His Majesty’s Theatre
His Majesty’s Theatre is designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1906. It has one of the UK’s most impressive auditoriums, in which the attendees are very close and personal with what they are enjoying.
The venue was built to replace Her Majesty’s Theatre, known as the Tivoli Theatre, which is located on Guild Street. More space and better facilities for guests were required, so the His Majesty’s project was initiated.
The cost of the building was £35,000, which in today’s money would be in the high hundreds of thousands if not more.
The first night was a huge success, being sold out. Kicking the theatre off Little Red Riding Hood was performed. There was a little crowd trouble with it’s placid theme, and the police had to be brought in to tame the theatregoers: too much excitement and a few too many open nights celebratory drinks. Back in 1906, there were limited thing’s to do compared to nowadays. Theatre was a lot more popular then. That said, however, and still to this day, the theatre attracts a broad, diverse audience of young and old alike.
The project was proudly built using almost all local contractors and servicemen. In 1906 things were done differently, and local trades were used in most projects across Aberdeen, Scotland and the UK.
James Donald bought the cinema in 1933. Under his control, the theatre was renovated with a revolving stage. These days revolving stages are commonplace, but at the time, it was the only one in Scotland and one of a few globally.
A theatre with the same name was’ twinned’ with Aberdeen’s own. The connection was made in 2006, and lucky twin was His Majesty’s in Perth, Australia, of all places. On the other side of the world maybe, but a relationship has been built.
In 2005 a major renovation was completed. With an £8 million investment, a huge glass structure was created at the front of the building. It looks out onto Union Terrace Gardens, which a park centrally located in the heart of the city. It now features a very popular restaurant. The glass is stunning and a great addition to the main theatre building.
Whilst being completed, the theatre didn’t want a standstill. It temporarily relocated to the Hilton Campus, which is part of Aberdeen University.
Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) formed as a trust in 2005. It took control of His Majesties as well as the Music Hall. Looking to expand out, APA even created their first major production with SunSet song. It received critical acclaim and has grown to be performed all over Scotland, in cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Perth. In 2008, APA also added the Lemon Tree to it’s portfolio. The theatre, the Music Hall and The Lemon tree that’s three formidable locations that deliver a lot of entertainment and enjoyment to Aberdeen’s inhabitants and tourists.Next: Sir Duncan Rice Library