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Last Show at the Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal, Birmingham was originally called the New Theatre. It was a 2000 seat theatre located on New Street in Birmingham and was erected in 1774 and then finally demolished in 1956.

Theatre Royal 1774

Closed Saturday 15th December 1956

The theatre was damaged by fire in 1792 and again in 1820, after which it was rebuilt. In 1897 W. S. Gilbert's The Fortune Hunter premiered at the theatre. The theatre was rebuilt again in 1902, reopening in 1904 with 2200 seats.

The Theatre Royal finally closed on Saturday 15th December 1956 with a performance of the Fol de Rols featuring a young Leslie Crowther.

Newspaper clippings along with text from the Birmingham Post & Birmingham Gazette of the closing event are supplied by Howarth Nutthall, baritone singer with the company in that period.

Published here October 2013

Birmingham Post & Birmingham Gazette

Last show at the Theatre Royal (report published Monday December 17th 1956)

Theatre Royal

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman E.W. Apps, speaking at the end of the last show at the Theatre Royal on Saturday night. Interior demolition began immediately after the audience had left.

Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal

The Fol-de-Rols line up for the final curtain of the final show. And behind the gaiety is finality. As William Makepeace Thackery wrote: "The play is done; the curtain drops." But at least there's knowledge that the Royal's story has ended on a note of cheerful humour.

Two pieces of the old building above will still exist - the medallions pictured at each side at the top of this page. These stone portraits of Shakespear and Garrick that survived two burnings and one demolition, to be bought finally by Phillip Rodway and presented to the theatre, have been removed from the circle staircase ready to be included into the new building expected to be erected on the Inner Ring Road.

The house is dead, but what is housed can never die. For drama is the grace that makes witchery of whispers and breathes delight into a painted mask.

Do You Remember

Newsclipping, published 12th September 2000

Theatre Royal