Tyne and Wear HER(16488): Sunderland, The Royalty Theatre - Details
Sunderland, The Royalty Theatre
Music Speech and Dance Venue
Sunderland's oldest community theatre established in 1925 in the Union Congregational Church (HER 13731) which was expanded into the attached three houses down the street. The Green Room Bar opened on October 5th 1973 and a The Studio Theatre was added in 1985. In 1994 it was officially known as The Royalty Theatre. The building is spread across 2 floors and has a 250 seat auditorium, bar, foyer, small theatre and upstairs houses a rehearsal room. Some original features of the church can be seen especially in the auditorium where looking up you can still see the high acres and beams from the original church. The church building was used as an auxiliary hospital during the First World War by the Joint War Committee (British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem). The committee was ordered to raise and organise Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) trained in First Aid and Nursing. The nurses were a mixture of qualified nurses and volunteers (mostly middle-class women). VAD hospitals received the sum of 3 shillings per day per patient from the War Office. The theatre was known as the Social Centre, it was run by the 11th Durham VA Hospital Unit. Mrs Elizabeth Rogers received the Royal Red Cross 2nd Class honour for service to this hospital. During the second a bomb fell outside only to bounce over the building before exploding, leaving the building untouched. The drama Club had used The Royalty on and off since its beginnings and in 1969 bought it outright and has been showcasing its productions every season since.
http://www.ghostnortheast.co.uk/royalty.html (accessed 2014); http://www.somethingparanormal.co.uk/royalty-theatre/ (accessed 2014); www.donmouth.co.uk/local_history/VAD/VAD_hospitals.html (accessed 2014); British Red Cross, 2014, List of Auxiliary Hospitals in the UK during the First World War