Timeline of the Theatre Royal

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Browse through our timeline of the rich history of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds.

  • 1818 - Wiliiam Wilkins bought 'a piece of ground' for £200.
  • 1819 - The Theatre opened.
  • 1828 - Shows the first surviving playbills for Shakespeare.
  • 1828 - The actor Macready arrived on stage.
  • 1838 - 13 October, gas lighting introduced.
  • 1843 - William James Achilles Abington took over the Theatre.
  • 1843 - Now in new hands, it was renamed 'Theatre Royal'.
  • 1892 - The world premiere of Charley's Aunt was staged.
  • 1903 - The Theatre Royal closed.
  • 1906 - The Theatre Royal opened with alterations.
  • 1920 - The brewers Greene King bought the building.
  • 1925 - The use of the Theatre changed to a barrel store.
  • 1960 - Local people were led by Air Vice Marshall Stanley Vincent. They raised £37,000 to get the Theatre back.
  • 1965 - A campaign led to a major restoration and re-opened its doors.
  • 1975 - The building was vested in the National Trust on a 999-year lease.
  • 1998 - Theatre Royal produced its first major touring piece of drama.
  • 200 - Fundraising and planning began for a restoration of the theatre.
  • 2005 - The Theatre closed and current restoration began.
  • 2007 - The Theatre Royal officially opened its doors once again.
  • 2011 - Script Online was launched, Georgian plays brought back to life.

If there are stories or memories you or your family have of the Theatre, we'd love to hear from you - you can email us here.