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THE ROYAL CENTRE NOTTINGHAM

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  ROYAL CONCERT HALL, THE EMPIRE THEATRE OF VARIETIES, THE THEATRE ROYAL
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Nottingham's Royal Centre contains the Theatre Royal and the Royal Concert Hall. The Theatre Royal was built in 1865 and redesigned in 1884 and 1897-98. At the same time (1897-8) the Empire Theatre of Varieties opened on the site of the Theatre Royal's old dressing rooms. In the late 1960's the Theatre Royal had become run down and was bought by Nottingham city council in 1969. It was restored and redeveloped in 1976-8 and reopened in 1978. The Empire Theatre closed in 1958 and was demolished in 1969. However, in 1980-82 the Royal Concert Hall was built on its site.

The Theatre Royal was built in 1865 by CJ Phipps, the period's first great theatre designer, for W & J Lambert and was originally envisaged as a "temple of drama"...a place of "innocent recreation and of moral and intellectual culture". It was altered in 1897-98 by Frank Matcham for Robert Arthur and Henry Moss and restored and remodelled again in 1976-78 by Renton Howard Wood Levin Partnership. The theatre has a stucco front with ornamental Corinthian portico and the rest of the building is clad in white tiles. The interior preserves a number of features which date to the various periods of alteration and restoration including the 1865 shallow domed ceiling of the circular auditorium, the 1897 cantilever balconies and the 1977 foyers, bars, box office, boxes, proscenium and rear screen to the dress circle. It was one of the most luxurious theatres of its time providing a venue for music hall, variety, light opera and by the 1920s and 30s Hollywood-style musicals and pantomimes.
The Empire Theatre of Varieties was built by Frank Matcham for the developer Henry Moss. It was open for 60 years and staged a variety of more popular productions and artistes including Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. It was replaced in 1980-82 by the Royal Concert Hall which has a capacity of 2,499. The Royal Concert Hall stages a variety of performances of touring orchestras, comedians, dance acts and live music.

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