Built in 1886, The Royal Court Theatre in Wigan was a truly magnificent addition to the landscape of Victorian Wigan. A bold and proud structure in the heart of the working class hustle and bustle, this deceivingly large, beautiful building played host to the highlights of the day. Entertainment served as a treasured reprieve from hard work and a hard life as Wigan town centre became awash with fascinated theatre-goers desperate to be entertained. The Royal Court Theatre quickly gained faithful support and played more than its part in cementing our town as a stop off for both established megastars and rising talents of the day. In double quick time, packed out nights of as many as 3000 became common place. Imagine the electricity and anticipation as the show began, granting the impressionable audience an hour or two to drift away, free from the chimneys, the grime and the repetition and drunk on imagination.
Fast forward in time to an all new era. A re-purposing of the four walls as a cinema, then bingo hall, then two nightclubs and then fallow, hollow shell.
The building has stood unnoticed and silent for a long time.
In 2018, The Royal Court Theatre was purchased at auction by us, the operators of The Old Courts Arts Centre. Fending off the competition of developers from the region, we were delighted to secure this historic grade II listed building. The theatre, which is still largely intact, will form part of the organisations aim to further develop heritage space to support the development of culture and the arts in Wigan.
We will restore this incredible space and once again open its doors to the people of Wigan and beyond to enjoy entertainment and fill every inch of the building with culture. Wigan has long sat idle but we recognise the passion and willingness to put Wigan firmly back on the cultural map and we truly believe that The Royal Court Theatre is a key component in this change.
We intend to reinstate the space as a vibrant epicentre of theatre, music, dance and belonging. Wigan has too much to offer to allow another iconic landmark to be forgotten. The theatre has the potential of a capacity in the region of 1500- 2000 people and to host a variety of events on a national scale as well as giving our local community a stage to shine. The impact that a fully restored Royal Court Theatre would have on the cultural landscape of Wigan is astounding and cannot be overstated.
We’ve got a big job on our hands to achieve the goal that we know our town deserves, one that we’re happy to undertake but we need to raise funds and we need help. The building is ready to be restored and the town has been overwhelmingly vocal in support of this happening but we need to find the businesses, philanthropists and foundations that can propel these first vital steps into momentum. If you can help in anyway or know someone who can help please get in touch.
We want this to happen for Wigan and its people and together we can make this happen.
We’re Backing Wigan – GM Chamber Wigan Business awards Finalist 2018
We’re Backing Wigan – GM Chamber Wigan Business awards Winner 2018
Wigan Apprentice of the Year 2016
Our Stars Awards Wigan Organisation Runner-Up 2017
Arts Council Funded
Deal for Communities Funded
Arts Impact Fund Funded