The town of Llanelli once boasted a Victorian music hall and theatre that was demolished in 1977. Appropriately called ‘The Royalty Theatre’, its construction was completed by Boxing Night December 1892, ready for the opening performance of Alfred Cox’s comedy drama ‘A Detective’ which was performed by C.H. Ross’s Comedy Company.

The building was erected on the corner of Market Street and Water Street by the contractor Mr. Tom Hughes under the supervision of the Swansea architect Mr. T.P. Martin, the sub contractor was the well known builder T.P. Jones of Llangathen Stores and Station Road, Llanelli. The theatre was illuminated by gaslight which was installed by the Llanelli plumber and gas fitter, Messrs. Vivian & Co.

Local press reports on the ‘first night’ performance stated that the theatre could accommodate over a thousand people. According to the newspapers, the proprietor, Mr J.E. Noakes and the manager Mr Sidney Beltram were to be congratulated on the enterprise.

‘The Royalty’ is said to have been the venue for many Victorian and Edwardian actors, performers, singers and speakers. A list which includes Charlie Chaplin, Mari Lloyd and Gracie Fields. Keir Hardie, one of the founding members of the early Labour Party, addressed the people of Llanelli there in 1908.

Over the next eighty years the theatre was owned by a number of different proprietors and was known as Haggars, The Hippodrome and ‘Argos’ bingo hall. Finally, it was demolished in 1977 to make way for a new Tesco store.

Like the proverbial phoenix, ‘The Royalty’ has risen again from the ashes for the site is once again occupied by a building connected with drama, acting and entertainment. The television studio Tinopolis has now taken over the ‘role’ of its predecessor, but plays to a much wider audience!

A Blue Plaque sponsored by Mr John Wynne Hopkins, The Chairman of Llanelli Community Heritage marks the site of the north wall of The Royalty Theatre in Water Street. A further two informative Plaques sponsored by Tinopolis record the Royalty’s connection with Charlie Chaplin and one of its former proprietors, Arthur William Haggar, a pioneer of early filmmaking are located at the TV studio’s entrance in Park Street.