Good Venue Guide; 17: Glasgow Theatre Royal
Sunday 01 February 1998
Brief history: originally "Bayliss's Coliseum Theatre and Opera House", it was destroyed by fire in 1879. Rebuilt by Charles John Phipps in 1880, many famous thespians trod its boards, including Sarah Bernhardt and Henry Irving. In 1956 it was sold to Scottish Television and the theatre discovered a hitherto unknown popularity with queues round the block to see the live daily broadcast of The One O'Clock Gang. Guests on the show included a youthful Shirley Bassey singing "Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me". Another fire brought an end to it all in 1969. Restored in 1975 and taken under the wing of Sir Alexander Gibson, the theatre became home to both the Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet.
How to know it when you see it: a Victorian proscenium-arch theatre with a neo-classical facade, its 1,500-seater auditorium is considered one of Phipps's best, famous for its fine acoustics. Thanks to a pounds 1.8m lottery grant, it now has an extended orchestra pit and has lost the tandoori- style flock wallpaper.
Strange but true: the theatre has two ghosts. One is that of a fireman who drowned in foam after falling into the basement in the 1969 fire. The other is that of Nora, a Victorian wannabe actress, whose only dramatic entrance on stage came when she flung herself off the balcony.
Current events: Cosi Fan Tutte, from Thurs to 18 Feb. All bookings on 0141 332 9000.
Where to meet: the theatre's own Cafe Royal.
Cost of a glass of wine: a snip at only pounds 2.
Transport: Cowcaddens underground station, or Queen Street railway station, which is only five minutes walk away.
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