Dynamic duo's Royal takeover

Published: 28 March 2021
Reporter: David Upton

Chantelle Nolan and Jane Jospeh

Regal Entertainments Ltd., the company that has managed day-to-day running of of St Helens Theatre Royal for 22 years, has now taken over ownership from the venue’s charitable trust.

Regal Entertainments is led by mother and daughter duo, creative director Jane Joseph and director and general manager Chantelle Nolan. They took over tenancy in 1999, working in partnership with the trust which had owned the venue freehold since 1986.

For two decades, the duo have built up the theatre’s reputation, attracting household names and national touring shows. They also produce all in-house productions, which includes seasonal pantos and a stage play each year.

The purchase means Regal Entertainments is now entirely responsible. The trust will remain active and continue to fundraise.

The venue was designed by celebrated theatre architect Frank Matcham and opened its doors in 1901, replacing the Theatre Royal and Opera House which had stood on the same site until destroyed by fire in 1899. In 1964, the current theatre was gutted and extensively remodelled and modernised, with the addition of a glass façade.

As part of a response to the pandemic, Regal Entertainments launched a new theatre annual membership scheme in July which has provided a new and much-needed income stream.

Regal has also taken a number of its popular pantomimes online.

In October, Theatre Royal was also successful in a bid for funds from the COVID-19 Culture Recovery Fund.