York Theatre Royal (Theatre)

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1744 The New Theatre is built on the present site, over and among the ruins of the medieval St. Leonard’s Hospital.

1765 The theatre is rebuilt and enlarged to seat 550.

1769 A Royal Patent is granted and the theatre is renamed the Theatre Royal.

1821/4 Further improvements are made to the building, including the installation of gas lighting.

1835 A new frontage is built facing the newly-created St. Leonard’s Place. The stage is also rebuilt to include traps.

1865 The auditorium is redecorated.

1870 The pit is enlarged and the stage renewed. The Georgian proscenium doors are removed.

1875 Stage boxes are added, upholstered seats are fitted in the Dress Circle, the Upper Circle is built and the Gallery rebuilt, the proscenium arch is renewed, the pit is enlarged, the Theatre is now firmly Victorian in style.

1880 A new Victorian Gothic frontage is added, decorated with carved heads representing Elizabeth I and characters from Shakespeare’s plays.

1888 The space beneath the Dress Circle is opened out to extend the pit (now called the Stalls). The Theatre now seats 1400.

1901 The interior is refurbished to Frank Tugwell’s design. Art Nouveau plasterwork is added to the fronts of the circle and boxes, electric light is installed, seating in the Dress and Upper Circles is changed, the stage is enlarged.

1967 The Theatre is extensively modernised throughout, new front of house facilities and a staircase to all levels is provided in the award-winning concrete and glass foyer extension, designed by Patrick Gwynne, a counterweight flying system is installed backstage, the dressing rooms are refurbished, the auditorium is redecorated in green, the Theatre now seats 899.

1978 The auditorium is redecorated in brown, red and gold.

1980 Computerised lighting control is installed.

1983/4 The auditorium seating is refurbished in terracotta red.

1991 The Theatre is re-wired and the foyer area refurbished, with the addition of a wheelchair lift. A computerised Box Office system is installed.

1992 Work is carried out to improve the comfort of the Upper Circle, the Box Office is redesigned to give better public access. The Theatre now seats 863.

1993 Backstage areas (Green Room and Dressing Rooms) are re-wired and redecorated.

1994 The auditorium is completely refurbished, painted in dark green, white and gold with dark red seating and carpeting, a specially designed chandelier is installed.

1995 A more technically advanced stage lighting system is installed. A structural survey of the stage floor resulted in certain areas being strengthened.

1998 An improved sound system and mixing console are installed.

1999 The Keregan Room is converted from the medieval undercroft of a building in the St. Leonard’s Hospital complex. It is regularly hired by local businesses for meetings.

2001 Temporary Studio space opens in old paintshop.

2003 Studio space refurbished and made permanent, with disabled lift, air conditioning and moveable seating installed.

2006 A secure online booking system is launched.

2007 York Theatre Royal achieves the Investors in People standard ( the only producing theatre in Yorkshire to receive this accolade)

2008 Move from the theatre to the national Railway Museum for The Railway Children

2008 TMA Award-winners for Achievement in Marketing

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Alternative Company Names

  • York Youth theatre
  • York Theatre Royal Young Actors
  • Theatre Royal York
  • The York Theatre Royal
  • The York Royal Theatre