Theatre Royal Winchester

Theatre Royal Winchester

As with many performance arts buildings, the theatre actually started life off as a hotel (c. 1850) by the name of the “Market Hotel” so called as it was used as a convenient resting point for farmers on their way to trade cattle and equipment at the local “Corn Exchange”.

The building was converted to use as a “Cine Variety” theatre in 1912 where it hosted variety acts, melodramas as well as silent film screenings including the classic “Pathe Gazette” newsreels.

In 1922 the building was converted to be used exclusively as a cinema.

The building served this purpose until 1972 when it was awarded Grade II as a listed building. Within a couple of years, the “Winchester Theatre Fund” charity had raised the theatre’s profile sufficiently to raise £35,000 for much needed repair and renovation.

After 4 years of refurbishment, the building re opened in 1976 as the “Theatre Royal Winchester”.

Projection facilities were added in 1987 and the Royal once again became both theatre and ‘picture palace’.

The doors closed once more in 1996 for another full, in depth restoration and upgrade which included a sympathetic restoration of period details including the proscenium arch, decorative pilasters and original plasterwork in the auditorium. It also included a contemporary curved wall with glazed inserts, based on the west window of Winchester Cathedral, by artist Sue Kennington.

Since its reopening, the theatre has offered a dynamic programme of drama, music, dance and comedy, making it a focal point for the cultural life of the city and beyond.

The theatre now boasts a variety of amenities including a café, a bar and great provisions for accessibility.

Theatre Royal Winchester

21-23 Jewry Street



SO23 8SB

Box Office 01962 840 440