The Grand Theatre, Lancaster

Polly Checkland Harding
The Grand Theatre in Lancaster
Lancaster Grand

Opened in 1782 during the reign of King George III, the Lancaster Grand Theatre has been in near continuous operation for over 230 years. One of the oldest working theatres in England, the original design for the building was remodelled in 1897, gutted by fire internally in 1908 and reopened in its current iteration just eight months later – with the Edwardian features that remain in evidence today. The stage in this Grade II listed building has played host to preeminent actors including Ira Aldridge, the first black actor to play Othello having emigrated from New York in 1824, and the theatre boasts notable patrons including actor Jane Horrocks of Absolutely Fabulous fame.

Tours of the theatre include a chance to follow in Aldridge’s footsteps and stand on the stage in the auditorium, which has a circular balcony and rich plasterwork, as well as venturing behind scenes backstage. These are parts of the theatre not usually seen by the audience, and a chance to feel what it’s like to wait anxiously in the wings before venturing out on the boards. Guests on tours of Lancaster Grand Theatre have even spotted the ghost that is rumoured to haunt the theatre: the ‘Grey Lady’ is said to be the spirit of Sarah Siddons, an actor who became famous in her time after making her name playing Lady Macbeth in London’s Covent Garden.

As well as hosting plays, touring productions, comedy, dance, music and musicals, the theatre is looking to its future, with a fundraising campaign underway to raise money for the construction of an accessible new foyer and studio space. Planned since 2008 and designed to better serve the theatre’s modern audiences, the extension is set to include a new reception, bar and additional storage. Made visually distinct from the original building through the use of glass, the modern foyer has been designed to be in keeping with the listed structure and the conservation area it stands in, with a new entrance opening out onto a public square to the side of the theatre.

St LeonardgateLancasterLA1 1NL View map
Telephone: 01524 64695 Visit Now

What's on near The Grand Theatre, Lancaster

Where to go near The Grand Theatre, Lancaster

The Dukes, Lancaster
Lancaster
Theatre
The Dukes

Lancashire’s only producing theatre hosts exciting seasons of work featuring new writing and the classics in a converted church in central Lancaster. The Dukes is also a cinema, hosts gigs, talks and other special events, run a youth theatre and is a popular all day cafe bar.

Lancashire
Bar or Pub
The Stonewell Tap

The Stonewell Tap is a lively craft beer bar on Church Street, Lancaster, which boasts 16 craft beer taps and 4 real hand-pulled ale pumps.

Lancashire
Restaurant
The Herbarium

This plant-based cafe and bar serves delicious vegan breakfasts and coffees in the day, before transforming into a fantastic dinner venue in ‘Herb after Dark’.

Judge’s Lodgings, Lancaster, Lancashire
Lancaster
Museum
Judges’ Lodgings

The Judges’ Lodgings is the oldest town house in Lancaster, whose exhibitions and events bring the stories of the city to life.

The Music Room from Atkinsons Coffee Roasters Lancaster
Lancaster
Café or Coffee Shop
The Music Room

The Music Room from Atkinsons Coffee Roasters is a cafe situated on a Grade II listed Georgian pavilion with sun trap outside seating.

Filbert's Baker artisan bread in Lancaster
Lancaster
Shop
Filbert’s Bakery

Filbert’s bakery is a family owned bakery that provides delicious fresh bread every morning along with breakfast goods, cakes and savouries.

Lancaster
Bar or Pub
Aquila Pizza

You can order online or over the phone to get your pizza fix. With regular deals on multiple pizzas and breads available for delivery and collection across Lancaster and Morecambe mid-week and weekends then keep your eyes on Aquila’s website and social channels.

Lancaster Castle Lancashire
Lancaster
Tourist Attraction
Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle’s origins date back almost 1,000 years. This Grade 1 Listed Building occupies a city-centre hilltop location on the site of three successive Roman forts.

Lancaster
Library
Lancaster Library

Sitting in the heart of Lancaster is the Lancaster Library. When not serving its usual function, this beautiful space is occasionally transformed into an unlikely gig venue.

Lancaster
Event venue
The Storey Creative Industries Centre

Multi-purpose venue comprising an auditorium and lecture theatre, gallery space, café bar, Visitor Information Centre, hireable meeting rooms and conference/events spaces and private offices.

An interior shot of the arches within Lancaster Priory
Lancaster Priory

Lancaster Priory Church is a vibrant, open and inclusive church at the heart of Lancaster. Music, education and community are at the heart of their mission.

Culture Guides