Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
The Royal Court Theatre is a theatre at 1 Roe Street, Liverpool, England. It was built in 1938 in an Art Deco style.
Built in the 12th century, the site of the current Royal Court Theatre was originally a water well. The turning point was in 1826 when a circus owner, John Cooke, bought the site for his circuses, plays, operas and concerts, and it became known as 'Cooke's Royal Amphitheatre of Arts.' During this time, Pablo Fanque, the black circus performer and proprietor immortalised in the Beatles song, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! performed here as a part of William Batty's circus. In 1881, the building was redesigned by Henry Sumner as a regular theatre and it was re-opened as the Royal Court.
A fire destroyed the building in 1933 during the opera and drama that Howard and Wyndhams Ltd were staging. After a small delay, construction works began in March 1938 to ensure the theatre was rebuilt and reopened in October of the same year.
The Royal Court Theatre we know now was opened on 17 October 1938. It had been totally rebuilt with a new Art Deco style, making it Liverpool's number one theatre with all its splendour and grandeur. The interior of the building holds a nautical theme, which is in line with Liverpool's seafaring traditions. The basement lounge has its design based on the Queen Mary liner. There are three viewing levels within the main auditorium: the Stalls, the Grand Circle and the Balcony.
Although the Blitz of World War II destroyed many of the buildings around it, the Royal Court itself remained intact. Throughout the war, many well-known artists performed in the Royal Court, including Ivor Novello, Margot Fonteyn, John Gielgud and Richard Burton who appeared in an Emlyn Williams production. The 22-year old Judi Dench made her professional stage debut here in September 1957, playing Ophelia in an Old Vic production of Hamlet.
In 1980, two former Liverpool taxi drivers took the Royal Court in a new direction, moving away from traditional plays and instead transferring the focus to rock and pop concerts. Their first year ended promisingly and proved to be a successful strategy for the venue, which went on to play host to artists as internationally famous as Rage Against the Machine, R.E.M., Iron Maiden, David Bowie, Ozzy Osbourne, Roger Taylor, Brian May, U2 and George Michael.
The music videos for "Let It Go", "High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)", and "Bringin' On the Heartbreak", by the British rock band Def Leppard was directed by Doug Smith and shot on July 22, 1981. The photo on "Let It Go" single cover was taken from that shoot.
In 1983, rock group Slade performed their last live UK concert with the original lineup featuring Noddy Holder.
In 1990, the building was listed as Grade II, highlighting the fact that it is a major part of Liverpool's heritage.
The stalls are now set out in a three-tier cabaret-style arrangement with tables and chairs and a bar at the rear of the stalls. The current capacity is 1186 (Stalls 290 [cabaret,] Circle 403, Balcony 493) Following two years of being the home to the Rawhide Comedy Club, the Royal Court made a move back to producing theatre in the summer of 2007 with the sell-out re-run of Brick up the Mersey Tunnels. [Wikipedia ]