Rose Theatre Kingston

The Rose Theatre Kingston is a theatre on Kingston High Street in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. The theatre seats 899 around a wide, thrust stage.[1]

Rose Theatre Kingston
The theatre in 2008
Address24-26 High Street
LocationKingston upon Thames, Greater London
Coordinates51.4086°N 0.3075°W / 51.4086; -0.3075
Public transitKingston
OwnerKingston Theatre Trust
OpenedJanuary 16, 2008 (2008-01-16)

It officially opened on 16 January 2008 with Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov, with Sir Peter Hall directing.[2] Hall had also directed an "in the raw" production of As You Like It within the shell of the uncompleted building in December 2004.[3][4]


The theatre's layout is based on that of the Rose Theatre in London, an Elizabethan theatre that staged the plays of Christopher Marlowe and early plays by Shakespeare. It features a shallow thrust stage. Unlike the original Rose, it makes the Elizabethan design more comfortable by adding a roof and modern seats, rather like the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The front rows of the stalls have no seats; patrons bring cushions instead.


The Rose was a project supported by Peter Hall and broadcaster David Jacobs CBE, who served as chairman of the Kingston Theatre Trust.

The construction was undertaken with £5m (of the £11m construction cost) support from the local council, involvement from Kingston University, Peter Hall, and the Friends of Kingston Theatre. The shell of the building was provided to the Trust for free by St George plc as one of the concessions for the construction of Charter Quay, a development on the bank of the Thames.

In January 2008, a week after the theatre opened, Hall resigned and it was announced that from April 2008, Stephen Unwin, departing director of English Touring Theatre would take over the role of Artistic Director, while Hall would remain as Director Emeritus.[5]

On 25 November 2010 the Rose won an award for Commitment to the Community at the Kingston Business Awards.[6] The same week, Sir Peter Hall won the Moscow Art Theatre Golden Seagull award for his contribution to World Theatre at the Evening Standard Awards.[7][8]

The Rose is supported by the Royal Borough of Kingston and Kingston University. However, it receives no funding from Arts Council England.

Rose Theatre productions

The Rose has staged an increasing number of home-grown productions. Some highlights include Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Sir Peter Hall; A Christmas Carol; Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy with Timothy West; Sir Peter Hall’s revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce with Jane Asher and Nicholas Le Prevost (which later transferred to the West End) in repertoire with Miss Julie; Treasure Island; Judi Dench in Sir Peter Hall’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Dumb Show by Joe Penhall; Noël Coward’s Hay Fever with Celia Imrie; Three Musketeers; As You Like It; Jane Asher returned for Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest performed in rep with the premiere of Harley Granville-Barker's Farewell to the Theatre; The Snow Queen; Joely Richardson in The Lady from the Sea; Alison Steadman in Michael Frayn's Here; and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.



  • Zog
  • Stones in his Pockets
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin
  • Valued Friends

Graduation ceremonies

Kingston University has held its graduation ceremonies at the Rose Theatre since 2010 (students completing their degree in 2009); they were, for many years, previously held at the Royal Albert Hall and in 2009 at the Royal Festival Hall.


  1. Pearman, Hugh (30 December 2007). "The Rose in full bloom". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  2. Thaxter, John (4 February 2008). "Uncle Vanya (review)". The Stage. The Stage Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  3. Thaxter, John (6 December 2004). "As You Like It (review)". The Stage. The Stage Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. Billington, Michael (6 December 2004). "Rosy Future". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. Smith, Alistair (21 January 2008). "Unwin to replace Hall at Rose of Kingston". The Stage. The Stage Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  6. List of 2010 winners at Kingston Business Awards website
  7. Spencer, Charles (29 November 2010). "Evening Standard Theatre Awards: a year to be proud of". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  8. Photograph of Sir Peter Hall with his award from the Evening Standard website
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