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Interior of the Georgian Theatre Royal from the stage, Richmond, North Yorkshire.

This historic Georgian playhouse is Britain's oldest working theatre in its original form. It was built in 1788 by the actor-manager Samuel Butler (1750-1812) and his first wife Tryphosa Butler and was one of his circuit of theatres. After Samuel's death the theatre was run by his widow and later their son, Samuel William Butler. Regular performances at the theatre continued until 1830, when performances became less frequent and in 1848 it was let as an auction house. Wine vaults were constructed in the pit at about the same time, and the building also later saw service as a grain warehouse.

Its history was forgotten until just before the Second World War when, behind the decades of neglect, the Georgian theatre was found to be almost intact. It still had the original kicking boards, upon which members of the audience could stamp their feet to show their disapproval. It still possessed a piece of woodland scenery that dates from pre-1836 and so is the oldest scenery in the country, and its rooftiles were still pegged on by sheep bones.

In 1960 a non-profit trust was incorporated, a public appeal launched and a restoration began. The theatre reopened in 1963. The small stage has hosted several star names over the years, including Sybil Thorndike, Joyce Grenfell and Alan Bennett, and continues to operate a busy programme of performances including a renowned annual Christmas pantomime. It is Grade I Listed 'as a building of special architectural or historical interest'.

Shutter speed: 1/10 sec
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 1250
Focal length: 24 mm

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Additional Photos by Will Perrett (willperrett) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1069 W: 303 N: 3027] (13861)
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