Tynemouth Priory Theatre


Tynemouth Theatre Masks

The History Of Tynemouth Priory Theatre

The village of Tynemouth had at least one theatre.
It may have had two.
In the beginning of December 1821 Mr. Fraser, late of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, issued a bill in which he most respectfully informed " the nobility and gentry " that he purposed opening a theatre, with a grand display of scenery and dresses for a few nights. " The theatre," we read, " is fitted up in neat style, in Mrs. Spurrier's Long Room, Bath Inn, Tynemouth, and will open on Wednesday, December 4th, 1821." Boxes were two shillings,, Pit one shilling, and Gallery six shillings. It is not known how long Mr. Fraser’s venture lasted.

In June 1824 benefit performances were given for Mr. and Mrs. Botham and Mrs. Montague in the same theatre. Only two bills, dated respectively June 15th and 16th, have been seen and no information is available to show whether these were the only performances of the season or whether the theatre had been open each year since 1821. This Bath Inn Theatre appears to have closed down in or prior to 1826.

There is a likelihood that a theatre was carried on in some other building in Tynemouth after the closing down of the "Bath." On Wednesday, June 28th, 1826, Mr. Botham announced to "the gentry and inhabitants of Tynemouth and its vicinity" that he had fitted up a theatre on the premises of Mrs, Wilson and that as the season would not be long, he hoped to obtain the patronage and support of the public, which it would he his study to deserve and pride to acknowledge. He was described as manager of the theatres at Whitby, Pickering, Redcar, Thirsk, etc.

The reason for assuming that the Bath Inn Theatre had closed down is that Mr. Botham's bill announced that tickets could be obtained at the theatre and also " of Mrs. Spurrier." According to the directory of 1827, Mrs. Spurrier was still at the Bath Inn and it is not unreasonable to assume that she had not left it since 1831. No trace of a Mrs. Wilson, proprietor of an inn or hotel is shown in the directory, the only Wilson included in the list of inhabitants being Ann Wilson, farmer. It seems clear, as tickets were to be obtained both at the theatre and of Mrs. Spurrier that Mr. Botham's theatre was not at the Bath Inn and that there was no theatre there in that year.

Other booths visited North Shields from time to time. Bills have been seen for performances of The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green and Rob Roy. Both carry a heading ' Theatre, New Quay," written in by hand hut no names are given of proprietor or performers. Both were for the year 1828, one dated May 15 th and the other some months later.

North Shields Theatres by Robert King
Tynemouth Priory Theatre