Theatre Royal

A large theatre in the Newcastle city centre.

Fun facts

  1. The Theatre Royal opened on 20th February 1788.
  2. It was granted its Royal licence by King George III.
  3. The Theatre Royal was originally located on Drury Lane, off Mosley Street in Newcastle.
  4. In 1823 a small fire broke out during the first half of the play ‘Tom and Jerry’. The fire was easily put out, but panic ensued and 8 people were trampled in the rush to evacuate.
  5. It was decided that a new Theatre should be rebuilt to replace the one built in 1788, and a new Theatre on Grey Street was built and opened in 1837 (this is the current location of the Theatre Royal today).
  6. A huge fire broke out in 1899 in the building on Grey Street, following a performance of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which destroyed the interior of the building. The interior was redesigned by the theatre architect and designer, Frank Matcham, and re-opened in 1901.
  7. Today, it is classed as a Grade I Listed building, which means it is a building of exceptional historical interest. There are 8 other Grade I listed theatre halls in England, making it a stunning landmark in Newcastle.
  8. Legend has it that there is a resident ghost in the theatre, called The Grey Lady of the Gallery. The story goes that a young lady fell in love with an actor who was performing at the theatre. They planned to run away together but he instead decided to run away without her. Whilst standing in the gallery (a form of balcony in the theatre), she saw him leaving and stretched over to reach him, but instead fell to her death.

Then and now

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Find more images of the Theatre Royal on the Co-Curate website.

Voices from the past

Photograph of girl dress in Victorian clothingA retired Newcastle actress recalls how she got into acting and how delighted she was to be invited to act at the Theatre Royal.


N.B. This audio clip is a work of fiction written and performed by a secondary school student. Although inspired by a real place in Newcastle and Gateshead, the
characters and incidents which feature in it are either products of the student’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Dates and other information referred to in the clip may not be accurate.

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