24-26 High Street,
Telephone: 020 8546 6983
Contact: Jerry Gunn
The Rose Theatre Kingston was conceived in 1986 by local Councillors and residents.
The shell was built by St George PLC as part of a planning agreement with the Royal Borough of Kingston for the Charter Quay residential and commercial development. The agreement did not include the completion or fit out of the venue. The architects Blundell, Thompson and Hargreaves were appointed in 2004 to further develop the original designs for the venue.
Sir Peter Hall became Artistic Director of the Rose in 2003 and developed the vision for the theatre, which included a resident ensemble repertoire theatre company.
There were two seasons in the shell of the theatre. The first was in May 2003, with the community play Don Juan in Kingston, plus a week with Northern Broadsides – Henry V and A Woman Killed by Kindness. Peter Hall then directed a season labelled ‘In The Raw’ in December 2004 which featured As You Like It and Gala evenings with Judi Dench and Jimmy Tarbuck.
The completed theatre opened its doors for the first time to the public on 16 January 2008 with a new production of Uncle Vanya, directed by Sir Peter Hall, presented by English Touring Theatre.
Stephen Unwin, former director of English Touring Theatre, took up the role of Artistic Director in 2008, and Sir Peter Hall became Director Emeritus.
Rose Theatre Productions are at the heart of the Rose. The first, Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Sir Peter Hall, opened in October 2008.
Every Christmas the Rose produces a family show: A Christmas Carol (2008), Treasure Island (2009), a musical version of The Three Musketeers (2010), The Snow Queen (2011), Cinderella (2012) and The Snow Gorilla (2013).
The Rose has played host to a huge range of visiting companies: Headlong, English Touring Theatre, the Young Vic, Peter Brook, Bath Theatre Royal, Northern Broadsides, Filter, the Factory, Tara Arts and dozens of others.
The Rose has presented dozens of Time to Talks with eminent figures, including Sheila Hancock, Penelope Keith, Sir Peter Hall, Alan Bennett, Judi Dench, Timothy West, Gillian Anderson, Zoe Wanamaker, Michael Sheen and many others. It has also presented numerous one-night events, including concerts, comedy and cabaret. In November 2011 Robert O'Dowd joined the Rose as Chief Executive.
In October 2013 following his production of Ibsen's Ghosts, Stephen Unwin stepped down as Artistic Director of the Rose to focus on freelance theatre opportunities and to write two books, one scholarly, the other more personal.
2014 will see the theatre continue to produce Rose Productions as well as embarking on new and exciting partnerships, sharing skills and resources with other theatre companies and venues to create top quality theatre.