Howard and Wyndham`s regime at the Theatre Royal, where they retained manager Frank Sephton, started on 10th September 1888 to a packed house, including the Lord Provost Sir James King and members of the city council. A Commemoration Supper was held afterwards in the Central Hotel. The opening night featured Henry Irving and Marion Terry in the drama Faust, followed the rest of the week by plays from Wilson Barrett and His London Company. The Carl Rosa Opera Company “with Full Band, Chorus and Ballet” returned in November, being conducted by Carl Rosa just a few months before his sudden death. He was born in Hamburg and became a violinist especially interested in opera. The operas over two weeks were Maritana, The Jewess, Carmen, Bohemian Girl, Faust, and Mignon.
The first pantomime by Howard and Wyndham could now take place, and the Baillie reported:
The Forty Thieves begins its run at the Theatre Royal. Mr Howard and Mr Wyndham recognise that the Royal is essentially a pantomime house and they are determined that the public shall recognise this also.
The plot was invented by Mrs Howard (who had written many of the pantomimes when at Newcastle Theatre Royal), directed by Mr & Mrs Howard and Mr Wyndham, the stage director being Mr Howard and the dresses were under the supervision of Mrs Howard. Music was by Thomas Smyth. Principal Boy was actress and dancer Phyllis Broughton. A special attraction was Monsieur Trewey, billed as “The Prince of Prestidigitataeurs.” He was a humorist, juggler and shadowgraphist, who helped introduce Cinematographe-Lumiere to Britain in 1896. Howard & Wyndham pantomimes would last for a record of over 70 years. Fred Wyndham produced all the pantomimes into the 1920s apart from 1908 to 1910, when Robert Arthur was in charge. They extended their pantomimes to Edinburgh from 1895 onwards.