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1096

A former racquets court of 1788, which was permanently converted into a theatre in 1831, and enlarged in 1887. The part covered by the present stage was once a hay loft. The auditorium is Neo-Classical in character suggesting the Regency rather than the mid-Victorian period. There is a single horseshoe gallery supported on slender iron columns which continue up to the ceiling. On each side of the well-proportioned rectangular proscenium arch are false proscenium doors, set between engaged square Tuscan columns, reminiscent of the theatres of William Wilkins (e.g. Bury St Edmunds). In 1928 new exits were introduced which reduced the seating capacity to 250 (in the 1880s it had been 600-700). The building was overhauled and re-decorated in 1971. It is now used by Marines and local amateur groups, as well as for cinema. The famous ‘thunder run’ is still in situ. The theatre is of particular significance as a rare example of its kind and period. In January 2017 the theatre was closed after the stage area was declared unsafe.

Built / Converted
1864
Dates of use
  • 1848 : continuing
Current state
Extant
Current use
Dark (amateur theatre)
Address
Stonehouse Royal Marine Barracks, Durnford Street, Plymouth, Devon, England
Website-
Further details
Other names
-
Events
  • Owner/Management:
  • 1788 Design/Construction: as racquets court
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1831 Alteration: converted to theatre
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1848 Use: continuing
  • 1864 Alteration: Bijou Theatre built
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1887 Alteration: altered and enlarged
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1928 Alteration: reseated; cinema equipment installed; modernised
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1971 Alteration: restored close to 1887 state
    Unknown
    - Architect
Capacities
  • Capacity
    Original
    Description
    1848: 400
  • Capacity
    Later
    Description
    1887: 600-700
    1971: 250
  • Capacity
    Current
    Description
    c.250
Listings
  • Listing
    II
Stage type
-
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -