The low point came in the 1940s. Though externally the theatre still looked impressive enough, performers had to be careful not to trip in the holes in the rotting stage, and had to change in dressing rooms that were cramped, unheated, and crawling with cockroaches. The old and dangerous wiring raised the threat of fire; with no fire escapes, a blaze would have been disastrous. Unsurprisingly, the end of Theatre Royal seemed imminent. During the height of the war it was suggested that the theatre be turned into a wool store; in the post-war rush for modernity, plans were made to demolish it altogether.
The theatre was promised a highpoint when Princess Elizabeth announced that she would attend a performance in 1952. The renovations, including the hasty construction of Royal boxes, were completed on time but were never used for the intended purpose. King George VI died while Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya, and she cut her tour short to return to England.