NEWS: Theatre Royal celebrates 150th anniversary

Theatre Royal will tomorrow (28th November) celebrate its 150th birthday, an extraordinary milestone that will be honoured over the next few months with a range of events.

Theatre Royal’s celebratory year will be marked with a special Gala performance of La Traviata on Tuesday 28 November; the premiere of Scottish Opera’s Lauder; a digital memory sharing campaign; a series of specially themed tours – all while the venue continues to showcase a diverse range of high-end touring productions and educational opportunities.

LA TRAVIATA GALA PERFORMANCE

A special Gala performance of Scottish Opera’s La Traviata on Tuesday 28 November will mark the birthday of Theatre Royal. The HRH the Duchess of Gloucester, who has been the patron of Scottish Opera for over 30 years, will attend.

SCOTTISH OPERA’S LAUDER

Scottish Opera’s production of Lauder starring Jamie Dougall will premiere on Wednesday 29 November. This new production will explore the figure of Sir Harry Lauder, the legendary Scottish entertainer who has a rich history at the Theatre Royal.

Sir Harry debuted his classic song ‘I Love a Lassie’ onstage at Theatre Royal in 1905 when he appeared in his first pantomime, Aladdin, and in Red Riding Hood in 1910 he performed ‘Roamin’ in the gloamin’’, making Lauder a fitting celebration of the theatre’s 150th year.

Lauder will be performed in the Upper Circle Foyer alongside the run of Scottish Opera’s La Traviata w/c 27 November.

THEMED THEATRE TOURS

Everyone who would love to hear the theatre’s thrilling stories can join one of the special birthday tours that are planned at the theatre. A 150th Anniversary tour will involve audiences in all aspects of the theatre, families are welcome at the explorative Family-Friendly Tours, and thrill seekers can come along at the After Dark Tours taking place after performances.

DIGITAL MEMORY SHARING CAMPAIGN

Audiences, employees and performers are encouraged to share their memories of Theatre Royal in the form of stories and pictures of the theatre. An online campaign will run throughout the celebratory year to give everyone a chance to contribute to and enjoy the stories at the theatre.

James Haworth, theatre director at Theatre Royal, said: “Over the last 150 years, Theatre Royal has become strongly rooted in the city of Glasgow and plays an important role in its culture.

“We are proud to host the high quality productions that tour with us as well as the vast range of community and educational activities that are held at the theatre. I look forward to celebrating this milestone together with our audiences over the course of the anniversary year”

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THEATRE ROYAL

The first theatre on the present site at the top of Glasgow’s Hope Street was designed by architect George Bell.  Called Bayliss’ Coliseum Theatre and Opera House.  It was opened on Thursday 28th November 1867. The name was changed to the Theatre Royal by charter granted by Queen Victoria.

On 2nd February 1879 the Theatre Royal was completely destroyed by fire and rebuilt shortly afterwards to the design of London architect, Charles John Phipps.

The rebuilt Theatre Royal was opened on 26 October 1880 under the management of Miss Marie Litton until Messrs. Howard & Wyndham took possession in July 1888.  The Theatre Royal reopened yet again in September 1888 with Mr. Henry Irving and The Lyceum Company in Faust.

On 1st March 1895 the Theatre was again destroyed by fire and reopened in September beginning the long and successful association of the Theatre Royal with the best in the world of entertainment.

In 1956 the Theatre Royal was sold to Scottish Television for conversion into a studio complex.

In 1975 the Theatre Royal became the permanent home of Scottish Opera.

In 2005 the Theatre Royal underwent another change of ownership when Scottish Opera signed over the theatre to the Ambassador Theatre Group on a 25 year lease. Scottish Opera continues to own the building with ATG assuming operating its management.

In 2014 Theatre Royal underwent an extensive refurbishment – its spiral staircase a prominent feature in the city centre. The new first-class education and event space hold a number of activities including choirs, award ceremony, youth theatre classes and summer schools.