The Brighton Dome

Brighton Dome is the south coast’s premier multi-arts venue. Each year, they present and produce over 600 events spanning music, theatre, dance, comedy, literature, spoken word, visual arts, film, digital and more. In addition to the year-round programme, each May they produce England’s leading and most-progressive mixed-arts celebration, the internationally-acclaimed Brighton Festival Brighton Festival is an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events – taking place in venues both familiar and unusual across Brighton & Hove for three weeks every May in our lovely seaside city.

In 2016 Brighton Festival celebrated 50 years of commissioning and producing innovative arts and culture. Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has become one of the city’s most enduring symbols of inventiveness and celebration over the past half century. Renowned for its pioneering spirit and experimental reputation, Brighton Festival’s inaugural programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. 

Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals, Brighton Festival is known for its ambitious and daring programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere, drawing some of the most innovative artists and companies (and adventurous audiences) from the UK and around the world. 

With a rich history spanning over 200 years  (starting life as the Prince Regent’s stables and riding house), Brighton Dome provides an extraordinary space in which to bring the arts alive. This Autumn, Brighton Dome is celebrating its 216-year long history at open days, in talks, tours and other heritage events. We’ve picked out just a few interesting events & facts that have have occurred over the years in this fascinating & historic venue. When it was first built in 1806, the Brighton Dome roof was constructed of thousands of panes of glass. At the time it was the second largest dome shaped building in the country, after St Paul’s Cathedral. 

The 174-metre-long Corn Exchange has arched beams that are so big that building had to be temporarily postponed due to difficulties finding trees large enough! There is a hidden underground tunnel that runs beneath the Royal Pavilion. Built in 1821, it’s thought that Kind George IV used the secret tunnel to reach the stables (now Brighton Dome) out of sight from the public.

  • During the First World War the Concert Hall and Corn Exchange were used as a hospital. Over 4000 wounded Indian soldiers were nursed back to health in the decorative surroundings. On Sunday November 3rd there is a Free to all day of activities, tours and talks remembering stories from World War I and World War II. Also interesting to mention that Brighton Dome is one of the few buildings to have both internal and external listings, both for its Indian-style exterior and its 1930s Art Deco interior.

Since being converted into a performance venue in 1867, the stages of the Dome have been graced with a dazzling array of illustrious artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors and directors – from Harold Pinter to Maya Angelou, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder to David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen and all the late Dancing Queens in between.

There have also been some incredible female artists on the stages. In 1964, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (alongside Muddy Waters) performed at Brighton Dome as the American Folk Blues and Gospel Caravan rolled into town. Ella Fitzgerald made several appearances, including a performance with Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1967 & Maya Angelou celebrated her 70th birthday at Brighton Festival in 1998.

In 1974 the venue hosted ABBA’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo; this landmark win was honored with the award of a Blue Plaque, which was unveiled live on BBC Sussex as part of BBC Music Day in 2017. 

Pink Floyd were regular performers at the venue in the 1960s and 70s, appearing eight times between 1966 and 1972. Their first appearance was supporting the late great Jimi Hendrix, and they famously debuted their classic Dark Side of the Moon album live at Brighton Dome in January 1972

In recent years Brighton Dome has played host to numerous artists such as pop and R&B icon Beyoncé, who stormed the stage as part of the Radio One Chart Show Live at Brighton Dome in 2006. Other artists who have performed there, and who have gone on to become some of the biggest contemporary stars, include FKA Twigs, Stormzy, Benjamin Clementine, Gogo Penguin, London Grammar, as well as local artists Passenger, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and Royal Blood – providing an unrivaled environment to launch their careers.

Between now and Christmas there a whole host of events and shows for children and families, there’s plenty to see & fun for everyone at Brighton Dome

In need of some belly laughs? With an epic array of stand up and comedy events lined up, they’ve got you sorted. Check out which of your favourite comedians are coming to Brighton Dome

Spreading Christmas cheer with an unmissable line-up of events, ‘tis certainly the season to be jolly as Brighton Dome brings circus, dance, film, storytelling, comedy, carol singing and more to get everyone into the festive spirit

You can explore the whole Brighton Dome programme & see the what’s coming up at  Brighton Dome over the next few months