Royal Court Theatre, 1 Roe Street, Liverpool, L1 1HL – Visit Now
The Royal Court occupies a singular place in Scouse culture. Its fortunes have, in many ways, mirrored the city’s own. Once a grand Art Deco music hall (opened in 1938), the theatre sunk into a steady decline in the 1980s.
By the mid-1990s the plaster was peeling in great waves from the theatre’s ornate moulded ceilings. With its windows resembling arrow slits, and the less-than-processional route into its dismal foyer, the Royal Court was a place that reeked of faded memories and mouldy greasepaint. However, recently the theatre has enjoyed something of a renaissance, following a multi-million pound refurb in 2005. Now, the theatre stages mostly home-grown comedies, somewhat mannered and self-conscious reflections of an inward-looking city. It’s a genre some in the city have dubbed ‘scouseploitation’: A Nightmare on Lime Street, Slappers and Slapheads, Brick up the Mersey Tunnels et al (many written by Kirby wordsmith Nicky Alt). The in-jokes, blunt edged humour and prosaic subject matter mightn’t be to everyone’s taste. But here’s the thing: the shows are always sell outs, and the theatre’s coffers have never looked so good.