His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen

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His Majesty's Theatre
Aberdeen Playhouse
Exterior of His Majesty's Theatre
Address Rosemount Viaduct
Coordinates 57°08′53″N 2°06′18″W / 57.148°N 2.1049°W / 57.148; -2.1049Coordinates: 57°08′53″N 2°06′18″W / 57.148°N 2.1049°W / 57.148; -2.1049
Owner Aberdeen Performing Arts
Designation Category A listed
Type Regional theatre
Capacity 1,470 seated (now)
2,300 on four levels (1906)
Current use Touring productions
Opened 3 December 1906
Rebuilt 2003-5 LDN Architects
Architect Frank Matcham

His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen is the largest theatre in north-east Scotland, seating more than 1,400. The theatre is sited on Rosemount Viaduct, opposite the city's Union Terrace Gardens. It was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1906. On its centenary in 2006, the theatre was "twinned" with His Majesty's Theatre in Perth, Western Australia.[1]

The venue was bought in 1933 by James F Donald, a local businessman, who refurbished the venue and introduced features such as external neon lighting, a cinema projector and a revolving stage – at its time, the only one in Scotland. Upon his death, James F Donald’s sons took over the management of His Majesty’s Theatre thus continuing the "Donald Dynasty" until it was bought by Aberdeen City Council in 1975. Through purchasing the venue, the Council allocated £3.5 million to ensure the buildings survival. After 23 months of closure the theatre was reopened in 1982 by Prince Charles.[2]

After a National Lottery grant was awarded in 1999, the theatre was the subject of a refurbishment and extension. The new glass-fronted box office, café and restaurant was designed by City Architect Trevor Smith, who also designed the award-winning Aberdeen Maritime Museum. The auditorium was completely refurbished and new seats were installed. Backstage facilities were also upgraded.

The theatre is regularly visited by Scotland's national arts companies and hosts performances from other major companies and the annual Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

The theatre is managed by Aberdeen Performing Arts which also runs The Music Hall, and The Lemon Tree.


  1. ^ Edi Swan: His Majesty's Theatre – One Hundred Years of Glorious Damnation (Black & White Publishing) (2006) ISBN 978-1-84502-102-3
  2. ^ http://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/about-us/history
  • Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 2–3 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3

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