Graeme Smith is an honorary research fellow of Strathclyde University, chartered accountant and historian. For a period in the early 1990s he was a director of Scottish Opera and the Theatre Royal. He assisted Ships for a Nation, the story of John Brown`s of Clydebank.
Many people in Britain, Australia and America have helped with information and illustrations. In writing the story of the Royal I have been inspired by the vision and ability of the late Gavin Boyd, Bill Brown and Ian Rodger in restoring the theatre in all its magnificence in 1975. Without Sir Alexander Gibson there would have been no need for a theatre. Contributors from all walks of life have kindly shared their knowledge, including theatregoers of today, some of earlier generations, artistes and production people, members of the founding families of the 1860s onwards, relatives some in this country and many far flung overseas.
Records, programmes, newspapers, plans and photographs have been made available in universities, libraries and archives, principally in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, London, Australia, and America; and from many performing organisations.
Over 50 years ago when the Theatre Royal was nearing an end, because of the growth of television (but was actually saved because of it) the Evening Citizen wrote of its Last Night:
A theatre so long a utility of the city has been a part of our lives. Going to it often, we were a congregation. We shared an experience of pleasure and mental stimulation. This was a public meeting place of friends. It was not mere rhetoric when the habit was to call a theatre a temple of drama. Frivolous or grave as it might be, it enlivened existence.
And it continues to do so.