Show Navigation

Robert Burns


Theatre Royal, Dumfries (2)

Image Rights Holder:
Dumfries & Galloway Museums Service
:Future Museum
35mm colour transparency
Robert Burns
photograph, colour transparency
20th Century
Burns, Robert “The Complete Letters of Robert Burns”, Ed. James A Mackay. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1987; Burns, Robert “The Letters of Robert Burns”, 2 vols., Ed. J de Lancey Ferguson and G Ross Roy. Oxford: Clarendon, 1985; Crawford, Robert “The Bard – Robert Burns, a Biography”. London: Jonathan Cape, 2009; Hogg, Patrick Scott “Robert Burns – The Patriot Bard”. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 2008; Lindsay, Maurice “Robert Burns – The Man, his Work, the Legend”. New York and London: Robert Hale and St Martin’s Press, 1979; Lindsay, Maurice “The Burns Encyclopaedia”, 3rd edition. London and New York: Robert Hale and St Martin’s Press, 1980; Lockwood, David “Celebrate the Legend – Discover Robert Burns in Dumfries and Galloway”. Dumfries: Dumfries and Galloway Council, 2009; Mackay, James A “Burns-Lore of Dumfries and Galloway”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1988; Mackay, James “Burnsiana”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1988; Mackay, James “A Biography of Robert Burns”. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992; McDowall, William “History of the Burgh of Dumfries, with Notices of Nithsdale, Annandale and the Western Border”, 4th edition. Dumfries: T C Farries and Company Limited, 1986; McIntyre, Ian “Dirt & Deity – A Life of Robert Burns”. London: HarperCollins, 1995

This photograph was part of the first group of images of locations associated with Robert Burns to be made specifically for website use. It was taken using a 'conventional' SLR camera (not digital) on 35mm colour transparency film. The film was then sent to a photolab for processing; on its return the frames to be used were selected and these were sent back to the photolab for digitisation. They were written to a Photo CD Portfolio II disk as .pcd files, which was then passed to the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network for uploading to their website. In all the images moved through the postal system five times.


This is an image of  the Theatre Royal, 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.