Show Navigation


Robert Burns

Image taken from Glass Plate Negative of the Theatre Royal, Dumfries

19th Century

A monochrome image of the exterior of the building at the junction of Shakespeare Street and Queen Street, Dumfries.


When Robert Burns first settled in Dumfries, theatrical performances were given in the old Assembly Rooms. By 1790, however, the actor manager George Stephens Sutherland made approaches to certain men of influence suggesting that the town should have a permanent theatre.


Robert Burns was an avid supporter of this proposal and the founding spirit of the Theatre Royal was Robert Riddell, who was a close friend of the poet. The cost of the building was raised by subscription and it opened on 29 September 1792. Burns was a regular patron. He was on the free list for admission thanks to his friend Riddell and would sit in the pit.


The theatre itself was designed in the classical style with an external portico. The auditorium had a pit, a dress circle of boxes and behind that a gallery. It could accommodate an audience of up to 550. It was radically altered in 1876 in accordance with Victorian tastes and is now the only surviving Georgian theatre in Scotland.

glass plate negative
width: 210 mm, length: 160 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Glass Plate Negative, DUMFRIES, public buildings/2
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
c 1900
Dumfries & Galloway Council