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”.