His Royal Highness The Duke of York, accompanied by Princess Eugenie of York, will attend the launch of the Theatre Royal’s 175th celebration and view the results of the recent restoration programme.
Their Royal Highnesses will visit the historic Theatre and its newly restored auditorium and will be briefed on the Theatre’s distinguished past, meeting craftsmen who worked on last year’s £4.75 million restoration. This will be followed by a tour of the Theatre’s education and outreach facilities and a briefing on current projects from Head of Learning Teresa Threadgall as well as a meeting with some of the interTWINed Festival 2012 participants and the Theatre’s over 55s drama group, The Limelighters. Afterwards they will meet Theatre donors and supporters, and at 6pm will launch the illuminations.
The ‘Grand Old Lady of Grey Street’ has a long association with royalty, having been granted her Royal Licence by Prince Andrew’s ancestor George III back in 1787. She has received many visits since then, most recently from the Duke of Kent in 2008, when he made a special visit following the Theatre’s 2007 Mark et Street expansion.
Philip Bernays, Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal, said: “It is a great honour to have The Duke and Princess here, and their presence is the perfect start to what promises to be a spectacular weekend of Birthday festivities. It feels very appropriate to have our beautiful Theatre Royal royally blessed on this special occasion.”
The Theatre Birthday celebrations are two-fold – an extraordinary outdoor fire-filled event The Birthday Blaze will take place over Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th February on Grey Street, and inside the Theatre on Sunday there will be a one-off Birthday Gala show featuring stars of stage and screen including Denise Welch and Tim Healy, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, The Krankies, Christopher Biggins, Graeme Danby, Danny Adams plus many more. The Birthday Blaze is completely free to attend, and Gala tickets are available on the Theatre Royal website or from the Theatre Royal Box Office (all profits will go towards the Evening Chronicle’s Sunshine Fund, and Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids).