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Theatres in Carlisle, Cumbria

Her Majesty's Theatre - More Carlisle Theatres coming soon

See Also - Theatres in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria

Her Majesty's Theatre, English Street, Carlisle

Formerly - The Victoria Hall - Later - The Municipal Theatre / The Regal Bingo Club

A photograph of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle.

Above - A photograph of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle - Original image source unknown, please Contact me.

This Theatre was originally constructed as the Victoria Hall in 1874. Situated in English Street, Carlisle it was used for various purposes until being converted to theatrical use and renamed Her Majesty's Theatre. In 1882 the Carlisle Express and Examiner lists the Lessee as Mr Charles Bernard with the Acting Manager being Mr J. E. Miller, and advertising the week commencing 29th April 1882 for performances of 'The Colonel' by Edgar Bruce.

The pantomime at Christmas 1889 was 'Little Red Riding Hood.' being Messrs Imeson's third Grand Pantomime, playing to crowded audiences and featuring Magnificent stage pictures, a Palace Grand Procession, and Wonderful Acrobats. Special trains were laid on for Friday 8th February 1890 leaving Maryport at 6.05pm and on Saturday 9th February 1890 leaving Langholm at 6.0pm, calling at intermediate stations. Evening performances commenced at 7.45pm (doors opened at & 7.15pm) and Saturday matinees commenced at 2.0pm, (doors opened at 1.30pm).

The Carlisle Patriot newspaper of Friday August 16th 1889 reports on the grand re-opening of the theatre after extensive alterations, including decorating and re-seating the theatre, with a 'Grand Fashionable Night.' The following week commencing 26th August there was a visit by the Dacre Comedy company in the 'greatest farcical comedy' 'Betsy' re-produced as at the Criterion Theatre for the 3rd time.

Also there was the 'Grand Attraction' for 6 nights of Miss Glady's Heathcoats Comic Opera in the celebrated Opera Comique 'La Mascotte'. 'Powerful Company and Chorus.' Prices were advertised as: Dress Circle 3/- (15 pence today); Side Boxes and Orchestral Stalls 2/- (10 pence today); Pit 1/- (5pence today); and Gallery sixpence (2 and half pence today).

The Christmas attraction for 1889 which commenced on December 23rd was Wilson Barrett's celebrated Drama 'The Golden Ladder' with original scenery and effects, and later 'A Man's Shadow'.

On Monday the 4th of August 1890 the Theatre re-opened after its summer recess with Mr Balsir Chatterton's company performing the drama 'In the Queens Name', Monday through to Thursday, with 'Captain Swift' being performed on the Friday evening.

Early films were screened in the Theatre in 1897.

The auditorium of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle with a packed audience for a performance of the Moody Manners Opera Company production of 'Maritana'.

Above - The auditorium of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle with a packed audience for a performance of the Moody Manners Opera Company production of 'Maritana' in 1907 - Original image source unknown, please Contact me.

An article from the Stage Newspaper of the 21st of September 1905 on the reopening of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle.There was a serious fire on the morning of the 15th of September 1904, destroying much of the Theatre's stage area and the auditorium, with damages estimated at £6,000. The previous evening 'The Country Girl' had been playing to a packed house at the Theatre, some of the scenery and dresses for the production were said to have been saved but the Theatre was totally gutted.

Right - An article from the Stage Newspaper of the 21st of September 1905 on the reopening of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle.

After the fire the interior was rebuilt to the designs of Newcastle architects Bendle and Hope. The alterations consisted of a new brick wall proscenium to the designs of Mr Boekbinder, the well known decorator, built by Messrs Gordon and Logan, and fitted with a fireproof curtain made by Messrs Oldroyd and Co, of Leeds. This curtain, which worked automatically, could be lowered instantaneously, and was lowered and raised at each performance during one of the intervals.

The stage roof was also raised during the rebuild, which allowed scenery to be fully flown above the stage, thus enabling the Theatre to stage the largest scenic productions. New dressing rooms were also built and a new fireproof band room incorporated. Fireproof automatic closing doors were also fitted to the stage area.

The auditorium now consisted of orchestral stalls behind which originally was the pit area. Above this was the dress circle and above that, the Gallery. On each side of the proscenium were stage boxes.

The newly rebuilt Her Majesty's Theatre was formally reopened by the Mayor on the 14th of September 1905, but the opening season began on the following Monday with a production of 'San Toy' by George Edward's Company.

Other opening season productions were:- 'The Moneymakers,' which played the Theatre during the tennis tournament week. 'Monsieur Beauclaire'; Mr George Edwards 'Country Girl' company; 'La Poupee'; The Turner opera Company; Mr Edward Terry; Messrs D'Oyly Carte's Opera Company; 'Kitty Grey'; the Philharmonic Society in 'Haddon Hall'; and the 'Belle of New York' company.

For the week commencing the 23rd of October 1905, George Dance's principal company appeared in 'The Girl from Kays,' the entire production direct from London's Apollo Theatre. The Libretto was by Owen Hall with music by Ivan Caryll. Miss Poppy Poole played the title role, Mr Legai Robinson was Hon Percy Fitzthistle, Tom Seymour was the Hall Porter, Miss Emily Taylor was the bride, and Miss Lily Beaumont played the mother in law, along with George Blunt - comedian, and Mabel Dent – soubrette.

It was also noted in the The Carlisle Journal of 24th October 1905 that the orchestral floor had been raised by 9 inches due to previous complaints by performers that they could not see, nor hear the orchestra, which had led to various problems since the reopening of the Theatre.

An advertisement for Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlilse - From the Penrith Observer, 28th September 1937.The following week, commencing 30th October 1905, there was a return visit of Mr Edward Terry and his entire company from Terry's Theatre London.

Films were being screened by 1912, but by 1919 the Theatre had adopted a programme of live stage productions including Plays, Musicals, Variety and Pantomime.

Left - An advertisement for Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlilse - From the Penrith Observer, 28th September 1937.

In 1933, commencing on the 27th of December, Mr Lionel Lightfoot's company presented 'Diplomacy' by Victorien Sardon. Prices were: Dress Circle 4/9d (23 pence today), Upper Circle 3/6d (17 pence today), stalls 3 shillings (15 pence today), rear stalls 2 shillings (10 pence today), pit 1/3d (8 pence today), and Gallery 6d (2.5 pence today).

An article from the Stage Newspaper of the 3rd of March 1980 on the demolition of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle.On the week commencing the 30th of September 1935 Mr Lionel Lightfoot presented 'Secrets' by Rudolf Besier and Mary Edgington. On Monday October the 7th 1935 there was a Variety show starring Reginald Bolton (Blackpool's Favourite) called 'Footlight Frolics.' The Christmas pantomime for 1935, which began on the 23rd of December, was 'Dick Whittington.' In February 1936 a Variety programme was broadcast from the stage of Her Majesty's on the Radio at 9.15pm till 10.00pm.

In November 1955 the Theatre advertised the Carlisle & District Boy Scouts Associations production of 'The Gang Show of 1955, commencing at 7.15pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm. 'The terrific all Scout Revue by Ralph Reader, produced by John Sullivan with a cast of 150 Boy Scouts.'

Right - An article from the Stage Newspaper of the 3rd of March 1980 on the demolition of Her Majesty's Theatre, Carlisle.

Her Majesty's Theatre was renamed the Municipal Theatre in the early 1960's, however, in 1963 the Theatre was converted into a 'Regal Bingo Club'. This was later run by EMI from September 1976 who spent some £45,000 on the building, but this only lasted up until December 1978 when it was closed for good. After this the Theatre stood empty and unused before it was finally demolished in 1980. A Littlewood's store was later built upon the site.

The above article was researched and written for this site by David Garratt in May 2020.

If you have any more information or Images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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