Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal, Dumfries
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Theatre Royal, Dumfries

Appropriately located on Shakespeare Street in the centre of Dumfries, the Theatre Royal opened its doors in 1792 and represents Scotland's oldest working theatre. Lying behind a simple Classical facade, the theatre is owned and operated by the Guild of Players, an amateur dramatic group who bought the theatre in 1959, saving it from demolition. The Guild stage their own performances and make the building available for visiting companies. It was remodelled in 1876 and again 1959-60, after which it was reopened by author Sir Compton Mackenzie (1883 - 1972). The theatre was B-listed in 1961. Its future was secured once again in 2004, when Dumfries and Galloway Council agreed to provide half of the £5 million required for a further renovation scheme, with the remainder coming from the Arts Council and the National Lottery.

Poet Robert Burns (1759-96) was entertained here and it was this theatre which inspired a young J.M. Barrie (1860 - 1937) to become play-wright. Comedians Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin are known to have performed here.

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