Over 200 years ago, the Theatre Royal was envisaged by two Nottingham lace dressers, William and John Lambert, as a 'temple of drama'...a place of "innocent recreation and of moral and intellectual culture". In 1865, after six months of building and at a cost of £15,000, the new Theatre Royal was completed. The Classic facade and Corinthian columns still dominate Nottingham's city centre skyline.
One of the most luxurious theatres of its day, the Theatre Royal provided opulent surroundings for the boom of music hall and variety, the birth of light opera, exciting new drama, touring opera and, by the twenties and thirties, the best Hollywood-style musicals and pantomimes.
By the late 1960's the Theatre Royal had become run down and had a reputation for some of the worst backstage conditions in the country. In 1969, the city council bought it and set about restoring the theatre to its former glory.
In 1978 the Theatre Royal reopened, boasting elegant and airy foyers and bars, a 1,186 seat auditorium beautifully restored in Victorian style green and gilt decor and with fully comprehensive and technically upgraded backstage facilities. The Theatre Royal is now regarded as one of the best touring venues in the country, attracting major touring dramas, opera, ballet, West End musicals and, of course, an annual pantomime.
The Royal Concert Hall
The Empire Theatre of Varieties opened alongside the Theatre Royal in 1898 on the site of the Theatre Royal's old dressing rooms. The Empire lasted 60 glorious, racy years showing risqué comics, saucy ladies, mind-boggling magicians and rock 'n' roll stars, with huge billings including Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. However, it closed in 1958, and was demolished in 1969.
The Theatre Royal's success after its renovation paved the way for the Royal Centre's second phase, the construction of a state-of-the-art Concert Hall on the site of the old Empire.
Construction of the Royal Concert Hall began in 1980 and was completed in 1982. The air conditioned auditorium seats 2,499 and has highly complex and versatile sound and lighting system.
The Royal Concert Hall is one of the most popular concert venues on the touring circuit, attracting leading orchestras, comedians and dance acts plus rock bands and solo artistes from all over the world. Its versatility and size make it ideal for conferences, exhibitions, scientific lectures and product launches.
The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall are served by one fully computerised Box Office located in the main entrance foyer of the Royal Concert Hall. It is open from 8.30am to 8.30pm Monday to Saturday and handles the sale of millions of tickets every year.