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Theatre Royal, Sydney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Theatre Royal
Opening night, "Hollywood Hotel Revue" (taken for Fuller's Theatres Ltd), Theatre Royal, Sydney, 23 September 1938 - photographer Sam Hood (7947336946).jpg
The Theatre Royal Exterior, 23 September 1938 on the opening night of Hollywood Hotel Revue (photo taker for Fuller's Theatre's Ltd)
AddressMLC Centre
108 King Street
LocationNew South Wales, Australia
OwnerTrafalgar Entertaiment[1]
OperatorTrafalgar Entertainment[1]
TypePerforming Arts Venue
Current useClosed
Reopenedscheduled to re-open in August 2021[1]
Years active1875–1976, 2021[1]

The Theatre Royal is Australia's oldest theatrical institution located in Sydney, dating from 1833,[2] though the current theatre was built in 1976. It has offered a broad range of entertainment including dramas, comedy and especially musicals since the 1990s. The theatre has been closed since March 2016, but is scheduled to reopen in August 2021, under parent company Trafalgar Entertainment, and will also house the school of performing arts "Stagecoach" and have a live-streaming hub. The reopening comes as a need for Sydney to accommodate a larger capacity venue, since the harbour city does not host as many larger venues as its counterpart Melbourne, which acquired the rights to the JK Rowling West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child[1]


The name Theatre Royal had originally been used for a theatre upon which building work commenced in 1827 behind the Royal Hotel by Barnett Levey. This new playhouse was opened on 5 October 1833. It was closed in March 1838 and a few days later the Royal Victoria Theatre, a much larger building, was opened, with an entrance on Pitt Street, by Joseph Wyatt. Barnett Levey's Theatre Royal was burned to the ground in 1840 with the Victoria, which abutted on the rear, having a narrow escape from suffering the same fate. However, it was still destined to be consumed by fire – on 22 July 1880 it was totally destroyed.[3]

In 1875, the present Theatre Royal was founded, built for producer and manager Samuel Lazar in Castlereagh Street on the corner of Rowe Street, opposite the famous Australia Hotel. The theatre was leased by J C Williamson's from 1882 until 1978. The interior of this theatre was substantially remodelled in 1921 by architect Henry Eli White.[4]

In 1971–72 the theatre, along with the Hotel Australia, and much of the block on which it was situated, was demolished to construct the MLC Centre. Public agitation and action by construction unions once it was closed to save it resulted in the developer Lendlease incorporating a replacement 1,180-seat theatre into the design. Designed by Harry Seidler, along with the rest of the complex, the current Theatre Royal opened in 1976, with entry from King Street, between Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street. Designed in a plain modernist style.

The theatre closed in March 2016 amid development of the MLC Centre and calls for a new larger Lyric Theatre to be built.[5][6][7][8]

In March 2019, the NSW Government announced it had taken on a 55-year lease of the theatre from the MLC Centre developers, with the intention to re-open the venue with a private operator.[9]

It was announced that the theatre will reopen in August 2021, after it was acquired by Trafalgar Entertainment, the company by British theatre impresario's Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire[1]


The theatre is renowned for hosting a collective mix of entertainment from dramas, comedies and musicals, with notable localised production of such productions as The King and I, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and War Horse.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Sydney's Theatre Royal Will Reopen in 2021 with a Globally Renowned Company  at Its Helm".
  2. ^ Sydney Harbour Bridge Official Souvenir Book Sydney, 1932, p.123.
  3. ^ Sydney Harbour Bridge Official Souvenir Book Sydney, 1932, p.123-4.
  4. ^ "Theatre Royal". Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Theatre Royal". Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  6. ^ "Theatre Royal". Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Theatre Royal". Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  8. ^ "Producers push for new lyric theatre in Sydney". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  9. ^ "The Show Goes On for Sydney's Theatre Royal". The Urban Developer. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 January 2021, at 09:54
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