|Carte > Savoy Theatre > Description from The Morning Post
The new theatre which has been built within the precincts of the Savoy for Mr. R. D'Oyly Carte, and is intended to be specially devoted to the representation of the comic or satirical opera, with which Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan have been peculiarly identified, will be opened to the public to-night, when the play of "Patience" will be transferred from the Opera Comique.
On Saturday evening a number of ladies and gentlemen interested in matters theatrical were invited to inspect the new building, which was pronounced by one and all to be a worthy addition to the many temples of Thespis which already cluster around the Strand. The Savoy Theatre possesses several features of a novel and distinctive character. Isolated on all four sides, it may be said to stand alone in more senses than one, for probably this condition is not fulfilled by any other theatre in the metropolis. The advantages if such a position are obvious, more especially the facilities which are thus afforded for exit in case of alarm or other emergency. Every part of the house possesses two means of egress, and should it be necessary a full house might be cleared in the short space of three minutes, there being entrances and exits on all four sides.
The main frontage or façade of the theatre looks towards the Thames Embankment, and is constructed of red brick and Portland stone in what is known as the Italian style of architecture. Here are the main entrances to the boxes, stalls, and dress circle, the upper circle and pit are also accessible, but their proper entrances are in Beaufort-buildings, and doubtless the majority of visitors, who come by way of the Strand, will prefer in favourable weather to seek their places by means of the flight of steps adjoining Beaufort House. The approach for carriages from the Embankment through Savoy-place, Savoy-hill, and Somerset-street, by the porte cochère under Mr. Rimmel's factory, is almost as secluded as a private road, and the covered way of 70 feet in front of the entrance gives facilities for taking up half a dozen parties simultaneously and without confusion. The entrance to the gallery is in Carting-lane, and we trust that the lessee will see his way to effecting some improvement in the rough and dimly lighted approach thereto.
The peculiarities of the site rendered it necessary to sink a large portion of the building underground, so that the entrance to the upper circle is on a level with the pavement in Beaufort-buildings, and the dress circle, stalls, and pit are reached by a descent of several steps.
Although the house appears small, it is planned to seat nearly 1,300 persons. The decorations of the interior are exceedingly effective, great use being made of foliated ornament, after the manner of the Italian Renaissance. The particular feature which will obtain the most attention will doubtless be the electric lighting by means of the incandescent lamp invented by Mr. Swan; but, as we learned from the lessee the other night, the engines which are to generate the electric current are not in working order, and the lighting by the new mode may be deferred for a day or two. The contractor hopes, however, to be able to light the auditorium. Full provision is made for lighting the building by gas. Last, but not least, theatre-goers will be gratified to learn that fees and tips to attendants are positively prohibited in every department.
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