Scala Theatre

Definition

Theater

  • A theater in Tottenham Street, London, opened (as the King'sConcert Rooms) in 1772. Despite several changes of name and managementin the first half of the 19th century, it failed to dispel a somewhatsecond-rate and down-at-heel reputation. In 1865, however, the actressMarie Wilton leased the Queen's, gave it a luxurious remodelling,and reopened it (in the presence of the future Edward VII) as thePrince of Wales's Theatre. That same year she produced T.W. Robertson's Society (the first of his cup-and-saucerdramas), and A Winning Hazard with Squire Bancroft, whomshe married two years later. The Bancrofts made the Princeof Wales's the leading comedy theater in London, playing togetherin such hits as The School for Scandal, London Assurance,and Diplomacy. It became one of London's favourite venues,drawing such famous names as Ellen Terry (see Terry family)and the Kendals.

    In 1880 the Bancrofts left for the Haymarket and the theaterwent downhill again. The Prince of Wales's was condemned and closed,being used for a time as a Salvation Army hostel, before being demolishedin 1903. The old portico survived as the stagedoor entrance for anew theater, the Scala, which opened in 1905. The new venue had littlesuccess, however, and turned to amateur shows, dance exhibitions,and films. In World War II it was used as the headquarters of theUS Army Theatre Unit. The Scala was eventually demolished in 1972.

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