1818: The laying of the first stone of Liège’s seventh theatre, in the presence of the celebrated actress Mademoiselle Mars. The theatre was inaugurated two years later, on 4 November 1820, with Zémire and Azor of Grétry. During the 1789, numerous churches were destroyed – and the Théâtre Royal was built using materials salvaged, notably, from Saint Lambert cathedral and the Chartreux convent (for the columns on the façade).
1840: The theatre was enlarged by means of enclosing the peristyle around it. The only peristyle remaining today is the one on the ground floor.
1860: The Local Council approved the conversion project: the building was to be extended by 10 metres at the rear and the new auditorium was to be 20 metres deep and 16 metres wide, compared with 13 metres by 8 initially. Also at this time the auditorium décor was changed: boxes were installed along with seats on the balconies (before that, audiences would watch shows standing). The circle was expanded and the auditorium capacity then increased to 1554 seats compared with 1088 beforehand.
1887: Electric lighting was installed.
1903: The Berchmans brothers, Emile and Oscar, tackled the decoration of the auditorium. Emile painted the canvas on the ceiling and Oscar, the sculptor, made the chandelier.
1930: The same Oscar Berchmans sculpted a pediment, which was added to the façade.
1959: More great transformations: the auditorium was gutted in order to tilt the floor, the ground floor boxes were removed, and a lighting console and four moveable bridges were installed on stage. The auditorium now comprised 1268 seats.
1976: Another auditorium conversion: new seats in the circle and in the balconies, glass doors at the exits, wall-to-wall carpeting in the corridors, four elevators, air conditioning… A new lighting console was installed in the auditorium along with a spectators’ box. The auditorium now had its definitive number of seats: 1037.
1997: Final conversion of the auditorium: the seats were renovated and now numbered 1033.
1999: Certain sections of the Théâtre were listed.
2009 > 2012: The building underwent a new transformation accompanied by full restoration both inside and out. As a result its magnificent Italian-style auditorium (capacity 1041 seats) rediscovered its former glory and the stage machinery was perfectly adapted to modern techniques, making the theatre one of the most modern in the world. The building also saw an enlargement – upwards – and was equipped with a multifunction room to accommodate both smaller shows and rehearsals or even meetings, conferences, training events, and more.