Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Theatre and Shows - Theatres and Venues - Royalty Theatre

    Royal Dramatic School and Theatre, Under the Patronage of His Grace the Duke of Devonshire. Miss Kelly has the Honour to announce to the Nobility, Gentry, her Friends, and the Public, that she has at length matured the Plan, some time since submitted to their approval, for the establishment of a Dramatic School.
    A License has been granted for a Winter Season, and the patronage and protection of some of the first rank and talent in the Country accorded to the undertaking.
    Thus encouraged, Miss Kelly has embarked a considerable capital in the purchase of property, and in erecting a small but commodious theatre, attached to her own residence, in which talent may be cultivated and practical knowledge advanced, by Courses of Lectures, daily readings, and stage studies.
    Those who have it in intention to adopt the Theatrical Profession will be directed in that line of Art to which their talents may incline them; and it is proposed that in the gradual introduction of Candidates for Public notice, merit alone shall take the lead: the best adapted powers being brought to bear upon the best productions of our established Dramatists.
    There is one point to which Miss Kelly has directed the most anxious consideration, and in the accomplishment of which she still is, and must continue to be, most actively engaged; namely, the necessity of providing resources for those who, whilst preparing for the Profession, are without the means of subsistence.
    Too many possessing considerable talent, urged by necessity, rush into humble and even disreputable positions in the Profession, from which they never rise, for want of those advantages which time and cultivation would have afforded them. Others, through some channel which commands a temporary footing, monopolize a station they have not talent to adorn; and, in either case, the result to Female Candidates is at least dangerous, if not pernicious, in their after course through life.
    To avoid this evil, Miss Kelly has devoted a branch of the Establishment to the intellectual improvement, and the industrious occupation of the youthful pupils of both sexes; affording to each a fair proportion of the funds arising from their own exertions. Thus every one will possess a power to provide against the chance of failure in the Dramatic Art, by the exercise of some ability, which, in another walk of life, may be esteemed both useful and respectable. 
    Thus far Miss Kelly has, by her own unaided exertion, and with no other funds than the thrifty savings of her professional life, surmounted every difficulty, and prepared for the public operation of her Plans; and willing to abide the test of an honest intention and earnest activity, ventures once again before the Public as an humble, but faithful, labourer in the Dramatic Art, with those who would recall the stage from a state of degradation to all its intellectual and moral usefulness.
    An Annual Subscriber of Two Guineas will be entitled to admission on Six occasions, reserved for the Patrons during the Spring Season; and as the Subscription Nights are fixed for the first Monday in every month, Subscribers all have the privilege, by giving timely notice, to fix their own time for the admission of their Tickets.
    The Plan and Drawings of the Theatre, with the more minute details of the undertaking, will be open to Subscribers from Three o'Clock till Five daily, at Miss Kelly's Residence. 73, Dean Street, Soho Square.

manifesto written by Fanny Kelly, 1834

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Royalty Theatre, Dean-street, Soho—A pretty little house in Soho, formerly known by the name of that locality, and better still as “Miss Kelly’s.” NEAREST Railway Stations, Charing-cross (S.E. and Dist.), and Portland-road; Omnibus Routes, Oxford-st, Regent-st, and St. Martin’s-lane.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879


Opened in 1840 as Miss Kelly's Theatre and Dramatic School. Reopened as the Royal Soho Theatre in 1850, and briefly known as the Theatre Francaise in 1861. Reopened as the New Royalty Theatre in 1861, then the New Royalty Operetta House for a season in 1862. Reopened as Royalty Theatre in 1883. [see Lost Theatres of London by Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson for more information]