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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall, Notttingham.


There's something beautiful and enchanting about exploring an empty theatre, something that is a completely different experience than the one we have when we're visiting to see a specific show we've paid to see. I've performed in many different theatres during as my time as a performer growing up and one of my favourite things to do was to explore the theatre whenever it was empty, playing hide and seek amongst the many stall seats and acting out our own little performances whilst the seats were bare. 

On Carpe Diem Emmie this year I want to make it a feature of mine to discover the bones of theatres, stripping back behind all of the glitz and glam of performances to show these incredible buildings that stand proudly within the streets of our cities. The first of this series is the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. 



Having stood on the top overlooking Market Street for over 150 years, Nottingham Royal is a theatre that still possesses the foundations laid down by brothers John and William Lambert back in 1865. The brothers who were successful Nottingham factory owners, wanted to give something back to the town that had made them prosperous, as well as providing Nottingham with a civilised form of entertainment that could be enjoyed by everyone.

In it's history the theatre has continued through the reign of six monarchs, survived the two World Wars, experienced the dawn of cinema, fought off the threat of both radio and then television, learned to embrace technology with internet and social media heavily influencing our everyday lives, and still manages to thrive as one of the best touring venues we have in the UK.

Little would you know that this theatre grew from it's design plans into reality in six months and at the cost of £15,000 the young architect and designer Charles John Phipps produced this magnificent building. His inspiration for this theatre came from the influences of the Salle Favart in Paris; a classical building which had six stone Corinthian pillars framing the entrance. It's five brass handled doors, very much inspired by the Victorians were a separation of the entrances dependent on the class, something which seems a world away from the divide that isn't so present in our theatres today. The first two doors on the left led the middle class to the Upper Circle, whilst the next two led the wealthiest people to the Dress Circle and the private boxes that you could access by marble staircases. The poorer, working class entrances to the pit and gallery were located around the corner on Sherwood Street. It was standing room only available in the pit, whilst wooden benches could be found in the gallery or the 'gods' at the very top and back of the theatre. Back then the theatre held around 2200 people; that's nearly twice as many as the theatre holds today.



The auditorium is a place of decoration and colour, which still very much holds that grandeur feel to today. The theatre was a completely different experience back then to what it is now. Victorian times theatre saw thousands of people being packed into small auditoriums, with naked flames and gas pipes being lit throughout their performances. If that wasn't dangerous enough already the stages were also full of flammable scenery.

In 1897 the theatre underwent renovation after parliament legalised to bring in stricter safety precautions into all of British theatres, including more emergency exits and fire proof corridors being installed. They brought in well renowned architect Frank Matcham ripped out the old balconies with their supporting pillars and used iron cantilevers, which are like shelf-like brackets which enabled new steeper balconies in which didn't need support. He also did things that enabled the capacity of the theatre to go up to 3,000 people.




The theatre has undergone many transformations since it's initial foundations set by the Lambert Brothers and is definitely a venue that during it's 150 year history become a constant source of festive entertainment for families across the region with their pantomimes. Having saw their pantomime back in December it's definitely a venue I would visit again for their future pantomime productions.

Nearly 40 years ago it had a re-birth, where they closed their doors for 11 months still managing to hold onto the 20th century necessities it has obtained from it's original Victorian architects. It's since had a whole host of stars from every genre perform on it's stage. Nottingham are really lucky to have such an incredible, iconic piece of history amongst it's doorstep. A lot of these grandeur theatres do not exist like they used to and they host great quality performances hot from the stages of the West End.





Next door, the Royal Concert Hall is a beautiful visual and acoustic design that makes it up there as one of the most unique and highly regarded music venues available in the UK. Built back in 1982, it opened with a gala concert starring Sir Elton John. Since it has had a whole roll call of famous names performing on it stage, ranging from the biggest names in stand up comedy to some world-renowned classical soloists.

It's unique design definitely oozes a real 80s vibe and seats 2,497 giving it a real sense of warmth in atmosphere and clarity of sound that would make any performance in this space an enjoyable experience.

I'm excited to see both venues overturn a whole new era when they redesign their distance between one another with some exciting developments. I think it will open up a whole new exciting chapter in both of the venues history. I would definitely urge you to take a wonder amongst these incredible venues in Nottingham.




thanks for reading,

*I was gifted this ticket in exchange for a review, but all words and opinions are my own.

3 comments:

  1. Yessssss gal, nailed it! This was so interesting! It's such a gorgeous building too! :D

    Kirstie | Behind The Scent

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah thankyou, I really enjoyed writing it and can't wait to venture into more and more theatres now! x

      Delete
  2. Of all the times I have been to Nottingham, I have never been here. I think a visit to watch something is on my list for this year! :)

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