Theatre Royal Brighton

Words: Ellie Maltby


Newly restored colonnade façade on New Road unveiled.

Grade II*listed Theatre Royal Brighton is one of the oldest and most distinguished theatres in the country. First established in 1764 and on its current site at the heart of Brighton’s cultural quarter since 1807, it has been in almost continual operation to the present day. As a receiving house the theatre hosts a wide range of pre and post West End touring plays and musicals as well as ballet, opera, music, comedy, family shows and an extensive Creative Learning programme.  

The building itself is a visible record of changes in architectural taste and theatrical practice over the last two centuries. It was given its royal assent by The Prince Regent, an enthusiastic theatregoer, and opened on New Road on 26 June 1807 with a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet starring Charles Kemble, one of the most famous actors of his day, in the title role.  

In early 2023, ATG Entertainment, who own and operate Theatre Royal Brighton, began an extensive improvement and restoration project. A specialist team have spent the last 18 months working to restore the columns and balcony that make up the colonnade facade on New Road to their original terracotta splendour. Following the installation of 1551 individual sections of terracotta, it is now ready to be unveiled to the public in all its glory! Visitors to the theatre will soon be able to step out on to the balcony from the Royal Circle bar and patrons of The Colonnade Bar will be able to enjoy a drink sat outdoors under the colonnade. Speaking of which, the theatre’s Creative Learning team are running a series of free drop in craft events under the colonnade this May half term – check out their social channels for full details. 

This multi-million-pound investment has extended to the interior of Theatre Royal Brighton. Work completed inside includes reseating the Stalls to increase comfort and accessible seating options, refurbishing the accessible toilet in the Stalls level, upgrading the Royal Circle toilets, refreshing the décor throughout the building and upgrading the electrics and plumbing. All of this is in service of future proofing the venue for future generations and ensuring the comfort of all visiting patrons, cast and crew. 

To find out more about Theatre Royal Brighton visit To find out more about The Colonnade Bar visit 

On social: @theatreroyalbtn on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok & X. 

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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