The Royal Strand Theatre

The Royal Strand Theatre was located in the Strand in the City of Westminster. The theatre was built on the site of a panorama in 1832, and in 1882 was rebuilt by the prolific theatre architect Charles J. Phipps. It was demolished in 1905 to make way for Aldwych tube station.HistoryFrom 1801, Thomas Edward Barker set up a rival panorama to his father's in Leicester Square, at 168/169 Strand. On the death of Robert Barker, in 1806, his younger brother, Henry Aston Barker took over management of the Leicester Square rotunda. In 1816, Henry bought the panorama in the Strand, which was then known as Reinagle and Barker's Panorama, and the two panoramas were then run jointly until 1831. Their building was then used as a dissenting chapel and was purchased by Benjamin Lionel Rayner, a noted actor, in 1832.Subscription theatreRayner engaged Charles Broad to convert and extend the original building as a theatre. This was built in 1832 in seven weeks, at a cost of £3,000. The theatre opened on 15 January 1832, as Rayner's New Subscription Theatre, with a production of Struggles at Starting. Within weeks, the venture failed and was sold to the actress Harriet Waylett, re-opening as The New Strand (Subscription) Theatre. Again, the theatre lacked support and closed in November 1832. The theatre was re-opened in early 1833 as the New Strand Theatre, by F***y Kelly - who also based a drama school there. The singer, Rebecca Isaacs was the Directress of Operas at the theatre from 1852 to 1853, and again in 1855. The theatre failed because it was unlicensed, and this put it into competition with London's patent theatres. Presenting plays by subscription was one method of evading the Acts, but tickets could not be sold at the theatre. This was circumvented by selling them at neighbouring shops; and at one point the public were admitted free on purchase of an ounce of rose lozenges for four shillings (stalls), or half an ounce of peppermint drops for two shillings (the pit) from the neighbouring confectioners.

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