Georgian Theatre Royal

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"Theatre Royal, Richmond" redirects here. For the former Theatre Royal in Richmond upon Thames, see Richmond Theatre.
Georgian Theatre Royal
Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, North Yorkshire, 1972
Outbuilding of Georgian Theatre Royal, 1972
Address Victoria Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4DW
Richmond, North Yorkshire
United Kingdom
Owner Georgian Theatre Royal Trust
Opened 1788
Reopened 1963

The Georgian Theatre Royal is a theatre and historic Georgian playhouse in the market town of Richmond, North Yorkshire, England. It is among the oldest of Britain's extant theatres.[1]


It was built in 1788 by the actor-manager Samuel Butler (died 1812 [2]) and was one of his circuit of theatres, the others being located in Beverley, Harrogate, Kendal, Northallerton, Ripon, Ulverston and Whitby, though none of these are now open. Regular performances at the theatre continued until 1830, when performances became less frequent and in 1848 it was let as an auction house. The Georgian Theatre Royal was reopened by a non-profit trust in 1963, it was expanded in 1996 and had major restoration works, including the addition of a museum, costing £1.6 million in 2002, reopening once again in 2003.[3]

Theatre building[edit]

It is now fully restored and seats 214. The building is Grade I listed.[4] and has hosted Georgian star Edmund Kean, and other figures such as Dame Sybil Thorndike, Joyce Grenfell and Alan Bennett. The venue also houses a 180-member youth theatre. The Theatre Royal possesses the oldest known set of theatrical scenery in existence. Known as 'The Woodland Scene', it was painted in a workshop in Royston, Hertfordshire and dates back to around 1820.[5] Dame Judi Dench is the theatre's president and Hamish Ogston and Sir Thomas Allen are vice-presidents.[4]

Closure threat[edit]

On 1 May 2013 it launched a funding campaign to save it from closure.[6] It was seeking to raise an initial £122,500.


  1. ^ Andrews, Robert; Teller, Matthew. The Rough Guide To Britain. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Sykes, Alan (30 October 2012). "Yorkshire's unique Georgian theatre founds new £850,000 learning centre". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "About Us". Georgian Theatre Royal. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  5. ^ The Woodland Scene - theatre scenery. A History of the World. BBC/British Museum. Accessed 9 October 2013.
  6. ^ Youngs, Ian (28 April 2013). "Appeal to save Richmond's historic Georgian Theatre Royal". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°24′15″N 1°44′17″W / 54.40409°N 1.73801°W / 54.40409; -1.73801