Theatre Royal

Theatre Street,
Norwich, NR2 1RL

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Additional Info

Architects: Frank Matcham

Firms: Frank Matcham & Company

Previous Names: Empire and Theatre Royal

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This was the second Theatre Royal to operate in Norwich, Norfolk. It was opened on 27th March 1826 with “School For Scandal”. Gas lighting was installed in 1836, replacing oil lamps. It was closed in 1894 to be remodelled to the plans of noted theatre architect Frank Matcham. The proscenium was 26ft wide and the stage 40ft deep. It reopened on 24th September 1894. In November 1915 it was renamed Empire and Theatre Royal and went over to presenting variety. In 1916 it went back to its original Theatre Royal name becoming a playhouse.

By 1920, films were the main programming and in 1926 it was operated by Kingshot Syndicate Ltd. and began presenting films, plus variety and pantomimes. The Theatre Royal was destroyed by a fire at the stage end of the building which broke out at 2pm on 22nd June 1934. It quickly spread to the entire building. Topping the bill twice nightly that week was Alfredo and his Gypsy Band.

A new Theatre Royal was built on the site in an Art Deco style, which opened on 30th September 1935. It has its own page on Cinema Treasures.

Contributed by ken Roe
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