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The Theatre Royal (c1855 - 1957) (Bilston)



  • Existence: c1855 - 18 May 1957


The Theatre Royal Bilston was situated on Mount Pleasant southeast of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

The Theatre Royal was first built in the mid 1850s and later rebuilt in 1902 under the management of Harry Battersby also ran the Wednesbury Hippodrome. At that time the theatre showed a repertoire of melodrama, pantomimes and occasional variety shows.

In 1910 the lease of the theatre passed from Harry Battersby to Edwin C. Jazon, who also ran the Theatre Royal at West Bromwich. Jazon added films to the programme and by 1912 the theatre was renamed The Royal Hippodrome and Picture Theatre.

In 1924 the lease changed hands once again when it was taken over by Woods Picture Halls. Wood Picture Halls continued to present a variety programme until 1932 when they turned the theatre into a cinema. The Theatre Royal operated as a cinema for the following two years after which variety shows were reinstated.

In 1936 the theatre was then taken over by Astel Pictures and by 1938 they were presenting a season of dramatic plays.

During the Second World War the Theatre closed for a while and when it reopened it had gone back to its variety roots. However, variety shows started to decline during the post war due to the advent of television and the popularity of cinemas and by the 1950s they were mainly populated by nude reviews, which tainted the image of variety shows.

The Theatre Royal closed its doors on 18 May 1957. The building was purchased by the local Council in 1961 and demolished.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Handby Celeine Collection

Reference code: NFA0107
Scope and Contents

Posters, photographs, programmes, 1 piece of sheet music for six instruments and a small amount of business records and correspondence relating to the dancing and burlesque comedy on skates.

Dates: c1920 - 1945; 2020

Programmes, c1932 - 1936

Reference code: 178K50
Scope and Contents

British theatre programmes presenting Handby Celeine acts among others.

Dates: c1932 - 1936

The Theatre Royal Programme, Monday 27 May c1935

Reference code: 178K50.1
Scope and Contents Bilston. Frank H. Fostescue’s all comedy revue, Let’s Stick Together, Billy Camp & Harry Allen comedy act, Jessie Lester, Joan Francis dancing act, James Lates, The Handby Celeine Four skating act, Will Hanby, May Simms, The Glamorous Girls, Arthur Sheldrake, Kitty Iris singing act, Billy Blyth comedy act, Reg Adair musical act. Black type on yellow background with black and yellow illustration of a couple seating at a bench with a wet paint sign on it on the front cover and small...
Dates: Monday 27 May c1935