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THEATRE ROYAL

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BRISTOL OLD VIC
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The Theatre Royal, now known as the Bristol Old Vic, was designed by James Paty and built between 1764 and 1766 and houses Britain's oldest surviving and continuously used theatre auditorium. The building was constructed using brick, pantile, and rubble with a largely timber interior. Due to its location behind King Street it originally had no great façade to speak of until later alterations.

Its basic layout follows the same as Drury Lane Theatre, London, although Paty installing a semicircular rather than elliptical auditorium and the dress circle and upper circle were designed solely as boxes. In c1800 the theatre was redecorated and the ceiling heightened for the addition of an extra tier.

A small entrance was added to King Street in 1903, and in 1942 the theatre was saevd from closure. By 1946 the Bristol Old Vic Company was established in the building and remains so to this day. In the late 20th century there was an extension to the west, which saw the inclusion of a new studio theatre and workshops built over the 1903 entrance. It was also that this time that the theatre took over, and expanded into, Coopers House, a guild hall of 1743 with a grand frontage on King Street.

The theatre closed in August 2007 to undergo a £9 million refurbishment plan and aims to reopen properly in 2009, with new seating and disabled facilities.

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