Founded by the late Sir Peter Hall, Rose Theatre Kingston is one of South West London’s largest producing theatres, situated on Kingston High Street.
The Rose Theatre Kingston opened in January 2008 with a production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, directed by Sir Peter Hall. It was a fitting choice of production: situated a short walk away from the Bankside of the Thames, the theatre is based on the famous Elizabethan Rose Theatre, where Shakespeare and Marlowe plays would open to the masses.
Welcoming over 150,000 visitors a year, the Rose Theatre Kingston’s structure and layout draws inspiration from this traditional style of venue. The theatre seats up to 899 customers around a wide, shallow, thrust stage. This space lends itself to a variety of epic and intimate productions, as well as co-productions with other traditional theatre companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe.
The theatre was born out of a project spearheaded by Sir Peter Hall and broadcaster David Jacobs, who served as a chairman of the Kingston Theatre Trust. With financial support from the local council, Kingston University, and supporters of the development. A week after its opening, Hall stepped down as its Artistic Director and was succeeded by Stephen Unwin, then of the English Touring Theatre.
A wide range of famous collaborators have staged works at the Rose Theatre Kingston in recent years. These include directors such as John Malkovich, Trevor Nunn, Melly Still and Simon Dormandy, and performers Mel Giedroyc, John Hopkins, Niamh Cusack, Catherine McCormack and Tom Burke.
The venue presents a wide range of productions throughout the year, including musicals, dramas and concerts. The also regularly program a strong family offering, as well as education and community programmes, born out of the venue’s belief that theatre is for all.