Circa: September 1881
After opening the Prince’s Theatre on Park Row, James Chute opened the Theatre Royal less frequently and it soon fell into poor condition.
When Andrew Melville became manager in 1881, serious repairs were necessary. Despite a lack of significant financial support from the Proprietors, Melville hired C.J. Phipps and local architect T. Pope.
They cut the stage back by five feet, overhauled the under-stage machinery, replaced seats and added backs to the benches in the gallery and pit. However, their most noticeable improvement was installing the star-studded ceiling. The estimated costs were £3000; Melville was granted £700 from the Proprietors but must have paid for most of the renovations himself. This transformative renovation made the auditorium substantially similar to the one we have today.