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Latitude: 55.8663 / 55°51'58"N
Longitude: -4.2562 / 4°15'22"W
OS Eastings: 258905
OS Northings: 665981
OS Grid: NS589659
Mapcode National: GBR 0LJ.8V
Mapcode Global: WH3P2.LTF6
Entry Name: 254-290 (Even Nos) Hope Street, Theatre Royal
Listing Date: 22 March 1977
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 376452
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB33061
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Anderston/City/Yorkhill
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
George Bell, 1867; burnt down 1879, restoration after fire by Charles J Phipps, 1880. Further fire, also rebuilt by Phipps, 1895, in similar scheme to previous one; altered James Miller 1901; restored and new foyer Derek Sugden of Arup Associates 1974-5. 2 and 3 storeys. Plain 24-bay facade, taller auditorium buildings to rear, central entrance bays in 3-bay section. Painted ashlar.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: 3 double-leaf panelled and glazed doors; 1st floor 3-bay arcade with central granite shafted columns, continuous moulded impost band, flanked by pilasters rising to segmental pediment. Above, narrower 3 bays topped by later pediment. Cast-iron porch with glazed pavilions to entrance bays and to stage door.
Variety of glazing patterns. Predominantly timber sash and case plate glass windows with horns, some 4-pane over 4-pane. Slate roofs.
INTERIOR: auditorium with 3 tiers of balconies, the first with a serpentine front and those above horseshoe-shaped, all with highly decorative delicate strapwork and rococo gilded plasterwork. Some cast iron columns removed and cantilevers inserted. Stage boxes divided by giant Corinthian columns. Rectangular proscenium with elliptically arched tympanum. Domed circular ceiling with decorative plasterwork. Grand staircase with elaborate plasterwork, pilastered landings and round-arched openings. Cast-iron balusters.
The Theatre Royal in Hope Street is an important survivor and has an exceptional auditorium with fine plasterwork. It has a complex history. The first theatre on the site, the Royal Colluseum, was built in 1867 by the architectural practice of Clarke & Bell and by 1869 it was named the Theatre Royal. A fire in 1879 destroyed the interior and the building was rebuilt in 1880 by the celebrated theatre architect, C J Phipps reusing the surviving exterior walls. This rebuilding also burnt down only fifteen years later but was reconstructed by Phipps largely to his previous design.
The auditorium had its main entrance on Cowcaddens Road until 1903. A tower with a dome originally stood over the entrance.
It was converted to television studios in the 1950s and suffered a further fire in 1970. Derek Sugden of Arup Associates renovated the theatre as an opera house in 1974-5 and it continues today as the home of Scottish Opera as well as hosting a variety of other types of productions. The magnificent auditorium with its delicate strapwork and rococo-style plasterwork has been carefully restored.
Charles John Phipps (1835-1897) was born in Bath and began his practice there before shortly moving to London where he remained based for the rest of his career. He is likely to have studied theatre design on the continent as part of his training and he became best known for his theatre commissions. A catastrophic fire at his Theatre Royal in Exeter in 1887 where around 150 people lost their lives damaged his career in later life.
References from previous list description: Information by courtesy of Buildings of Scotland Research Unit; Gomme and Walker, 1987 (ed); S. R. Archives, D of G 1/3770, 1/8341.
List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.
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