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Bacup Royal Court Theatre is operated by Bacup Royal Court Theatre Group Ltd.

Bacup Royal Court Theatre Group Ltd. is a registered charity and everybody who works at the theatre is a volunteer.

We hire our professional theatre  to community organisations, performing groups, local societies, dance and drama schools, businesses and education providers from across the North West. We also work with Agents, Artists and touring companies to provide a wide range of entertainment and events of all genres which appeal to local audiences.


We provide affordable auditorium and technical facilities and affordable solutions to ticket sales, marketing and publicity, and sound and lighting services. Because we are run totally by volunteers both professionals and amateurs enjoy working our venue because of the intimacy of the space. We are also unrivalled in the friendliness, passion and personal service provided by our committed team.


Our volunteer Board of Directors meet regularly and are supported by a large number of theatre volunteers who help run nearly all aspects of the theatre, from the box office, ushering, operating the bar, cleaning and a whole host of technical and support functions.

We are grateful to our volunteers who keep the theatre running for the benefit of the local community.

The building was built as an iron foundry "Barkers Iron Foundry".

In 1892 the disused building was bought my Mr. John Walters with the intention of opening a variety theatre.

It opened as the Royal Court Theatre and on the 18th September 1893 staged it's first show.

It changed its name along the way to the New Court Theatre and in 1909 it became the Court Picture Palace. By this time its principal source of income was picture shows. Later it became the Art Picture Palace.

In 1909 the Bacup Dramatic Society performed its first show.

On the 6th Feb 1911 Dame Nelly Melba appeared in the theatre.

In 1918 it changed it name again and became the Empire Theatre and remained that until 2000 when it reverted back to its original name of the Royal Court Theatre.

In 1930's the Bacup Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society (BAODS) was born.

It originally had two circles and housed 2000 people but in 1948
the upper circle was removed and the circle altered and replaced reducing the seating capacity to 500.

In 1959 to prevent the theatre from closing down BAODS rented the theatre from Jacksons Amusements Ltd. The theatre was subsequently bought by Gordon Lever Productions of Leeds and began showing films again. The theatre was adopted to accommodate Bingo but the society used it all the while for their productions.

In 1966 Star Holding bought the theatre and in 1967 it was put on the market again. Meanwhile BOADS remained caretakers of the theatre, until May 2015 when the theatre was closed because of outstanding debts.

In June 2015 a group of dedicated volunteers formed the Bacup Royal Court Theatre Group (BRCTG) a not for profit organisation with a view to saving the theatre and they managed to reopen the theatre in Jan 2017. Under their new management the theatre is in better shape now than it has been for many years opening its doors for amateur and professional shows alike.

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