The Theatres Trust

Theatre Royal (Glasgow)

  • Theatre ID
  • Built / Converted
  • Current state
  • Current use
    Theatre (Theatre and Opera House)
  • Address
    282 Hope Street, Glasgow, Strathclyde, G2 3QA, Scotland


The Theatre Royal in Glasgow is the city's longest serving theatre. Opened by James Baylis in 1867, it became the flagship and birthplace of Howard & Wyndham Ltd in 1895. In 1957 it became the Scottish Television Theatre, serving as TV studios for the newly formed STV. The theatre was offered by STV to Scottish Opera in 1975 and subsequently transformed into a magnificent venue for grand opera and ballet. This is the largest and among the finest theatres by Phipps to survive. The painted stone exterior is of little merit, the entrance being inserted into a long row of mediocre existing three storey properties which the theatre has annexed progressively through the years. It was once distinguished by a tower with a dome, now truncated, and a massive glazed full-length canopy, long-since removed. The foyers mainly date from the 1970s but are an elegant pastiche of the Phipps manner. It is the auditorium which makes the Theatre Royal such a delight. Three balconies - each of about eleven rows - the first with a serpentine front and the upper two horseshoe, were originally fully supported by iron columns, some of which have been removed and cantilevers inserted. The balcony slips meet superimposed stage boxes set between pairs of giant Corinthian columns with enriched shafts. The entablature continues the line of the third balcony front and has a richly decorated frieze which returns above the rectangular proscenium frame. The tympanum takes the form of a deep elliptical arch. Coves above carry a stately panelled circular ceiling with fine gilded decoration. Indeed, the whole space positively glows with gilt on ivory and rich blue upholstery. The decoration on the balcony fronts is a delicate combination of Renaissance strapwork and Rococo and is of exceptional quality. The Theatre Royal feels like a miniature version of grand European opera houses and has fulfilled its role very well.

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  • Other names
    Royal Colosseum & Opera House, Scottish Television Theatre
  • Events
    • 1867 Design/Construction:
      • George Bell - Architect
    • 1867 Owner/Management: James Baylis
    • 1869 Owner/Management: William Glover & George Francis
    • 1878 Owner/Management: William Glover
    • 1880 Alteration: rebuilt after fire
      • C J Phipps - Architect
    • 1880 Owner/Management: Marie Litton
    • 1881 Owner/Management: Charles Bernard
    • 1882 Owner/Management: Glasgow Theatre & Opera House Co
    • 1884 Owner/Management: Fred Sydney
    • 1885 Owner/Management: Edward Lee Knapp
    • 1887 Owner/Management: William Thomas Rushbury
    • 1888 Owner/Management: James Howard & Fred Wyndham
    • 1895 Owner/Management: Howard & Wyndham Ltd
    • 1895 Alteration: rebuilt after further fire
      • C J Phipps - Architect
    • 1907 Alteration: Keppie & Mackintosh, incorporation of former tenements on Hope Street
      • Honeyman - Architect
    • 1957 Owner/Management: Scottish Television
    • 1972 Design/Construction:
    • 1975 Owner/Management: Scottish Opera
    • 1975 Alteration: restored and modified as opera house
      • Arup Associates (Derek Sugden) - Architect
    • 1997 Alteration: refurbished
      • Law & Dunbar-Nasmith - Architect
    • 2005 Owner/Management: Ambassador Theatre Group, management.
  • Capacities
    • Original: 1,950 prior to 1957
    • Later: 1912: 2,185 1946: 1,951
    • Current: 1547
  • Listings
    • Grade A
  • Dimensions
    • Proscenium width: 10.36m (34ft)
    • Height to grid: 17.37m (57ft)

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