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Georgian Theatre

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At The Theatre

The Victoria County History records that a theatre is said to have existed in Hull's Whitefriargate at the end of the 16th Century, but no contemporary references to it have been found. Hull City records can identify a company of strolling players visiting the city as far back as 1599 and, earlier still, Hull (like many other towns) had performances of the religious plays from which theatrical tradition was to emerge. The only such play for which details have survived is the play Noah by the Guild of the Holy Trinity.

Hull Local Studies Library holds a large collection of theatrical posters, handbills and programmes.

The New Theatre
Lowgate, Hull
Known to have been in existence by 1743, but the date of construction is unknown.
Theatre Royal
Finkle Street, Hull
This is the first Hull theatre with a known date of construction, having been built in1768 by the actor-manager Tate Wilkinson. In 1769, following an act of empowerment by the King licensing playhouses in Hull and York, it became The Theatre Royal; a name passes on to many different theatres until the beginning of the 20th Century.
Theatre Royal
Humber Street, Hull
The second Theatre Royal, a larger building than the first, was built by Tate Wilkinson's son, John Wilkinson. An illustration from 1810 shows the theatre standing alone and overlooking the bank of the Humber on what was, at that time, the river frontage. A detailed account in local newspapers describe the building as accommodating 1700, having 3 tiers of boxes, 2 galleries and a pit. The interior is described as being luxuriously decorated in pick, white, yellow and gray with scarlet-lined boxes. It was burned down in 1859.
Victorian Theatre

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A very special thanks to Hull Local Studies Library for their help with our research projects.