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Theatre Royal


Merthyr's Theatre Royal has an imposing rendered brick frontage set into the slope opposite Penydarren Park. The main block is of 5 bays in two storeys plus a blind attic over. The original ground floor arrangement of seven arched doors, grouped 2+3+2, has had its symmetry altered by the insertion of a wider entrance in place of the left hand pair. The centre door retains its segmental pediment hood as do the first floor windows, but the theatre's crowning cornice and parapet and tall central pediment were removed. The prominent inscription THEATRE ROYAL remains over the first floor centre. There is a corrugated iron-clad fly tower. The block to the right, Thespian House, originally had an interesting crenellated parapet, both forming a group in the streetscape. Its interior remains spectacular and has been remarkably well preserved. The fine auditorium was upgraded in the late 1920s, with a large balcony inserted and Art Deco features in many of the borders and decorations. A feature of the theatre is a sunburst ceiling rose. The Art Deco proscenium has a ramped and stepped surround, Royal Arms at its centre and splayed crestings. The side walls have linked low-relief panels with stepped detailing, acanthus and anthemion cornices over. Organ pipes can be seen in the niches that flank the stage. There is recessed coffering over the gallery with convex, cantilevered front, and polygonal pendant light fittings. All in all it is an excellent example of its type. The theatre closed as a bingo hall in 2006 and has been unused ever since. Plans for the site have been considered but never submitted.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1891 - 1982: Theatre
  • 1982 - 2006: Bingo
Current state
Current use
Park Place, Penydarren Road, Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan, CF47 0LJ, Wales
Further details
Other names
Theatre Royal and Thespian House , Theatre Royal Bingo and Social Club
  • 1891 Design/Construction:
    T C Wakeling (Merthyr)
    - Architect
  • 1891 - 1982 Use: Theatre
  • 1920 - 1929 Alteration: auditorium rebuilt, balcony inserted (architect unknown).
  • 1982 Alteration: converted to bingo
  • 1982 - 2006 Use: Bingo
  • Capacity
    1951: 1217
  • Listing
Stage type
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 22ft
Proscenium width: 28ft
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -