Planning permission was granted by the local council to build a licensed theatre to replace the Theatre Royal of nearby Frank Street in 1901.The theatre was designed by Campbell and Horsley of Manchester and built by S. Robinson and Sons of Hyde. The completed theatre opened on 3 November 1902 with a Victorian French melodrama, Little Jim, with Shakespeare and other classic plays to follow. In 1914 a movable screen was added onto the stage to enable the theatre to operate as a part-time cinema.
In the early 1970s, the popularity of live performances were on the decline and the decision was made to stop them altogether at the theatre. The main auditorium become a full-time cinema and a second cinema opened in 1972 taking up the majority of the original stage area. The last live performance held was a production of Annie get your gun
In later years, the main auditorium was referred to as 'Royal 1' and the second cinema was referred to as 'Royal 2'. The theatre was also referred to as the 'Royal Cinema' although the 'Theatre Royal' signs remained on the building .
In the early 1990s, the London-based owners discovered problems with fraud at the theatre and decided to close it down in August 1993 as they considered it a liability. The theatre was full for the last few days of business, with people still offering support to Hyde's last local cinema. The final film to be shown was Walt Disney's classic, The jungle book.
The main auditorium could seat up to 1400 people, it consisted of pit stalls with 300 seats, dress and rear circles with another 300 seats, then a gallery and amphi with 800 seats. The theatre also offered one of the largest stages in the area with a fly gallery offering fast scenery changes.
During its peak, the Theatre Royal offered performances by many famous acts of the day including Laurel and Hardy, Enrico Caruso, Billy Connolly and Frank Randle. Julie Andrews also made an early appearance at the theatre along with her mother and stepfather.
In 1999, planning permission was in the process of being granted to demolish the theatre to make way for a housing development, however a group of volunteers joined together to save the Theatre Royal, named Theatre Royal Onward, the group campaigned for the theatre to be granted listed building status which it was in 2000. The theatre was put up for auction in 2005 however the society lost the bid to buy the theatre and it was sold to a local property developer, Aurora Hyde Limited. However the fight to return the theatre to its former glory was cut short when the building was sold to a local Islamic centre who are now using the ground floor as a prayer centre.
THE VISIT:- visited early morning as this is a town centre theatre with Asda right in front. The access was high but the roof is being repaired at the moment so had assistance from the scaffold. Once in the first door to my left Jackpot! the projection room all still in tact tools and all! after a short time on the first balcony i heard voices below and made a hasty retreat. Having got out noticed a door open the local workmen where inside but would not let me in to take anymore photo's so had to make a second visit. This time the local Islamic's where in sorting the downstairs for when they take over for praying. No luck again as they refused me entry. On the third visit again a early morning the high access was used and i completed the rest of the pictures including the bar area.
First floor circle. (the cover separates the ground praying area).
second floor bar area
second circle view
first floor bar bottles
(super-trouper) spot lights
a bit of everything in this room!
projection room work area
I do love a theatre this was a great explore made better by the projector room 9/10 from me