They have seen ghosts, plots to kill the sovereign, and the birth of musical theatre – now they’re coming to Gloucester.
Hundreds of seats from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane will come to Gloucester’s Olympus theatre to help with its refurbishment.
While the London venue gets a £45million revival, the Barton Street theatre will get 450 of the golden seats which are still in good condition.
Two other venues in the UK will get the rest of the more than 1,000 seats for their auditoriums.
Phil McCormick, from the Gloucester Theatre Association, will use the seats to begin piecing back together the theatre, which recently announced Hollywood star Simon Pegg as its new patron.
He said: “Gloucester has a beautiful turn of the century theatre that has remained closed for 10 of the past 15 years and this gift is invaluable in our quest to save, fully restore and reopen Gloucester’s only remaining purpose-built theatre.”
Built in 1890, the theatre offers a 375-seat space for theatre, dance, live classic and rock music, and comedy.
LW Theatres will breathe new life into the unique and iconic architecture of their Grade 1 Regency building and restore the historic theatre – the longest continually running theatre in the world – to its former 1812 glory.
Chief executive of LW Theatres, Rebecca Kane Burton, said: “LW Theatres is thrilled to recycle a much-loved piece of our history in a way that adds real value to regional theatres. We look forward to following the journey from Theatre Royal Drury Lane to their new life enjoyed by new audiences across the UK.”
The oldest continuously operating theatre in the world, the Theatre Royal has housed some of the most iconic moments in London’s West End over the theatre’s 355-year star-studded history.
Charles II famously first encountered Nell Gwynne at the theatre when she debuted in 1665, and the world’s biggest and best loved musicals have opened on its stage including Oklahoma! (1947) starring Howard Keel, Carousel (1950) with Mary Martin and My Fair Lady (1958-63) with Julie Andrews.
The most haunted theatre in the world, a few (hundred) ghosts have no doubt taken comfort in the seats throughout the years when the lights go down.
The seats are due at the Olympus theatre on January 22.