THEATRE ROYAL

WHERE IS IT? At the north end of Hope Street, just up the road from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Originally opening in 1867 as the Royal Colosseum & Opera House, it is the longest-running theatre in all of Scotland. Owned by James Bayliss, it was designed by George Bell of architecture firm Clarke & Bell, who would later go on to found the Glasgow Institute of Architects.



Bayliss leased it to a pair of theatre owners, William Glover and George Francis. Their theatre, the original Theatre Royal, had been demolished to make way for the new St. Enoch Railway Station. Along with the theatre name, they also brought their entire cast and crew. In 1879, the theatre’s auditorium was irreparably damaged by fire, and had to be rebuilt. Famous English theatre architect Charles J. Phipps envisioned the French Renaissance style that still stands today.


In the next decade, the theatre changed managers numerous times. Baillie Michael Williams brought together actors Irishman John B. Howard and the Edinburgh born Frederick WP Wyndham to form Howard & Wyndham, the theatre management firm that would later go on to take over the Glasgow King’s Theatre.



Bayliss leased it to a pair of theatre owners, William Glover and George Francis. Their theatre, the original Theatre Royal, had been demolished to make way for the new St. Enoch Railway Station. Along with the theatre name, they also brought their entire cast and crew. In 1879, the theatre’s auditorium was irreparably damaged by fire, and had to be rebuilt. Famous English theatre architect Charles J. Phipps envisioned the French Renaissance style that still stands today.


In the next decade, the theatre changed managers numerous times. Baillie Michael Williams brought together actors Irishman John B. Howard and the Edinburgh born Frederick WP Wyndham to form Howard & Wyndham, the theatre management firm that would later go on to take over the Glasgow King’s Theatre.


Despite Howard’s death weeks after the company was formed, it eventually went on to become the biggest theatre companies in all of Britain. The Royal, its flagship theatre, was ravaged by fire again not long after Howard & Wyndham took over, but Phipps was able to restore his original design with a few improvements.


In the late 1950s, Howard & Wyndham invested in Scottish Television, with the Royal passing onto the television station, and was sold in the 1970s to Scottish Opera. The company invested in heavy restoration work, and increasing its size, converting it into Scotland’s first national opera house. In the next two decades, it would also become home to the Scottish Ballet as well as the Scottish Theatre Company.



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