Monday, April 29, 2013

Most Complete Georgian Playhouse of Britain

Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire is the most complete Georgian playhouse in Britain today.

It was built by actor-manager Samuel Butler in 1788. In its heyday, the 200-seat theater hosted figures from Georgian star Edmund Kean to Dame Sybil Thorndike, Joyce Grenfell, and Alan Bennett.

The theater is still in its original form today with its original boxes, furnishings, stage, box office, and other features. One of them includes kicking boards, which audiences would use to make their disapproval heard.

The theater was closed in 1848, reopened in 1963, and restored and extended 2003. However, only restoration work has been done on the building: no refits; thereby retaining everything the way it was when it was built. However, further restoration works still needs to be done, and so the theater is launching a fundraising campaign to save it from closure.

These days, in addition to a regular bill of plays, music concerts, and talks, the playhouse also houses a 180-member youth theater.

One of the one-person character plays currently playing is vignettes from the Georgian era's most beloved writers: Jane Austen. In Austen's Women, "thirteen of Jane Austen's most celebrated female characters are brought to life in this bold revisiting of scenes of high comedy and moments of pathos." Using only Austen's words, Austen's Women offers a distillation of 19th century feminism.