The Georgian Theatre Royal, Britain's oldest working theatre in its original form, is both a thriving community playhouse and a living theatre museum.
Built by actor-manager Samuel Butler in 1788, the Georgian Theatre Royal was managed by Butler along with his circuit of theatres at Beverley, Harrogate, Kendal, Northallerton, Ripon, Ulverston and Whitby.
The Georgian Theatre Royal is Britain's most complete Georgian playhouse. Built by the actor-manager Samuel Butler in 1788, the theatre was in regular use until 1830 when performances became less frequent. In 1848 it was let as an auction room. Wine vaults were constructed in the pit at about the same time. In 1960 a non-profit trust was incorporated, a public appeal launched and a restoration began. The theatre reopened in 1963. It is Grade I Listed 'as a building of special architectural or historical interest'. Behind the stage, a small theatre museum was expanded in 1996.
From 2002 a second extensive restoration was undertaken and the theatre reopened in September 2003 after this 1.6 million upgrade. The Georgian plays an important role as a focus for economic regeneration and renewal in its rural communities.