Theatre Royal

14 King Street,
South Shields, NE33 1JE

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The Theatre Royal was opened in 1866. It was designed by noted theatre architect C.J. Phipps. On its facade (designed by local South Shields architect T.M. Clemence) was a large prediment, supported by pillars(all now removed). Alterations were carried out in 1891 when the circle & galley fronts were altered to the plans of Jos H. Morton. He was also employed in 1893 when the pit entrance was altered and again in 1899 when he designed a new cast iron canopy over the main entrance.

During the run of the pantomime “Aladdin” in January 1897, Downey’s Living Pictures were screened. The Theatre Royal continued as a live theatre until 1920 when it was closed for alterations by architect T.R. Milburn to convert it into a cinema. It re-opened on 4th April 1921 screening “Patricia Brent, Spinster”. It had a salon orchestra and a grand organ to accompany the silent films.

The Theatre Royal had a short life as a cinema, closing on 29th September 1921 with “The Price of Innocence”. It returned to live theatre use, reopening on 31st December 1928, but the Cinematograph License was retained until 1933. The Theatre Royal closed on 18th November 1933 and was converted into a Marks & Spencers store. The M&S store was closed at the end of March 2014.

As King Steet is pedestrianised the Google Street view is of the rear back-stage section of the building.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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