Theatre Royal Margate

Theatre Royal Margate: A new vision as a performing arts hub

The Theatre Royal, located in the heart of Margate, was first constructed in 1787. The current building is Grade II* listed and retains its Victorian interior which dates from 1874. The Theatre Royal is the UK’s second oldest working theatre and is of national significance. It was listed in 1955 and in 2018, it was added to the Theatre Trust’s At Risk Register.

The new vision is to combine the Theatre Royal Margate and 19 Hawley Square. These places have a long and shared history. They will be preserved, restored and modernised, with the aim of creating a performing arts hub in Margate. The aim is to establish a circular theatre economy to promote performing arts and create a supportive environment to:

  • Provide opportunities for young people to get involved in performing arts and creative careers
  • Attract local, national, and international performances and events
  • Create theatre productions featuring professional and local actors to be enjoyed by audiences worldwide

The new vision for the Theatre Royal Margate focuses on heritage, performance and financial sustainability. 19 Hawley Square will be developed into a theatre production space with a bar, cafe, studio theatre, recording studio and rehearsal rooms. It will also have offices and accommodation for touring theatre companies.

The Theatre Royal Margate project has been allocated £2.2m of Margate Town Deal funding. The ambitious scope of the project means that we need to secure funding from external sources for the project to succeed. An application is in process for a further £3.2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We are talking to the Arts Council about applying for the Cultural Development Fund, which will be launched in 2024.

We are also launching the search for a new operator for the theatre on Thursday 7 December 2023. We are inviting operators in the performing arts sector to register their interest in the Theatre Royal’s future.

If you are a member of the public, please fill out the Theatre Royal survey on Your Voice Thanet to provide your views on the Theatre Royal Margate project. The theatre prospectus and an example of the questions being asked as part of the operator engagement process can be found here:

If you are an established operator or are interested in setting up a consortium to manage the theatre, please register your interest by completing a questionnaire on the Kent Business Portal. The deadline for completing the questionnaire is Wednesday 24 January 2024.


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