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Royal Alexandra Theatre
Box Office Hours
When the building reopens, on November 15, 2016, the Royal Alex will be born anew.
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All the beautiful and elegant elements of its gracious interior, including the beaux-arts influenced plaster mouldings on the balcony fronts and ceiling will be lovingly cleaned and restored to their original look. Architect John Lyle’s revolutionary design of the auditorium – that introduced the concept of cantilevered balconies so that no audience member’s sightline of the stage was blocked by pillars – will remain.
- The capacity of the auditorium, which is currently 1,497 seats, will be reduced to 1,244 seats. This will allow for extra legroom – up to 9 inches more – throughout the seating areas, bringing the auditorium in line with the increased height of our modern population.
- The auditorium has three seating levels: orchestra, dress circle and balcony. The orchestra will lose 75 seats, the dress circle 70 seats, and the balcony 108 seats.
- Brand new seats will be installed. These will look identical to the original 1907 seats – with their distinctive RA insignia brass seat-end plates (called end standards, in the trade) and wire hat-racks under the seats – but will be made with the latest technology and cushioning to provide excellent comfort and support. The seats will be upholstered in a fabric that recreates the original’s striped mohair design.
The new seats will be much wider than the original ones, with many 23 inches wide (compared to 19 inches of the old ones). The rake of the orchestra level, which has been altered over the years, will be restored to its original angle.
The Royal Alexandra theatre is located at King Street West & John, in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District. The theatre is two blocks west of Roy Thomson Hall and two blocks north of the Rogers Centre the CN Tower and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
How To Get Here
If you are arriving by car from out of town, the Royal Alexandra is only a few blocks north of the Gardiner Expressway (the QEW, to and from Hamilton, Niagara and Buffalo). Exit the Gardiner at Spadina and turn right (east) at the second traffic light, on King Street.
If you are driving into Toronto via Highway 401 (the MacDonald-Cartier Freeway), the Gardiner Expressway is linked to the 401 to the east by the Don Valley Parkway (Highway 404) and to the west by Highway 427.
Just down the street from the Royal Alexandra is the Princess of Wales. There are four levels of parking located beneath the Princess of Wales, with an entrance ramp off John Street. An elevator takes you from the parking garage to the theatre entrance on King Street West. Please note: there are no left turns allowed off King St. West during rush hours; if you are coming to the Princess of Wales Theatre, eastbound on King St. West, you may have to go around the block to reach the John St. entrance to the parking garage.
Indoor parking is also available at the Hyatt-Regency Toronto, on King St., one block west of the Princess of Wales.
The Royal Alexandra Theatre is a National Historic Landmark building of 19th century design. It has no elevators. Wheelchair seating is available in the orchestra (ground-floor) area only. There is one wheelchair-accessible washroom on the orchestra level, off the main lobby.
Patrons requiring seating assistance - or patrons who might have trouble climbing stairs - are urged to call TicketKing at 416.872.1212 or toll-free at 1.800.461.3333.
Facilities for the Hearing-Impaired
The Royal Alexandra is equipped with an infra-red listening system for the benefit of the hearing-impaired. This system requires use of headsets which are available, free of charge, at the theatre lobby concession desk.
There are two types of headsets available, the "stethoscope" style for people who don't use hearing aids and the "neck loop" for use with a hearing aid (with the aid switched to the 'T' position). "Stethoscope" headsets require no advance reservation. Patrons requiring the "neck loop" are asked to call the theatre at 416-593-1840 ext 768 - Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, or to email email@example.com, in order to reserve a headset as there are limited numbers. Patrons borrowing headsets will be asked to leave a piece of photo ID or credit card (as a form of security deposit) which will be given back when the undamaged headset is returned, following the performance.
If you wish any further information about any of our facilities, please call TicketKing at 416.872.1212 or, toll free, at 1.800.461.3333. You may also email us with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
For your convenience, a coat check is located in the Yale Simpson Lounge (lower level). The cost is $2.50
The Royal Alexandra has four bar/refreshment counters, one on each level: the Yale Simpson Lounge (basement), Orchestra Lobby, Balcony Lobby and Upper Balcony Lobby. Each counter sells a limited selection of alcoholic beverages - wine, liquor, liqueurs and bottled beer - as well as non-alcoholic beverages, including bottled spring water, soft drinks and coffee. In addition, an assortment of snacks is available at each counter, including cookies, packaged candy and ice cream.
There are often also carts set up in various lobby spaces. These offer a limited selection of the same products that are sold at the bars, with the exception of alcoholic beverages.
There are also rovers who walk around the theatre selling products that they carry around with them - most often ice cream and bottled water.
All products that are sold in our lobby spaces may be taken by patrons to their seats.
Bars accept debit cards and cash.
Yale Simpson Lounge
The Yale Simpson Lounge is the largest lounge at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and is located on the lowest level, beneath the auditorium. Coat check, bar and restrooms are available on this level. Theatre receptions in this space can accommodate up to 100 people pre-show (semi-private) and 300 post-show (private).
Louis XVI Lounge
The Louis XVI Lounge is located on the main level with an entrance directly from the box office lobby. The lounge can be a private room rental that accommodates up to 20 people and includes bar service.
Queen Anne Lounge
The Queen Anne Lounge is located on the main level and is adjacent to the Louis XVI Lounge. The lounge can be a private room rental that accommodates up to 15 people (without bar service) or can be combined with the Louis XVI Lounge using a private hallway to accommodate up to 35 (with bar service).
You can access the 360 degree view of the theatre here. Select Suites & Lounges. Please contact the group sales office at 416-593-4142 or 1-800-724-6420 for more information on theatre receptions.
Although slightly smaller in size than the Princess of Wales Theatre, it is similar in its design, with three levels of seating, lobbies with bar/refreshment counters on each level and the large and elegant Yale Simpson Lounge - which is fully licensed and can accommodate up to 300 guests - in the basement. These areas are ideal for cocktail receptions, small business meetings and product launches.
Mirvish Productions is a full-service company with expertise in every facet of event planning including production, front of house and media placement.
To learn more about the technical aspects of the Royal Alexandra Theatre, including collective agreements and technical drawings, please visit us at www.mirvishproductions.com
If you would like to have someone from Mirvish Productions contact you about your event, please fill out the form below and we will be in touch with you soon.
Theatre Rental Booking Inquiry Form
A masterpiece of beaux-arts architecture, the historic Royal Alexandra is Toronto's senior theatre and, at 108, never having been converted to any other use, the oldest continuously operating legitimate theatre in North America.
The Royal Alexandra embodies the ambition of the young Toronto stock broker Cawthra Mulock, who sought to put his home town on the cultural map by building for it "the finest theatre on the continent." What he and his architect - John M. Lyle - created has since been called "an Edwardian jewel-box", a treasure chest of imported marble, hand-carved cherry and walnut, fine silks and velvets, crystal chandeliers and ornate, gilded plaster - all constructed on the city's first steel-framed structure (allowing cantilevered balconies, with no internal pillars to obstruct lines of sight) - and over a huge ice-pit that made this theatre one of the first "air conditioned" buildings in North America.
The Royal Alexandra is also North America's first truly "royal" theatre - "royal" by patent from Edward VII - named with royal permission for his consort, Alexandra, a Danish princess and great-grandmother of the present queen.
Since its opening in 1907, almost 3000 productions have played the Royal Alexandra. Its roster of stars is an honour-roll of twentieth century theatre: John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Katherine Cornell, Helen Hayes, Orson Welles, Ruth Gordon, Al Jolson, Humphrey Bogart, Mary Pickford, Cedric Hardwicke, Sydney Greenstreet, John and Ethel Barrymore, Fred and Adele Astaire, Harry Lauder, Maurice Evans, Alan Bates, Marilyn Miller, Deborah Kerr... Edith Piaf sang here, Paul Robeson played Othello here, Pavlova danced here, the Marx Brothers made Alex audiences laugh and Mae West made them blush.
Edwin "Honest Ed" Mirvish purchased the Royal Alexandra from the Mulock estate in 1963 and closed the theatre for extensive modernisation, repair and renovation, restoring the old house to the splendour of its early days. Ed Mirvish personally oversaw the operation of the theatre for the next 23 years, until 1986 when he handed management and administration over to his son, David, and David's company, Mirvish Productions.
The Royal Alexandra was named a National Historic Monument in 1987, on its 80th birthday.
Inside The Theatre
There are three levels of seating in the Royal Alexandra: orchestra, balcony and upper balcony(gallery). Each level offers a lobby, bar/refreshment area and washrooms. The largest lounge area, the Yale Simpson Room, is on the lowest level, beneath the auditorium. The Royal Alex has a wheelchair-accessible washroom on the street (orchestra) level, on the east side of the main lobby.
PLEASE NOTE: as a national historic landmark, the Royal Alexandra is required to maintain the style and appearance of a 19th century theatre. There are no elevators in the building. Wheelchair seating is available only in the orchestra level. Those having difficulty with stairs are advised to purchase orchestra seating. The upper balcony (gallery) in theatres of this age - known as "the gods" - is, traditionally, "student seating". It is the lowest-priced seating in the theatre, but the floor is steeply angled and the seats are narrower and more closely spaced than those of the orchestra and balcony.