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Firms: Hope & Maxwell
Previous Names: Theatre Royal, Royal Cinema
The first Theatre Royal was opened in 1866, and was designed by a Mr. Blessy and fronted onto Albert Street. Noted theatre architect Frank Matcham made some alterations in 1890.
In 1900, a second Theatre Royal was built within the walls of the first theatre, with the entire interior reversed, the entrance was now on Sussex Street. It was designed by the architectural firm Hope & Maxwell, and opened on 24th December 1900 with the pantomime “Aladdin”. Seating was provided in pit, orchestra stalls, dress circle and gallery, with boxes on each side of the proscenium. The ceiling had paintings of flowers. There was standing room for 550. The stage was 40 feet deep and there were ten dressing rooms. At the end of 1914, it had been re-named Royal Cinema, but the theatre went back to live theatre use and reverted back to the Theatre Royal name
Taken over from Thomas Thompson by the Denman/Gaumont British Theatres chain in March 1928, it began cinema use. However, it was taken over by an independent operator on 24th November 1930 and again re-named Royal Cinema. Then in 1932, Sol Sheckman’s S.S. Blyth Kinemas Ltd. chain took over operations, and continued with a mix of cinema and live theatre use. This chain was later merged with the Essoldo Cinemas chain, and the Royal Cinema was re-named Essoldo from 24th April 1953, following the installation of CinemaScope.
The Essoldo was closed as a cinema on 17th July 1961. It was re-opened as a cinema again on 31st December 1961, and closed on 30th June 1962. It was converted into a bingo club and was closed and demolished in 1978. Housing was built on the site.
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