Shining a light on: The Royal Theatre Brighton

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”

The Royal Theatre Brighton is a Grade II listed building, built in 1806 after approval from the Prince Regent. He’s the same eccentric royal with a penchant for architecture who commissioned the Pavilion. Here’s a wee peek at that business:



The Royal Theatre officially opened a year later to rapturous applause with a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Since it’s grand opening and struggle to success, the theatre has been steeped in history. It was one of the first UK theatres to have a female manager, Ellen Elizabeth Nye Chart, wife of actor Henry Nye Chart. Famous architect Charles James Phipps, who designed the West End’s Italian Opera House, worked on its up-keep and promotion in the late 1800s. Most impressively, for the theatre’s 20th anniversary in 2007, Queen Elizabeth II visited – ergo the box named after Her Majesty.

The theatre has a capacity of 950 across 4 floors with 4 boxes and bars at every level. There is something for everyone including, operas, plays, musicals, ballets and comedy shows.

Brighton Theatre Royal 1988

I’ve had the pleasure of watching a lot of wonderful productions. My highlights are:

  •  An excellent post-apocalyptic depiction of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, featuring Zawe Ashton (Fresh Meat.)
  •  A harrowing and clever portrayal of Shaffer’s Equus. My sister, ironically, can’t un-see the horse blinding scene!
  • An adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost so splendidly acted and envisioned I’m yet to see anything quite like it.
  •  Rocky Horror Show- hit and miss but Sophie, of course, loved it.
  • Tom Cairn’s Being Shakespeare. This one man show starring Simon Callow is pure genius and a must see for anyone interested in The Baird.

This is a theatre that’s frequently jam packed with innovative and exciting shows. It’s situated on New Road in the city centre, is surrounded by fine restaurants and attached to the Colonnade, the theatre’s bar – amazing selection of gin in this wee nugget.

The staff are efficient, the prices reasonable and the venue so magical I can rarely fault going, even when I’ve not been that keen on the show! They also offer regular theatre tours that reveal some wonderful behind-the-scenes secrets.

Some upcoming productions to check out include, The Nutcracker, Peter James’ Dead Simple & Saturday Night Fever. For a full list, visit the Royal Theatre Brighton’s website.

By Nick

Images by Royal Theatre Brighton


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