This iconic building, designed by local architects John and Benjamin Green, is more than just a performance venue. It opened on 20th February 1837 with a double bill of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘The Young Widow’. Sadly the original interior of the building was destroyed by a fire in 1899, after a performance of ‘Macbeth’. It reopened in 1901 following a re-design by the famous theatre designer Frank Matcham and underwent further refurbishment in the 1980’s, reopening again in 1988 with a performance of ‘A Man For All Seasons’ starring Charlton Heston. In 2011, the Theatre Royal underwent a £5m refurbishment of its auditorium involving all the seats being replaced with Edwardian style theatre seats.
The Orchestra Pit and Stage Lift were also replaced in order to accommodate better facilities for musicals and opera. Reopening on 12th September 2011 with Alan Bennett’s drama, ‘The Madness of George III’, this theatre has gone from strength to strength. Today, it hosts an array of shows including dance, ballet, musicals, opera and drama and the annual Pantomime is the fastest selling in the UK. Hosting over 30 visiting shows a season, the Theatre Royal attracts the top touring shows from across the UK, bringing the highest quality shows and performers to North East audiences.