I’m off to one of my favourite theatres tomorrow – The Theatre Royal in Bath.
Whenever people ask me how I envisage how a local theatre should be run and serve its local community I always point them to the example of the Theatre Royal. Not only is it artistically successful, but it’s also a commercial success. It’s never dark (except for maintenance) and puts on one of the most diverse programs of any theatre I know each year.
One of its highlights is the Peter Hall repertory season it has each summer, where at least one of those productions transfers to the West End and then tours. Several productions preview there before their West End runs, and it plays host to numerous touring productions. Throughout the year, it will have, musicals, opera, ballet, stand up comics, jazz, plays(both comedy and serious), Shakespeare and other classics, West End previews, revivals, a local production and the traditional panto over xmas. It has developed the Ustinov studio theatre for more experimental and small-scale productions and it also has the wonderful Egg theatre for its children’s and young peoples theatre productions.
In an era when many local theatres are struggling, I think the Theatre Royal is a real beacon for showing commercial success and artistic creativity can work together, to benefit the local community and further afield too.