The Royal Lyceum Theatre opened in September 1883 having been built for theatrical entrepreneurs Howard and Wyndham by C.J. Phipps at an original cost of £17,000. It is a magnificent example of late Victorian theatre architecture with its stage set behind a proscenium arch.
The building underwent major alterations in 1929 and 1977 and the glass foyer was added in 1991. At the same time the administration office moved out of the function rooms now named after Henry Irving and Ellen Terry and into the former Heriot Watt University student union building opposite the theatre, where our Rehearsal Room and Creative Learning Space are also located.
In 1996 and 2001-3, the Lyceum benefited from Scottish Arts Council, National Lottery and City of Edinburgh Council capital grants to refurbish the front of house areas of the theatre, our workshops at Roseburn and the administration building in Grindlay Street fully accessible to people with disabilities; to address health and safety issues and to make working conditions better; to provide a dedicated education workshop space for schools and the Lyceum Youth Theatre; to refurbish the rehearsal room; and to purchase new lighting and sound equipment.
Since 1947 the Royal Lyceum Theatre has regularly been used as one of the principal stages of the Edinburgh International Festival. We hire out the theatre to the Edinburgh International Festival Society for three weeks in August as a main performance venue to host visiting companies during the International Festival. We also rent the building to conference and concert promoters throughout the year.