June 13th Brayarts night
THEATRE ROYAL REMEMBERED
Venue; Martello Hotel Bray , Co. Wicklow
Remember Dublin’s Theatre Royal through music, stories, pictures, rare newsreel footage and song
The Theatre Royal
Dublin’s Theatre Royal was a magnificent art-deco building that stood on Hawkins Street until 1962.
The fourth Theatre Royal opened on 23 September 1935. It was the biggest theatre and had the largest stage in Europe. “The Royal”, as it was affectionately known, was regularly filled to its capacity of four thousand patrons.
It was mainly a Cine-Variety venue with a show, film, sing song and finally another show on offer each day. The theatre had a resident 25 piece orchestra, the Jimmy Campbell orchestra, and a fantastic troupe of dancers, the Royalettes. The world’s greatest stars of stage and screen, such as George Formby, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Bill Haley and the Comets, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Gigi, Sean Connery and many more famous performers played the Royal.
The outbreak of “The Emergency”, or as the rest of the World called it, World War II, provided an opportunity for Irish acts, who were to provide the mainstay of the Royal’s output during this period. These included such household names as Jimmy O’Dea, Jack Cruise, Frank Blowers, Noel Purcell, Eddie Byrne, Peggy Dell, Mike Nolan, Maureen Potter, Dick Forbes and many others who served their time and honed their stage craft in this amazing venue.
With the introduction of television and the “emigration” of Dubliners to better housing in the suburbs, the Royal like many other variety theatres across Ireland and the UK, finally succumbed to what was called “progress” and closed its doors on 30 June 1962.
The Royal, even to this day is held in great affection and is still sadly missed by Dubliners, not just here in Ireland but across the globe.
Finally, to misquote the famous Pete St. John song..
“ Ring a ring a rosie as the lights decline we remember Dublin City and the rare oul times..The Pillar and the Met have gone, the Royal long since pulled down… the Royal was part of what was Dublin, in the Rare Oul Times.”
Theatre Royal Historian