Location: Theatre Royal, Margate
Walk: 300 yards (275m). Short.
Keeper: Doreen Perry
Note: The opening hours of Theatre Royal Margate are available on www.theatreroyalmargate.co.uk
Standing in the main thoroughfare of the oldest seaside town in Kent,
one would have no idea that it boasted the second oldest provincial
theatre in England. Theatre Royal Margate’s foundation stone was
laid in 1786 and it was completed and opened in 1787.
Steeped in history, it has a chequered past. Today the Royal is a busy
and thriving theatre, providing a variety of professional and amateur
performances for the local theatre-going public. Tucked away in the
back streets behind Cecil Square the theatre is reached on foot by going
to the right, past the public library, then turning left down Princes
Street (a one way street). The theatre is on the far right hand corner
at the end of Princes Street, with its entrance on Addington Street.
If you are driving go along the main road to the right of Cecil Square
(past the library), then turn left into Hawley Square, where parking
is available. The Square was donated by Sir Henry Hawley in 1762, for
the benefit of the public. It is well kept with trees and flower beds
and a good little bistro for a pre-theatre meal. Most of the houses
are Georgian and there is a chapel, now disused, which was opened by
On arriving at the theatre – which was refurbished in 1874 to
its present facade and interior decor – enter the foyer where
the first thing you will see is the box office. Photos of today's stars
grace the walls, in contrast to the pictures of yesteryear in the auditorium
and Royal Circle. The letterbox is in the foyer.
The theatre is said to be haunted by the ghost of Miss Sarah Thorne.
Colourful posters advertise forthcoming events and show the public what
a diverse programme is on offer. There is a cosy little bar for refreshment
and one is greeted by friendly staff.