Search

Lowestoft's Theatre Royal history

PUBLISHED: 11:23 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 06 July 2010

This photo of The Theatre Royal, in Lowestoft, dates back to October 17, 1962, when it is believed it had been sold to Norwich businessman Roy Dashwood.

This photo of The Theatre Royal, in Lowestoft, dates back to October 17, 1962, when it is believed it had been sold to Norwich businessman Roy Dashwood.

WHEN you hear the words “Theatre Royal” you naturally think of Norwich, or possibly Bury St Edmunds.

But for a short time in the 1960s Lowestoft had its own Theatre Royal.

WHEN you hear the words “Theatre Royal” you naturally think of Norwich, or possibly Bury St Edmunds.

But for a short time in the 1960s Lowestoft had its own Theatre Royal.

The theatre, in London Road South, was built in the early 20th century. In the 1920s it was known as The Playhouse, before being rebranded as the Arcadia in 1952.

In November 1959 it was bought by Richard Armitage, of the Noel Gay Organisation. He renamed it the Theatre Royal and after three months of refurbishment he held a grand opening on February 8, 1960.

Many people were invited along to attend, including Russ Conway, who was a client of Mr Armitage. Other guests included singer Eddie Falcon, the Duke of Grafton, Lord and Lady Edward Fitzroy, Lady Townshend, Lord and Lady Somerleyton, Sir Peter and Lady Greenwell, and Lady Gooch.

Mr Conway was asked by his agent and friend to write a march entitled Theatre Royal especially for the event. Just weeks later the performer, who was born Trevor Stanford, went on to record two other titles Rule Britannia and The Royal March.

At some point the march was incorporated into the recording and the result was Royal Event. The piece would cause much controversy as it was released when Prince Andrew was born and some believed the musician was trying to cash-in on the occasion.

The Theatre Royal did not prove to be a success and closed its doors in September 1961. It was put up for auction the next month, but failed to sell. The following month Norwich businessman Roy Dashwood bought the theatre and would later turn it into a bingo hall named The Royal Casino. Today, it stands as the Hollywood Cinema.

This history of the theatre was compiled by Lowestoft historian Ivan Bunn and features amongst a tribute page to Russ Conway by Terry Horner, of West Sussex. For more on the musician and the story of Royal Event visit www.russconway.co.uk

Other news

43 minutes ago

Superb sporting images, star names and great games from yester-year will be remembered as a new group launches in Lowestoft next week.

MPs from across the region have met with ambulance bosses amid ongoing concerns over the crisis that hit the service during the festive period.

With a fizz and a pop and an appropriate amount of flame, pupils were introduced to a world of chemistry they could do at home at Ormiston Denes Academy this week.

09:30

This year’s High Sheriff Awards have been presented to a selection of Suffolk’s most devoted charitable individuals and organisations.

Most Read

Yesterday, 17:34

A proud primary school headteacher has praised staff and pupils after a recent Ofsted report found the school “is improving towards being outstanding”.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:08

Police are urging the public to stay vigilant and report suspicious behaviour after a spate of shed break-ins.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:12

Green Jack brewery’s Ripper has won a prestigious award on the opening day of the Campaign for Real Ale’s Great British Beer Festival Winter.

Read more
United Kingdom
Mon, 09:34

A major high street unit which has been empty for more than a year will once again be welcoming customers through its doors.

Read more
Britten Centre
Yesterday, 15:00

A teenager accused of aggravated vehicle taking has been given “one last chance” to have a pre-sentence report prepared on him by the probation service before he is sentenced next month.

Read more

Later in Life

cover

Click here to view
the Later in Life
supplement

View

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 2°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter