Theatre Royal BrightonBrighton
About the Theatre Royal Brighton
One of the country’s oldest working theatres, the Theatre Royal Brighton is a grade II listed building that originated in 1766. Originally the site of Barn Hall, the Prince of Wales gave his Royal Assent to build the Theatre Royal Brighton in 1806, with the venue first opening in 1807 with Charles Kemble starring in Hamlet and The Weather Cock. Over the years, the Theatre Royal experienced numerous owners who abandoned the theatre through fear of financial ruin. 1854 saw actor Henry John Nye Chart turn the theatre’s fortunes around, embarking on expanding and renovating the theatre with renowned architect Charles James Phipps.
In 1876, Henry’s wife, Ellen Elizabeth Nye Chart, took over management, securing the theatre’s reputation as one of the most prestigious venues outside of London. Introducing matinees as well annual Christmas pantomimes, she became one of the first women theatre managers. By the end of the 19th century, legendary actors such as Sarah Bernhardt, Edmund Kean, David Garrick and Sir Henry Irving had graced the stage. Henrik Ibsen premiered a UK production of A Doll’s House at the venue, sparking its use as a pre-West End venue for playwrights such as Terence Rattigan, Noel Coward and Joe Orton. Over the years, stars such as Dame Judi Dench, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Marlene Dietrich have also performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the theatre was purchased by ATG and continues to host large touring productions such as Sunny Afternoon and Cats. The Theatre Royal also has alliances with the English Touring Theatre Company, Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. With a seating capacity of 952, the theatre is one of the smaller touring venues in the UK. Split across four seating levels, the Stalls, Royal Circle, Second Circle and Gallery, the Theatre Royal Brighton is reflective of West End Theatres in both décor and space.
Map and directions
Plan your visit
Theatregoers can also book the Ambassador Lounge when booking tickets to access bespoke service including drinks, snacks and washrooms.