Over the last 4 years a team have been working their way round the vast walls of Theatre Royal; redecorating and carrying out minor structural repairs. The team began at Catherine Street back in 2011 where a new roof terrace was created, providing a wonderful drinking spot for summer afternoons, the Russell Street side followed and this year it was time to work on the old scenery store, now known as ‘Long Dock’; Really Useful Theatres Head Office.
Preparations begun a long time before any physical improvements could be made; works to a grade 1 listed building requires thorough documentation and meetings with Westminster City Council and the English Heritage. Following the annual structural engineer’s inspection a full scaffold was installed for renovation and cleaning of the brickwork. The cornice above the collinade was reformed, windows and frames were redecorated and gas style lamps were reintroduced; in keeping with the style the building.
The whole process took 6 months and the end result leaves the building looking brand new!
The Rotunda, Royal Staircases, Coffee Rooms and Grand Saloon
Prior to the opening of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” during June 2013, a major restoration of the magnificent Grand Saloon and its two adjoining Coffee Rooms was undertaken.
In order to recapture the original decorative scheme and feel of the rooms, meticulous historical research was undertaken by Georgian period experts. This included stripping away and analysing nine layers of paint and discovering, in the British Library, original coloured prints showing the rooms in use.
As part of the restoration an original window lost during previous alterations has been reinstated, the floors have been returned to the original timber, and period rugs have been designed and woven.
An external terrace which is accessible through the Grand Saloon has been created above the portico on Catherine Street to provide an additional facility where the theatre’s audience can enjoy a pre-show and interval drink.
The King’s and Prince’s staircases have been redecorated, and the pictures which were part of the original decorative scheme have been restored.
The entire restoration recently won a prestigious architectural award from the Georgian Group.