Theatre History

Early TheatreVictorian EraEarly 20th CenturyNew Millennium


Early 20th Century

The Theatre Royal Dumfries saw multiple changes of ownership during the first half the of 20th Century.  The numerous owners all brought different acts to the theatre, reflecting the changing tastes of the audience in Dumfries.

One such change was brought in by the Stobie brothers who purchased the theatre in 1909.  They renovated the theatre, installing a Maplewood floor at street level, in a bid to capitalise on the fad for roller skating.  This fad was short-lived, however, so they quickly reinstalled seating and reverted to a theatre.

Cinema quickly grew in popularity across the globe but proved particularly popular throughout Scotland.  Dumfries was no exception to this trend and by the 1920s the Theatre Royal had been leased out as a cinema rather than a theatre.  Eventually, the theatre changed its name to The Electric Theatre to better reflect its new purpose.  The Electric Theatre remained in operation until 1954 when it closed its doors for good.

Purchase by the Guild

In 1959 the Guild of Players began looking for a new permanent venue out of which to operate.  They purchased the old Theatre Royal and immediately began refurbishing the building.  They retained as much of the historic character as they could but installed many new features over the latter half of the 20th Century.  This included the construction of new dressing room facilities and a new bar in the 1980s.


Victorian EraNew Millennium