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The Roman Theatre of St Albans

The oldest producing theatre in the UK

The Roman Theatre of St Albans is located to the west of the city, built in the year 140AD as part of the Roman city of Verulamium. It is believed to be the oldest theatre in the country that is still producing theatre today.

It is the only example of its kind in Britain, being a theatre with a stage rather than an Amphitheatre. Initially, the arena would have been used for anything from religious processions and dancing, to wrestling, armed combat and wild beast shows. From about 180AD the stage came into greater use and the auditorium was extended. By about 300AD, after some redevelopment work, the Theatre could seat 2000 spectators. The ruins were unearthed in 1847.

🎥 Simon Nicholas

Each year since 2014, OVO has produced a summer open air festival which has grown to be one of the UK’s leading outdoor events. In 2023, the festival attracted an audience of over 16,000 people.

OVO’s hugely popular productions that form the cornerstone of the festival have included Boudicca at Verulamium, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, Peter Pan, The Comedy of Errors, The Winter’s Tale, The Importance of Being Earnest, Little Women, Romeo and Juliet, Private Lives, The Railway Children and The Threepenny Opera.

The festival also features touring theatre companies, live music and local community performances.

OVO has presented a Winter production at the Roman Theatre since 2022.

Click here to read FAQs about your visit to the Roman Theatre Festival.

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