Theatre Royal

Location:
Also known as:
Miller Arcade
Constructed:
1868

The Theatre Royal in Hindley Street was Adelaide’s best known and most loved theatre. The first Theatre Royal was built in 1868 to the design of Thomas English. This rapidly proved inadequate, and in 1878 the building which was to serve Adelaide for eighty-four years was built. It was designed by a Melbourne architect, George R. Johnson, who also supervised the work. A simple building, it was carefully detailed and well proportioned, the central part being divided into three bays by Corinthian pilasters and topped by a balustrade with urns and the royal coat of arms.

The interior, which was on three levels, with boxes both sides of the stage, was fitted out at a cost of 5,000 Pounds. Note the strict segregation of patrons – pit and gallery were reached by the lane on the left, the stalls by the narrow door second from the right, and the dress circle by the wide entrance far right. In 1884, Wright and Reed made extensive alterations to the interior of the theatre; it was reconstructed again in 1913-1914. Performers at the theatre included J. C. Williamson, Sarah Berhardt, Nellie Stewart, Walter Montgomery and Sir Lawrence and Lady Oliver.

In 1962, the theatre was demolished by Miller Anderson and Company, an Adelaide department store, and an exceptionally ugly multilevel carpark was built on the site above “Millers Arcade”.

Current status and listings

ACH Status:
demolished
Heritage Protection:

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6 thoughts on “Theatre Royal

  1. You can add Vivien Leigh, whose birthday at would have been today. I saw her as a pre-adolescent at the Theatre Royal in “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream around the early 1960’s.

  2. I was nine when I attended my first theatrical experience. The production was Salad Days in 1958. My mother was a maid at the South Australian Hotel in North Terrace and one of the cast gave mum tickets for our family to attend. We were a family of five but I can’t remember if we all went. I wore a grey frock with pleated skirt, a pink bolero with pink socks & gloves to match and red shoes! My love of live theatre thus began!

    • Sounds like a terrific night out – did your mum have any other interesting encounters in her time at the South Australian Hotel?