Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch

The Queen's Theatre is a 500-seat producing theatre located in Hornchurch in the London Borough of Havering, east London.

Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch
Theatre exterior
LocationHornchurch, Greater London
Coordinates51.5658°N 0.2186°E / 51.5658; 0.2186
Public transit Emerson Park
Opened1953 (New Theatre Opened In 1975)


Hornchurch Urban District Council purchased a derelict cinema on Station Lane (the site of the present Ripon House development) that had been used for storage during the Second World War. They converted this building into a theatre which opened in 1953, the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II and its name reflects this. The opening production was See How They Run.

The building deteriorated and the Havering Council built a new theatre on Billet Lane, designed by Hallam and Brooks. It was opened by Sir Peter Hall in April 1975, with a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

The Theatre received a visit from the Queen in 2003, the Theatre's fiftieth anniversary, and in 2013 the Theatre celebrated its Diamond Jubilee.

The Theatre won the UK Theatre Award for Most Welcoming Theatre (East region) in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In 2018 the Theatre fundraised £1 million for a small scale capital refurbishment creating a rehearsal room, a learning space and a new bar and won the Clothworkers' Foundation Theatre Award at the UK Theatre Awards for its innovative Essex on Stage programme..

In 2019 the Theatre, as the lead of a consortium, won an Arts Council England Creative People and Places funding award of £1 million pounds for a four-year programme of arts engagement in Havering.

The Theatre was shortlisted for the London Theatre of the Year Award 2020 by The Stage Awards.

Notable Productions and Artists

The Theatre has been a home to the award-winning productions Blood Brothers, Return to Forbidden Planet, a major revival of Made in Dagenham the Musical, the second iteration of the National Theatre Public Acts programme As You Like It and a homecoming for David Eldridge's In Basildon. Artists who have worked at the theatre include Ian McKellen, Maggie Smith, Martin Shaw, Joan Plowright, Prunella Scales, Nigel Hawthorn, Lucy Benjamin, Richard Eyre, Bernard Cribbins, Conn O’Neill, David Eldridge, Chris Bond, Sadie Hasler, Dave Ross, Bob Eaton, Glen Walford, Nichola McAuliffe, Charlie Condou, James Sutton, Tim Firth, Dan Murphy and Richard O'Brien. Over its 65 plus year history, it has built a track record in creating the best[1] in live entertainment.

The Theatre is currently run by Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul appointed in 2015 and Executive Director Mathew Russell appointed in 2017. Some of the Theatre's previous directors include Stuart Burge, Bob Carlton, Anthony Carrick, Ian Clarke, Marina Calderone, Peter Coe, Ian Curteis, Henriette Duckworth, James Gillhouley, Jane Howell, David Phethean, Nancy Poultney, Anthony Richardson, Paul Tomlinson, Bob Tomson and Clifford Williams.

The Queen's Theatre Hornchurch produces over eight shows a year and has a vibrant learning and participatory programme engaging over 11,000 participants annually, enabling people to express themselves and their stories through the arts.

The Theatre works with educational institutions, amateur theatre groups, professional arts groups and wellbeing organisations, but is also widely connected to the wider theatre ecology in the UK and abroad. Current and recent partnerships include projects with the National Theatre, the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Derby Theatre, Spare Tyre, Leeds Playhouse, Curve Theatre Leicester and The Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg.


The Queen’s Theatre is a registered charity and receives regular funding from the London Borough of Havering and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

Queen's Green

Adjacent to the theatre is an open space called Queen's Green.

  1. Stage, The (2019-12-12). "The Stage Awards 2020 shortlist: London theatre of the year". The Stage. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
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