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Theatres in Lincoln, East Midlands

The New Theatre Royal, Clasketgate, Lincoln

Formerly - The New Theatre / Theatre Royal

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A Poster for the Lincoln Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society's production of 'Magyar Melody' at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln in February 1950 - Courtesy David Garratt.The New Theatre Royal is situated on Clasketgate in Lincoln and was built upon the site of a previous Theatre which burnt down in November of 1892, previously known as the New Theatre, built in 1806.

Right - A Poster for the Lincoln Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society's production of 'Magyar Melody' at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln in February 1950 - Courtesy David Garratt.

The new Theatre Royal was built for Mr Tom King of Gainsborough and Lincoln, and Mr Rass Challis who had been the Lessee of the previous Theatre Royal. It was built with fire safety in mind, of iron and concrete. It was fitted with a fireproof safety curtain, and all the pass doors onto the stage from the dressing rooms were iron doors. The dressing room staircases were also made from iron. There were two large tanks upon the roof each holding 500 gallons of water and hydrants on stage, in the Pit and in the Dress Circle. All the Gas fittings, the hydrants and Fire Curtain were provided by Vaughan and Brown of London. The architects of the new Theatre Royal were Bertie Crewe and William George Sprague of London.

The building was built of red brick with the entrances in Ancaster stone. The auditorium balcony seating being cantilevered (there being no pillars) and consisted of Stalls, Dress Circle and Gallery. The staircases were Bricca (artificial stone) which has non slip properties. The fronts of the Circle and Gallery were made of concrete faced with fibrous fireproof plaster. The original colour scheme was Ruby picked out with Old Gold.

The Ceiling had a centre sunlight and was decorated with clouded figures. The Proscenium was described as of 'pretty design, with the comfort of patrons being the main concern and first consideration'. The seating capacity in 1893 was for 840 people but 1,000 persons could be accommodated without inconvenience. Today's capacity is 482 seats.

The Pit floor was laid on concrete and all seats in the Pit were on iron stands with a back rest to each.

The Stalls were handsomely upholstered.

The Dress Circle consisted of 5 rows of tip up seats on iron frames supplied by A. R. Dean of Birmingham, who also supplied all furnishings and upholstery.

There were four private boxes.

Ladies and Gentlemen's retiring rooms toilets and crush rooms were provided in every part of the building.

There were plenty of exits all around the building with patented panic bolts fitted to all exit doors.

The Stage was vastly improved and spacious, fitted with Traps and Bridges and all modern requirements. The Proscenium arch was 25 feet wide. There were 5 dressing rooms for principals, each one heated with a gas stove, also ample accommodation for chorus members.

The Scenery was painted by Mr C. S. Cooke the resident scenic artist, and Messrs Walter and Mead of Lincoln. The Act Drop was painted by Mr E. Mead.

The Theatre opened the week commencing December the 18th 1893 with the farce 'Charlie's Aunt' presented by Mr Penley's Company.

The curtain rose promptly at 7.30pm with the Band of the First Lincoln Rifle Volunteers in full Dress Uniform, who played the National Anthem. Mr Burnitt Sedgwick of the Cathedral Choir sang a solo. Then Mr Rass Callis stepped forward onto the stage to an enthusiastic reception and gave a welcoming speech, which was followed by the Band playing 'Auld Lang Syne.' The Play then commenced. The cast consisted of:- Mr Stanley Cooke as Lord Fancourt Babberly – Mr Alban Atwood as Charles Wykeham – Mr Alfred Kendrick as Jack Chesney – Mr James E. Thurlow as Stephen Spettigue – Mr F Darbishaw as Sir Frances Chesney. Miss Helen Palgrave as Donna Lucia – Miss Zoe Davis as Amy Spettigue – Miss Phyllis Selbourne as Kitty Verdun.

This was followed by a One Act play entitled 'Confederates' with Messrs Brame, Kendrick, Darbishaw, Lane and Miss Mead appearing.

The New Theatre Royal Lincoln is still in operation today providing the citizens of Lincoln with Theatrical entertainment. You may like to visit the Theatre's own Website here.

This article was written by David Garratt and sent in for inclusion on the site in August 2021.

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

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