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Revealed: 'extreme' restoration for Newcastle's Theatre Royal

These are the first pictures of the newly restored Grade I-listed Theatre Royal in Newcastle

Overseen by Sansome Hall Architects, the £4.9 million project has been hailed as ‘one of the biggest and most meticulous theatre restorations in recorded history’.

The scheme, which took six months and 500 workmen from across Europe to complete, recreated the original 1901 Frank Matcham interior which had been partially removed during the £6.35 million, 1988s revamp masterminded by RHWL.

The latest scheme included renovating brasswork, light fittings, wallpaper, ornate gold-leaf plasterwork - using 37,000 pieces of gold leaf - and replacing lost tilework and carpets.

David Wilmore, a theatre consultant and Matcham expert who advised on the project said: ‘The level of detail is extreme. Nothing is off-the-shelf here, everything has been bespoke-made using traditional techniques, and for that reason the project signifies a fundamental shift in how we approach conservation in the 21st century.” 

‘This is the biggest and most meticulous theatre restoration I have ever worked on - no other I’m aware of has been as meticulously researched and recreated.’ 

Lighting, air conditioning and technical facilities have also been upgraded with foyers, toilets and stairways renovated.

Charcoalblue theatre consultants, Newcastle-based SURGO Construction, conservation experts Theatresearch, building engineers Max Fordham and cost consultants FK Howard also worked on the scheme.

The project has largely been funded by a £1.75 heritage contribution on every ticket sold since 2008 with the rest of the funding coming from private and trust donations, as well as a £300,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Theatre will reopen to the public on Monday 12 September with Alan Bennett’s period drama The Madness of George III.  It will be the first show to be performed in the theatre for more thanr six months.

After Restoration

After Restoration

The Madness of George III appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from 12 - 17 September 2011 (Evenings: 7.30pm, Matinees: Thursday 2pm and Saturday 2.30pm). Tickets are £9.00 - £30.00 and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at

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