Theatre Royal, Wolverhampton

Other Images

Legend
map legend

Venue Type & Location

Theatre

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

Overview

  • Address: Junction of Cleveland Street and Garrick Street, Wolverhampton.
    Click Here for Map.



  • Capacity: An 1856 advertisement for the theatre in The Musical World indicates that it could accommodate “about 1,450, viz., 350 in boxes, 600 in pit, 500 in gallery” (142).



  • Audience Composition: According to both Ned Williams and Bev Parker, the wealthy citizens of Wolverhampton and the surrounding neighbourhoods supported the Theatre Royal following its opening. Soon enough, however, the theatre struggled to maintain an audience of any sort.



  • Performance Space Description: Images of the Theatre Royal suggest that it was a rather stately edifice in the neoclassical style. A grand, thrusting overhang, supported at the front by four ornate Ionic columns, dominated the two-storey building’s façade (see image at right, for example). At present, little has been found about the performance space itself (aside from the aforementioned breakdown of the seating).



  • Typical Fare: Parker suggests that, during the early years of its existence, entertainments at the Theatre Royal frequently consisted of “first class concerts”. Once Charles Dillon and Henry Widdicombe took over the management in 1847, though, the theatre began to focus on contemporary melodramas, along with the odd production of Shakespeare. Popular actors who appeared on the Theatre Royal’s stage during this time included G.V. Brooke, William Macready and Mr. & Mrs. Charles Kean, along with Dillon and Widdicombe themselves.



  • Performance History

  • The Theatre Royal was constructed (due to the inadequacies of Wolverhampton’s existing theatrical facility) in 1844-5. Funds (totaling about 3,000 pounds) were raised by subscription. The Theatre opened, with a performance of The Merchant of Venice, on Easter Monday, 1845.



  • Audiences dwindled throughout the mid-19th Century, however, and the theatre opened and closed on several occasions during the 1870s.


  • In 1894, the theatre was purchased and torn down by the company building the newer Grand Theatre. The Wolverhampton Central Library now stands on what was once the Theatre Royal site.



    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 Theatre Royal, Wolverhampton

    Troupe Troupe Type # of events
    Benson, Wood Dramatic 1
    Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49) Minstrel 2

    Events at Theatre Royal, Wolverhampton

    Event Date Venue Location Troupe
    Minstrel Show 23 December 1848 - 23 December 1848 Wolverhampton, Staffordshire Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Minstrel Show 26 December 1848 - 30 December 1848 Wolverhampton, Staffordshire Ethiopian Serenaders (1848-49)
    Dramatic 14 July 1851 - 14 July 1851 Wolverhampton, Staffordshire Benson, Wood

    Bibliographic Sources

    • Birmingham Journal and Commercial Advertiser December 16, 1848: 1: 1.
      Info in Record:
      • venue description/décor/performance environment
    • Birmingham Journal and Commercial Advertiser December 16, 1848: 1: 1.
      Info in Record:
      • venue description/décor/performance environment
    • Musical World, The March 1, 1856: 142:1.
    • Parker, Bev. “Corners of Old Wolverhampton”.(Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society Website). 03/20/2008 (http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/articles/OldCorners/Oldnewtheatres.htm)
    • Williams, Ned. “Variety Was Always The Same: Wolverhampton’s Theatres – Beyond the World of the Grand”.(Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society Website). 03/20/2008 (http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/articles/Theatres/Theatres.htm)
    • Wolverhampton Chronicle December 22, 1848: 2: 1.
    • Wolverhampton City Council Website – History of Wolverhampton. 03/20/2008 (http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/leisure/theatres)