The original building cost was £57,000 – and the auditorium was painted in green and black. Listed in 1995 as of special architectural and historical interest, there have been several renovations since.
In the 1930s, locals hoped that Assembly Hall Theatre would serve as a modern theatre and a community venue. Mayor Alderman Westbrook told guests at the opening that ‘today’s proceedings mark a definite step forward and a progressive policy.’
However, it was by no means Tunbridge Wells’ first theatre. This establishment was opened by entrepreneur Sarah Baker in 1786. Following its closure in 1843 due to declining support, we had no theatre until 1902 when the Opera House – a magnificent Edwardian structure so called because leading citizens believed it sounded more prestigious than ‘theatre’ – became our centre for theatrical arts. This beautiful building was converted into a cinema in 1931.
Based in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, the Assembly Hall Theatre first opened its doors to theatre goers in 1939. Designed by architect Percy Thomas as part of the Civic Centre complex, it was formally opened by the Marchioness Camden on Empire Day – as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the granting of the town’s charter in 1889.
Nurturing and developing artistic talent within our borough is of the utmost importance – as is ensuring we deliver maximum benefit to residents, local businesses and visitors.
Continuing the town’s original desire that the Assembly Hall building would be more than just a theatre, we’re determined to engage with the wider community – including through working with schools, young people and charities – and develop new audiences.
Today, we’re delighted to host a wonderful variety of theatre, music, comedy and family events as well as an annual pantomime. We’re also the proud home of the Tunbridge Wells Operatic and Dramatic Society, Symphony Orchestra and Choral Society.
Then and Now
We’re determined to entertain, educate and enrich the lives of our community.
But we don’t just want to do that purely by delivering an exciting and eclectic mix of productions. We want you to get involved.
That’s why we’re launching a series of programmes within different segments of our community, including school children, young people and the elderly. We’re also creating opportunities for identifying and nurturing artistic talent within our borough.
Ultimately, we’re maximising benefits for residents, visitors and local businesses.
Download our free programme to learn more about how we’re working in partnership with some wonderful organisations to enhance and enrich the cultural landscape across the region.
Find us at...
- Assembly Hall Theatre
- Crescent Road
- Royal Tunbridge Wells
Our family-friendly offer
Nearby paid for carpark in Crescent Road.
Our cafe and bar area sell cartons and some snacks.
The theatre is easily accessible for pushchairs via the push-door to the right of the main entrance.
Booster seats to hire for £2.
Unisex baby changing facilities.
With a varied programme and special facilities to meet the needs of all patrons, we’re firmly committed to enabling everyone to participate in our inspirational events.
The theatre is an accessible venue with a free accessibility membership scheme. Please let us know when booking your seats if you or any of your party have any specific access needs, or join our accessibility register for easy online booking.
Alternatively, for specific access requests – including wheelchair bookings, headsets or general access information – please call our messaging service on 01892 554428. Messages are checked every day Monday to Friday, and we’ll get straight back to you.
During your visit, our box office and front-of-house staff are available and happy to help whenever possible. (For a full access guide visit Disabled Go.)
We want to make your visit as smooth and enjoyable as possible, so please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
There is one disabled parking space directly outside the theatre, as well as ground floor parking in the Crescent Road car park.
When arriving at the theatre, the push-button door to the right of the main entrance allows access for wheelchair users entering at box office level, while an accessible lift links the foyer, lower foyer and the auditorium, though not the circle.
Our accessible toilet is adjacent to the lower foyer bar. And don’t forget to use our in-seat drinks service during the interval.
Tickets for Carers
If you use a wheelchair and or are unable to independently move around all areas and services within the theatre without direct help, your carer is entitled to a free ticket.*
Please note that there is only one carer ticket per person; additional carer tickets required must be paid for at the standard price.
To qualify for the carer's ticket, a full price or appropriate concession ticket must be purchased.
*Subject to availability.
Signed Performances & Audio Enhancement
We arrange signed performances of selected shows in our programme. Just ask at the box office or check online or in our brochure for details.
The theatre is equipped with a Sennheiser infrared audio enhancement system. Headsets are available from the box office for a £5 refundable deposit.
The theatre guide is available in large print or audio format on request.
Due to limited storage space, we’d be grateful if you didn’t bring your buggy to the theatre, if at all possible.