The Georgian Theatre Royal is a really special place. You step through the modern frontage literally into another world, one that's quite unexpected in the Dales. It's not a big theatre but it's certainly professional and historic. It's actually Britain's oldest working theatre in its original form, and manages to fulfil several roles admirably - as a playhouse, a living theatre museum, wedding and meeting venue.
Built by actor-manager Samuel Butler in 1788, it was in regular use for performances until at least 1830 and then had a variety of other purposes including as an auction room and wine vault! After a significant programme of restoration it re-opened in 1963, and was later expanded.
How does a performance in an 18th century playhouse feel? It's a much more intimate experience than in many theatres, with a sort of courtyard feel. Boxes and galleried seating are quite close to the stage - the furthest seat is less than 11 metres from the stage. The colour scheme feels authentic, with simulated candle lustres adding to the atmosphere. The seats aren't the softest but being that close to the stage you'll be too engrossed to notice.
The Georgian Theatre Experience offers a change to go back stage, when you can discover much more about the history of the theatre and its secrets. Their tours are really immersive with a chance to try on costumes, and learn about the life of a Georgian actor. You'll even be able to stand on the stage, see the historic woodland scenery and look at the stage from the perspective of both the cheap seats and an exclusive box. For more details of when tours and performances take place please see their website. All images thanks to The Georgian Theatre Royal.