The Theatre Royal in Brighton is one of the oldest working theatres in the UK with an exquisite example of a Regency auditorium. The Grade II-listed building was opened on its current site in 1807, given the go-ahead by Royal Assent of the Prince of Wales, later George IV. Its first shows were Hamlet and JT Allingham’s The Weather Cock starring the legendary Charles Kemble of Drury Lane.
For the first 50 years, the theatre struggled under a string of different managers until 1854 when actor Henry John Nye Chart took over. He carried out an extensive expansion and renovation programme with renowned theatre architect Charles James Phipps. After his death in 1876, his wife Ellen Elizabeth Nye Chart took over, going on to build on the theatre’s national reputation, introducing matinees and broadening audiences. Henrik Ibsen premiered a UK production of The Doll’s House at the theatre while plays by Terence Rattigan, Noël Coward and Joe Orton started here before opening in London’s West End. In the 1920s, the theatre expanded into the Colonnade Hotel, now the Colonnade bar, and the auditorium was enlarged.
In 1984, the theatre was purchased by impresario David Land who ran it with his son, Brock. It was then bought in 1999 by its current owner, the Ambassador Theatre Group, which carried out a full-scale modernisation. As well as being a venue for touring productions, it presents its own shows through Theatre Royal Brighton Productions, made in Brighton for new audiences and for touring nationally and transferring to the West End such as Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. It also has creative alliances with Rambert Dance Company, English Touring Theatre Company and Brighton Festival. The 969-seat theatre has presented No Man’s Land starring Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, The Dresser with Ken Stott and Reece Shearsmith, Sunny Afternoon, and Nell Gwyn.
Access booking line: 0800 912 6971
Theatre Royal Brighton Visual Story is a visual resource to help visitors become familiar with new surroundings and what to expect. Contact the theatre’s Access Champion.
There are four wheelchair spaces available in the stalls; these are H1, O1, Q4 and Q5. They do not appear available online so please call or come into the Box Office to enquire about availability. The first counter of the Box Office is at a height suitable for wheelchair users.
The theatre is equipped with a Sennheiser infra-red sound amplification system. Request receiving equipment from the kiosk situated in the main foyer and make sure you request a compatible seat when booking your tickets as only selected seats work within the infra-red area. The headset device amplifies sound through earpieces similar to regular headphones and are suitable for people without a hearing aid or some hearing aid devices that are able to accommodate a headset over them.
The first counter of the Box Office is fitted with an induction system for people who are hard of hearing.
Guide, hearing and other working dogs are welcome in all parts of the theatre.
There is a separate, accessible toilet facility on the ground floor by the stalls bar.
The theatre is less than 10 minutes’ walk from Brighton rail station, with frequent trains serving London and the south-east. From the station, go down Queens Road, turn left onto Church Street and then right onto New Road.
From the M23/A23, follow the signs to the town centre.
There are 3,000 parking spaces in the city, with the nearest to the theatre being NCP on Church Street. If you enter after 5pm and leave before 3am, you pay just £6.
Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton BN1 1SD
969 seats; Café; Bars; No cloakroom