Last week the glorious Frank Matcham-designed Richmond Theatre turned 120 years old. On 15th September the theatre held an open day and evening celebration to mark this special occasion.
One of the finest surviving examples of the work of master theatre architect Frank Matcham, the building, externally in red brick with ornate buff terracotta is listed Grade II*. It opened on 18th September 1899, under the name Theatre Royal and Opera House, with a performance of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The auditorium seats 840 on three levels and the ornate auditorium includes beautiful gilding, acres of red plush and luscious plasterwork.
The theatre has had some difficult times, including a period in the 1960s and 70s when it was not certain that it would survive, but thankfully common sense prevailed and the theatre has since gone from strength to strength.
Maintained in beautiful order after a major 1991 refurbishment, the theatre itself is a treat to visit, despite the rather cramped front of house areas and box office corridor; once inside the auditorium enchants you – superbly designed with excellent sight lines at all levels. For those interested, tours take place on a regular basis and can be booked through the theatre’s website here