About the Roman Theatre
The Roman Theatre of Verulamium is unique.
Built in about 140AD 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 2,000 spectators.
The ruins that can be see today were unearthed in 1847 and 1935. Subsequent excavations in 1957 and 1961 revealed a row of shop foundations, a Roman Villa and a secret shrine, all thought to date from the First Century.
It is also possible to view treasures evacuated from the Roman Theatre site at the nearby Verulamium Museum.
The Roman Theatre of Verulamium is situated on Bluehouse Hill, to the west of St Albans city centre. The postcode is AL3 6AE.
There is no parking at the theatre – please park in the Verulamium Park NCP car park in St Michael’s Street which is a 5 minute walk from the venue. This car park can get full, especially at the weekend, so please arrive in plenty of time. If the car park is full, there are a number of public car parks in the city centre, around a 10-15 minute walk from the Roman Theatre.
Please do not try to enter the Gorhambury Estate in your car – if you do you will be turned back at the gate. There is a drop-off point in a lay-by opposite the entrance to the theatre on Bluehouse Hill.
The Roman Theatre is a 30 minute walk from St Albans City Station and a 20 minute walk from St Albans Abbey Station.
If you have particular access requirements, please let us know – we are able to make special drop off and pick up arrangements for audience members with limited mobility.
At the theatre
Whilst we can guarantee a wonderful afternoon or evening’s entertainment, we are unfortunately not in control of the great British weather and the auditorium is open to the elements. Be aware that even on fine days the site is sometimes windy and it can get chilly after dark, so please dress appropriately (no umbrellas). Equally, on fine days, it can get hot and there is no shade.
The performance will continue whatever the weather, unless conditions become dangerous. This will usually mean that we carry on through any rain, but may be forced to pause or abandon the performance in the event of thunder and lightning. A decision to cancel will only be taken at the time the performance is due to start. In the event of weather related cancellation, we will rebook you for a future performance.
All seats have a good view of the stage and the sound is clear throughout the auditorium thanks to our audio system. In the arena and terrace areas, seating is provided and you do not need to bring your own chair but you may wish to bring a cushion. In the terrace groundling areas you will be seated on the grass, so it is advisable to bring your own cushions and rugs. In the upper terrace area we ask you to bring your own chair.
The gates will open 45 minutes before the performance starts. You are welcome to come and enjoy a picnic before the performance, or simply arrive early to soak up the magical surroundings. If you are celebrating a special occasion, please let us know in advance so that we can make your visit memorable.
We will ask you to remain in the auditorium once you have entered to ensure that we can maintain social distancing.
Facilities and access
As usual, we are providing a fully licensed bar, although we are operating differently to previous years to minimise the risk from Covid-19.
Please note that, due to Covid-19, toilet facilities are extremely limited, and we ask you to refrain from using the on site toilets unless absolutely necessary to minimise the risk of infection. Public toilets are available in the NCP car park.
We regret that no dogs (except guide dogs) can be admitted to performances.
The Roman Theatre is an ancient heritage site and disabled access is, unfortunately, quite challenging. However, we always try to accommodate disabled audience members – please email us if you wish to enquire about access requirements.
Historical information about the Roman Theatre provided courtesy of the Gorhambury Estate.