Point of Interest

Royal

England / Europe

The Theatre Royal was built in 1910, replacing a previous theatre, built in 1815, but destroyed by fire in 1908. The façade of today’s theatre exactly matches that of its predecessor. The Theatre Royal did not have an easy early life, and by 1929 it had been turned into a cinema. It was rescued by John Counsell (1905-87), actor-manager, who worked for it with vision and devotion all his working life. There were numerous setbacks, but he founded the Windsor Theatre Company on 21 March 1938. They performed a play one week, and rehearsed next week’s production simultaneously. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a performance of The Rose Without a Thorn, Counsell’s second production, and the Theatre Royal soon became an integral part of Windsor life. In 1939 John Counsell married a young actress, Mary Kerridge (1914-99) and she kept the company going while he was away serving during the war. In the mid 1960s Counsell founded the Theatre Royal Windsor Trust with The Queen as Patron. Carl Toms completely redecorated the theatre. Later the theatre was taken over by Bill Kenwright. In 2015 a repertory company was again formed, undertaking six plays in six weeks.

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