Television & Films


Lost Empires

Theatresearch has been involved in a significant number of  important films associated with historic theatres these include; Granada Television ten part drama of J. B. Priestleys ‘Lost Empires’, which starred Laurence Olivier and Colin Firth. Many of the location sequences were shot at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle Upon Tyne, and certain sections involved the use of the original historic stage machinery, which was restored by Theatresearch in 1986.



Mike Leigh’s, Oscar Winning Film ‘Topsy-Turvy’, which tells the story of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas was another exciting project which Theatresearch became involved with. We provided authentic technical information and research to enable the film’s designers to create a traditional and atmospheric aura for the film. We conducted ground-breaking research about the way in which the Savoy Theatre was first lit by electricity in 1882 and even located documents in Germany which had never been examined by theatre scholars before.


The Fool

As part of our work we also maintain a significant store of original 19th century theatre artifacts. When in 1987 we were approached by Sands Films to recreate an original suite of historic substage machinery we were able to provide original equipment for this purpose. The result was a film starring Derek Jacobi entitled ‘The Fool’.


‘Phantom of the Opera’ – The Musical

In 1985 Theatresearch was approached by Ken Russell to find a historic theatre to shoot a promotional video for a new musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, entitled ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.  At that time Steve Harley had been cast as the Phantom to sing the title song. When the time came to find a West End Theatre for the production, Her Majesty’s Theatre in the Haymarket became available. By a happy twist of fate this theatre still possessed all its original sub-stage machinery as installed by Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1897. Theatresearch was then commissioned to work with the production designer, Maria Björnson, to incorporate the machinery into her designs. We were also commissioned to return the stage back to its original format when the production ended. Thirty years later we are still waiting to carry out that work!

When it came to shooting the film of the musical Theatresearch was once again commissioned to work at Pinewood Studios in order to help create an authentic and evocative nineteenth century theatre atmosphere.



Heritage Lottery Applications

heritage-lottery-fund-logoAs lead consultants, Theatresearch often writes and collates large scale applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Recent successful applications include; The Globe Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees, which received one of the first Heritage Enterprise Scheme grants in 2013. More recently we submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund on behalf of Darlington Borough Council for their 1907 Edwardian building now known as the Civic Theatre. This submission was given a Stage One approval in the Autumn of 2014 and a Stage Two application is due to be submitted in the Autumn of 2015.

The grant is likely to be a little under £5 million and the total project cost is likely to be in excess of £10million.