Ref noTR/Aal
TitleFoundation and Proprietors
Date1764 - 1963
DescriptionDeeds of Trust
The deeds of trust list the founding proprietors of the theatre and outline the responsibilities - financial for the Proprietors and organisational for their Trustees - of the individuals involved in the foundation and maintenance of theatre. The records relate to the original body of Trustees, who were responsible for the theatre from its inception until 1925.

The theatre received its Royal Patent in 1778 following a private Act of Parliament. The theatre was operating illegally for its first twelve years, although this appears to have been in a more technical sense than a genuinely risky one. The patent was renewed regularly until the early twentieth century when it was allowed to lapse and the theatre managers took up local licences instead.

From their £50 share in the theatre, the proprietors could expect not only a share in the dividends but also free admittance to performances at the theatre. A silver ticket or token (see TR/Sm/3/2/1-2) admitted the bearer to any night's play or entertainment at the theatre. The tickets were, however, separately transferrable to the shares, leading to mismatch between the list of shareholders and those holding a ticket. From 1816, The Secretary of the Committee was charged with keeping a register of the names of proprietors, the number and nature of their shares, as well as copies of any conveyances/wills concerning the proprietors' claims. Annotations on some of the conveyances of shares indicate the attempts by the Secretary to determine this.
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