Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre

BookLiverpool’s Royal Court Theatre

Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre

‘A Brave Venture’


April 2nd, 2019





Celebrating its eightieth birthday since being rebuilt in 1938, Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre is a vital part of the city’s cultural identity. There has been a theatre on the site for nearly two hundred years, since Cooke’s New Circus started life as the result of an argument about a broken sewer in 1826. Quickly renamed the Royal Amphitheatre (and affectionately known as the Amphi), the theatre went on to serve the city in a number of guises. From an establishment where horses were the entertainers, to the home of ‘Scouse’ comedy, by way of a music venue, the Royal Court has become a popular, people’s theatre. Over the years, it has hosted its share of world-class actors including the debut stage appearances of both Judi Dench and Richard Burton. Wonderfully illustrated, this fascinating book is the first to tell the story of the oldest surviving theatre in the city. The 1938 prospectus declared it to be “a brave venture” and courage has characterised its history. Full of surprises, this book challenges perceptions of the Royal Court celebrating and commemorating an institution that has endured, flourished and re-shaped itself, on its own terms.

'This well researched book is the first to tell the story of Liverpool’s oldest surviving theatre... For readers interested in the development of regional theatre this is a fascinating companion piece to the author’s work on the Liverpool Playhouse and the Everyman Liverpool.'Arline Wilson, HSLC

Author Information

Ros Merkin is a Reader in Drama at Liverpool John Moores University. She compiled and edited Liverpool’s Third Cathedral: The Liverpool Everyman Theatre for the theatre’s 40th birthday in 2004. Her research mainly focuses on regional theatre and includes The Glory of the Garden: English Regional Theatre and the Arts Council 1984–2009, which she edited with Kate Dorney, and a chapter on Liverpool Theatre in The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History.