The Georgian Theatre Experience unveils the amazing secrets of this, the UK’s oldest working theatre in its original form, and gives a unique insight into life in 18th century England.
During your visit you’ll be taken on a ‘back-stage’ guided tour that reveals hidden trap doors, peeks inside stars’ dressing rooms, and even treads the boards of the historic stage itself. You’ll also discover our brand new, interactive exhibition area where you can find out more about the habits and behaviours of Georgian audiences, as well as the lives of the actors themselves. One of the key exhibits is the Woodland Scene – Britain’s oldest surviving stage scenery.
Built by actor-manager Samuel Butler in 1788, this is the most complete Georgian playhouse in Britain. Today it seats just over 200 people but it used to house up to 400 rather rowdy spectators! The distinctive courtyard-style auditorium has three different levels and no seat is more than 11 metres from the stage.
This wonderful building is not just a historic novelty for visitors to look round. It is still used as a theatre today and offers a unique and intimate theatrical experience. Indeed, visitors touring the Theatre often share the excitement of a rehearsal being performed on stage as they step inside the auditorium.
In addition to regular tours, The Georgian Theatre Experience has a varied programme of talks and workshops throughout the year from costume making to Georgian food tastings. During the school holidays there are special family tours with additional activities and crafts. There is also an activity trail for younger visitors. Details of events can be found on the website.
In recent times, the Theatre has welcomed many stars, including Dame Judi Dench, John Cleese, Jenny Agutter, Alan Bennet and Sir Tim Rice. To find out more about the wide variety of live performances at the Theatre, please visit the website or contact our Box Office.