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The Theatre Royal (Established 1805) (Bath)



  • Existence: Established 1805


The Theatre Royal in Bath, England is an A Grade II* listed building, built in 1805 and one of the most important surviving examples of Georgian theatre architecture in the United Kingdom.

The Theatre Royal was built to replace the Old Orchard Street Theatre and soon established a good reputation and thrived under the management of William Wyatt Dimond. In addition to Shakespeare and other serious drama, the programme included opera, comedy and pantomime.

Between the early and the mid 1800s there were a series of changes in ownership and management of the theatre. This together with the Puritan revival movement that took off in Britain at the time and a fall in Bath's popularity as a tourist destination, sent the theatre into a period of decline. Although the following decades were hard for the business, it managed to survive through successive changes in management and the reinvention of the site.

In 1862 a devastating fire destroyed everything but the exterior walls. Upon reconstruction, the theatre reopened but struggled to attract an audience despite offering a high quality programme of drama and engaging some of the best acts in the country. Through the late 1880s the trend in constant change of management and programming continued and the theatre enjoyed fluctuating periods of success.

In 1914 the Theatre Royal changed management once again. Despite managing to survive the both World Wars the advent of television and popularity of cinema in the 1950s saw its audience dwindled again and the theatre went into decline once more.

In 1979 the theatre was bought by a trust and underwent refurbishment. In 1997 the Ustinov Studio, was opened and in 2005 The Egg, a children's theatre. In 2009, the '2010 Refurbishment Appeal' was launched by the Duchess of Cornwall, who is the Royal Patron of the theatre and the building re-opened on 8 September 2010.

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, Wednesday 26 December c1934

Reference code: 178K50.2
Scope and Contents Bath. Reg. A. Maddox presents Little Bo-Peep with Billy Seldom, Kathleen West, Joan Beauchamp, Phyllis Banister, Alec. C. Ball, Violet Maclaren, Fido the dog, Harry Turner, Fay Clare, Ivan Grey & Elsie Leigh, Kenae Harker, Handby and Celeine and Terry Wood. Specialities by Flo and Jessie Denton’s Girls and The Vernon Babes and Handby and Celeine. Red and black type on white background with solid red and black border on the front cover, inside black and white photographs of performers and...
Dates: Wednesday 26 December c1934

Additional filters:

Archival Object 2
Collection 1
Acrobats 2
Business 1
Circus 1
Clowning 1
Comedians 2