Behind the scenes at Theatre Royal Bath

01 September 2023

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The beautiful city of Bath is soon to be home​ to our brand new community, Pegasus Bath Leat, an opulent collection of 68 age-exclusive​ apartments. Location is everything which is why​ you’ll have the city centre moments from your​ doorstep when you call the community home,​ so you’ll be able to easily immerse yourself in​ the thriving cultural scene of Bath. Venture just​ a short walk from Pegasus Bath Leat and in the​ heart of the city you’ll find the Theatre Royal​ Bath, home to an abundance of entertainment​ and events. We spoke to Anji Henderson, Development Officer for the venue who shared​ with us exclusives from the theatre, its history​ and what upcoming events and shows we can​ look forward to.

Could you tell us a bit about the Theatre Royal Bath?

The theatre comprises of three auditoria, the Main House, Ustinov Studio (opened 1997) and The Egg (opened in 2005). My role is to raise funds for our education and community projects and for campaigns such as the one that built The Egg. Currently we are raising money for the Wonderfund – our campaign to get every child in the area into the theatre for free!

What is the theatre’s history?

Theatre Royal Bath, located in Sawclose, was originally built in 1805. It was destroyed by fire in 1862 and immediately rebuilt, reopening in 1863. It has staged performances by Sarah Siddons, Henry Irving and Grimaldi in the early days, and more recently welcomed Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Sian Phillips, Sir David Suchet, Juliet Stevenson and Tom Hiddleston to name but a few. The Main House was last refurbished in 2010. Our members' rooms are currently being revamped to reopen in 2023. 

What’s an interesting fact about the theatre that most people wouldn’t know?

Bath was the first place outside of London to receive a Royal Patent for its theatre and be able to use the word Royal in its name, hence Theatre Royal Bath!

What events do you hold at the theatre?

As well as​ all the theatre productions staged across our three auditoria, we host all manner of events from comedians​ and concerts, such as Sing-a-long-a Gareth with Gareth Malone, to talks from a range of personalities, including​ explorer and Monty Python legend Michael Palin, local​ writer Jane Turner and Falklands War memoirs from​ Captain Nick Tobin.

How can people get involved? 

There are so many​ ways people can engage with us here at Theatre Royal​ Bath, from helping us to raise funds for our campaigns​ such as the Wonderfund, aimed at getting children into the theatre for free, to our membership schemes,​ to buying tickets for our shows. The theatre is so much​ more than just our Main House and its big productions.​ The Ustinov Studio has 123 seats with upcoming​ productions including the opera Dido and Aeneas and​ Charlotte and Theodore, starring Kris Marshall, a​ timely new play by Ryan Craig that tackles some of the most divisive issues of our generation. Of course, we​ also have The Egg – our dedicated children’s theatre​ overseen by the award-winning Kate Cross MBE.

What are the benefits of becoming a member​ of the theatre? 

We currently have two levels of​ membership, Friends and Associates. Our Friends​ benefit greatly from the advance​ booking period and dedicated priority​ booking number. They get credit notes​ for cancellations, regular newsletters​ and invitations to our Open Day. Associates have an extended priority booking period, refunds​ for cancellations, invitations to our​ incredibly popular first night drinks​ with cast and company, annual lunch,​ programme​ vouchers and more.

What is your favourite thing about​ the city of Bath? 

It is genuinely like​ living in a big village, we all get to know each other​ very quickly. Bath is truly a cultural hub, and my​ favourite thing about the city is that whatever I am in​ the mood for, I will find it somewhere. Whether it’s an​ art exhibition, a new theatre show, live music,​ creative​ activities and great dining options, I find I am never lost​ for something to fulfil my creative needs! Life doesn’t​ get any better than that.