When in the early 1800s Montréal failed to attract talented artists for lack of a decent hall, John MOLSON built the 1500-seat Theatre Royal on a vacant lot owned by him on the corner of St Paul and Victor streets. The 71-member company opened in 1825 and presented a varied but repetitive repertory of Shakespeare, and comedies and farces by Knowles, Cowley and Sheridan. Until 1840 the theatrical seasons were irregular, and during the winter the playhouse was often used for concerts and sometimes circuses. The theatre contributed greatly to the cultural development of the city: it attracted touring British and American celebrities (such as tragedian Edmund Kean, comedian John Reeve and author Charles Dickens) and many amateur groups, including the Garrison Amateurs. Under the mismanagement of Frederick Brown, the company went bankrupt in 1826. After a succession of unsuccessful managers the playhouse was sold and demolished in 1844 to make way for the Bonsecours Market.