Commercial Advertiser December 16, 1848: 1: 1 (1st ad in column).
      Info in Record:
      • venue staff
    • Birmingham Journal and Commercial Advertiser December 16, 1848: 1: 1 (1st ad in column).
      Info in Record:
      • venue staff
    • Era (London) December 24, 1848: 11: 3.
      Info in Record:
      • surrounding performances at venue:

        “theatre re-opens on Tuesday evening next with Knowles’s Virginius (…) The great event of the season is of course the production of the Pantomime”
      • venue season:

        “have been filling up the interregnum between the theatrical seasons”
    • Era (London) March 25, 1849: 12: 1.
      Info in Record:
      • additional performances at venue
    • Midland Counties Herald March 15, 1849: 43: 7.
      Info in Record:
      • additional performances at venue:

        (appears at end of advertisement for the week’s bill at the theatre)
    • Midland Counties Herald, Birmingham and General Advertiser December 21, 1848: 203: 7.
      Info in Record:
      • venue staff
    • Midland Counties Herald, Birmingham and General Advertiser December 21, 1848: 202: 7.
      Info in Record:
      • venue season:

        ("filling the interregnum between the theatrical seasons")
    • Postaprint Site. (Images from Smith, William. A New and Compendious History of the County of Warwick Birmingham: W. Emmans, 1830/1).. 03/20/2008 (http://www.antiquemapsandprints.com/books/uk-warcs-smith-1830.htm)
    • Theatres Trust Website. 03/06/2008 (http://www.theatrestrust.org.uk)

      (Search 'Theatre Royal Birmingham')