The Theatre Royal in Hawkins Street (the fifth incarnation of theatres named so in Dublin) was a large Art Deco building that was billed as the largest in Europe when it opened in 1935.
Designed for an audience of 3,700 people seated and 300 standing, it was intended for use as both theatre and cinema. (The Regal Rooms Restaurant within was converted into the Regal Rooms Cinema in 1938).
In 1936, the Royal was acquired by Patrick Wall and Louis Elliman, who also owned the Gaiety.
The theatre had a resident 25-piece orchestra under the direction of Jimmy Campbell and a troupe of singer-dancers, the Royalettes.
Big-name stars from overseas featured here included Gracie Fields, George Formby, Max Wall, Max Miller and Jimmy Durante.
It's mainstay Irish household names included Jimmy O'Dea, Harry O'Donovan, Maureen Potter, Danny Cummins, Mike Nolan, Alice Dalgarno, Noel Purcell, Micheál Mac Liammóir, Cecil Sheridan, Jack Cruise, Paddy Crosbie and Patricia Cahill.
In July 1951 Judy Garland appeared for a series of sold out performances and was received with tremendous ovations. The legendary singer sang from her dressing room window to hundreds of people who were unable to get tickets and critics dubbed her "America's Colleen". She drew the largest crowds up until that time (only the visits to Ireland of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and Pope John Paul II in 1979 would later surpass her).
Popular Irish American entertainer Carmel Quinn also made her singing debut here during the early 1950s.
The fifth Theatre Royal, Dublin closed its doors on 30 June 1962 due to the rise in popularity of cinema and television. The building was soon demolished and the site redeveloped.
Up until 2019, the site of the Theater Royal was home to Hawkins House (the headquarters of Ireland's Department of Health until 2019) and the New Metropole (on the corner of Hawkins Street and Townsend Street) aka the Screen Cinema. These buildings were demolished in 2019.
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