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Royal Theatre & Opera House


An earlier assembly rooms was converted to a theatre by G S Bridgman (Frank Matcham’s first employer) in 1871, but was still called by turns, the Royal Assembly Rooms or Lyceum Theatre, according to the type of entertainment being offered. It was gutted in 1880 and a new theatre built within the shell by C J Phipps.

The interior was again completely rebuilt in 1933 as a cinema and, more recently, converted to two smaller cinemas. Only the basic structural shell survives from 1888 (parts possibly earlier). The entrance front is on Abbey Road, parallel to the axis of the auditorium/stage. The ground floor with three arched doorways under a modern canopy is largely original. Above this, however, the façade was altered in 1933 with a three-bay, columned loggia. Behind Abbey Road front the ground level falls away steeply so that from the entrance one descended to the stalls. The tall rear elevation, fronting a narrow street, shows the original stone rubble walling, patched up with later brickwork, and a serpentine-headed frontpiece to a lower entrance of c.1920.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
Current state
Current use
Dark (previously cinema)
Abbey Road, Torquay, Devon, England
Further details
Other names
Royal Assembly Rooms , later: Lyceum Theatre , Royal , Odeon , Merlin
  • 1862 Design/Construction: as Assembly Rooms
    T R Matthews
    - Architect
  • 1871 Alteration: conversion to theatre
    G S Bridgman
    - Architect
  • 1880 Alteration: new theatre within existing shell; royal box built
    C J Phipps
    - Architect
  • 1888 Alteration: altered
    C J Phipps
    - Architect
  • 1933 Alteration: converted to cinema
    - Architect
  • 1933 Owner/Management: E J Vickery, owner
  • 1937 Owner/Management: Odeon (continuing)
  • 1960 - 1969 Alteration: twinned
    - Architect
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -