The Theatre Royal that we see today dates from 1812, and is the fourth theatre to be built on the site.
The first building was converted from an old cock-pit in the reign of James I, and rebuilt by Christopher Wren in 1660.
A century later the theatre had fallen into disrepair and Henry Holland was commissioned to replace it. His construction lasted all of fifteen years before the flames came calling. The dramatist Richard Sheridan is said to have retired to the shop next door whilst it burnt to the ground, calmly drinking port:
Surely, he said,
a man may take a glass of port by his own fireside.
The fourth and final theatre was built by Benjamin Wyatt in 1812.
Theatre Royal is said to be haunted by a ghost that appears in the Circle during matinees. He dates from 1840, when a skeleton was discovered behind a wall with a knife in his ribs.
If you enjoy this then try: Dominion Theatre (you can walk it 10 mins); Her Majesty’s Theatre (walk it in 14 mins or catch a train from Covent Garden to Her Majesty’s Theatre); Palace Theatre (you can walk it 10 mins); Queen’s Theatre (walk it in 12 mins or catch a train from Covent Garden to Queen’s Theatre) and Shaftesbury Theatre (you can walk it in 7 mins).