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Theatre Royal


Built by Matcham, the original façade was a free version of the Classical style with three bays of giant pilasters with an elaborate gable at the centre. The auditorium had two balconies supported by iron columns and, single, canopied boxes either side of the proscenium. There was a large centre-piece in the ceiling to support the sunburner.

Severely damaged by fire in 1901, it was reconstructed by Matcham with a Baroque façade, a variation only of the 1889 façade. The interior, also in Baroque style was designed this time with cantilevered balconies and flamboyant plasterwork.

All that survives of Matcham’s building today are the outside walls and stage. Owned for some years by Pilkington Bros Ltd, and used by many local societies, the Pilkington Players in particular, in 1964 the theatre was gutted and rebuilt with a glass façade. The entrance incorporates a lofty foyer, auditorium with a single balcony. The auditorium walls are panelled in pine-colour wood, and the house is warmer than the plain glass exterior might lead one to expect - but a sad fate for a Matcham theatre.

The original stage area is large enough today to accommodate many touring shows, and the new management seeks to provide a range of live theatre product.

Built / Converted
Dates of use
  • 1964 - 1957: continuing
Current state
Current use
Theatre (first theatre on site in 1899)
Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ, England
Further details
Other names
Theatre Royal & Opera House , Pilkington Theatre
  • Owner/Management: Later: Theatre Trust
  • 1889 Design/Construction:
    Frank Matcham
    - Architect
  • 1899 Owner/Management: William Wallace Revill
  • 1901 Alteration: reconstructed after fire to different designs
    Frank Matcham
    - Architect
  • 1945 Owner/Management: Pre The Pilkington Bros Ltd, owners
  • 1964 Alteration: Piet & Partners, completely reconstructed
    B & N Westwood
    - Architect
  • 1964 Owner/Management: Pilkington, owners
  • 1964 - 1957 Use: continuing
  • 1987 Owner/Management: Rigoletto, lessees
  • 1997 Owner/Management: Connexions (operated by Independent Methodist Association Inc), owners
  • Capacity
    1910: 2020
  • Capacity
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Proscenium Rake 1:76
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth 1899: 38ft 1901: 45ft 1997: 11.59m Width 1899: 57ft 1901: 67ft
1997 SL: 8.46m SR: 7.85m
Proscenium width: 1899: 27ft 1901: 26ft 6in 1997: 9m
Height to grid: 1901: 48ft 1997: 16.46m
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: 1997: 18