Theatre Royal

Interior of the Theatre Royal, 1870 (ALMFA, SLT)

The Theatre Royal, Hobart, stands on the oldest theatre site in Australia, and the present structure contains elements of the original building. Opened in 1837, the theatre was built by the entrepreneur Peter Degraves, and resembled English provincial Georgian theatres. The first substantial renovation, to increase audience capacity, was in 1856. Further changes were made in 1862 and major changes were made to the stage area in 1882 and 1890. As well as live theatre, cinema, boxing matches, political and religious rallies have been held in the theatre. The last major change to the auditorium was made in 1911, and renovations in 1952 and extensive repairs after a fire in 1984 restored the 1911 design, while the stage was rebuilt to present-day standards.

Further reading: M Roe, A history of the Theatre Royal, Hobart, 1965; G Winter, 'Theatre Royal, Hobart', in P Parsons, Companion to theatre in Australia, Sydney, 1995.

Gillian Winter