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hiddenshadow
23-01-2012, 04:08 PM
The Theatre Royal - Hyde - September 2011

Visited with NickUK

Originally the theatre was supposed to open as part of the Heritage weekend. The owner's pulled out at the last minute and refused entry to those who queued outside. It was quite funny, there was a crowd outside protesting, lots of noise, singing etc...

We got wind of some ongoing work at the back, this allowed for a cheeky 30 minute sweep of the building...

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The Theatre Royal was opened in 1902 as a replacement for the first Theatre Royal, which stood in Frank Street; this was owned by the Hyde Theatre Company Limited who secured the land for a newer and better theatre in 1901. It opened as the New Theatre Royal in 1902 and seated 1000.

The faše to Corporation Street was a flat but not unpleasing composition in red brick and terracotta, three storeys high, in three major bays, the centre having an arched, shallow central recess with a semi-circular arched head and pilasters rising from corbels to support a triangular pediment, richly decorated with moulded brickwork. Good intimate auditorium with two balconies curving round to meet the proscenium, which has been altered. The dressing rooms are at the side of the auditorium.

In 1914, the theatre was leased for cinema use, and called the New Royal Cinema, but the name of Theatre Royal was soon in use again for the regular pantomimes, variety and local shows. In 1950 it became a repertory theatre for two years, and thereafter reverted to cinema with Christmas pantomime and occasional shows until the 1960s when it was used largely as a cinema. The last show was staged in October 1972. The stage area was then converted into a second cinema. It finally closed as a cinema in 1992/3.

Good intimate auditorium with two balconies curving round to meet the altered proscenium. Despite prolonged disuse, this remained undivided, retaining much of its theatrical atmosphere. The flies, grid and 13.4m (44ft) deep raked stage also remained and conversion back to live use would probably have been feasible. The theatre was well situated in the town centre, adjacent to the architecturally inferior Festival Theatre (ironically the converted Alexandra Cinema and Billiard Hall) now used by the amateur companies, who transferred their productions when the Royal lost the stage area.

Although consent for demolition was given in 1999 and a redevelopment scheme, including plans for a pub on the site, approved, the building was spot-listed in April 2000. A trust was set up with a view to acquiring it but it was offered for auction in 2005 and prospects for success seem to have ebbed away with its sale for housing. It remains, nevertheless, a listed building.

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Cheers :thumb