Topic: Alexandra Hall (Theatre Royal)

Topic type:

Alexandra Hall c1895                                                      

                                                                       Puke Ariki Collection PHO2004-183  

In December 1881 a company was formed to build a public hall and theatre In New Plymouth.

Tenders were received in June 1882 and the successful tender for the building came from Mr William Gardiner of Opunake for £3,100. It appears Mr Gardiner was unable to complete the project and it fell to Messrs. Berry and Newman to finish the building. The hall was designed by New Plymouth architect, Mr Henry Edmonds.

The Alexandra Hall opened on the 17th of January 1883 with the Philharmonic Orchestra performing the Oratorio of Elijah. The local performers were joined by five instrumentalists from Auckland and a tenor from Nelson. A Taranaki Herald report of 15 January indicated that several other amateurs were expected to arrive from Auckland, Patea and Hawera.

As the Alexandra Hall it had many uses including shows run by the Northern Agriculture Association, a forerunner of the Taranaki Agricultural Society.

In August 1897 the new lessees (Messrs Fisher and Jones) of the hall changed the name to the Theatre Royal. The first cinema screening occurred on the 16th of June 1910.

In the early hours of July 22nd, 1916 the Theatre Royal and almost all the buildings in this Devon Street West block were destroyed by a fire which began in the theatre.

Eventually the theatre was replaced by the present Opera House which was officially opened on Saturday 28th of November, 1925.

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion