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Brighton Dome, 20 August 2014

A brief history of Brighton Dome Concert Hall

Next time you’re visiting Brighton’s famous ‘Dome’ (now our Concert Hall) to see a show try to arrive early. Take your seat in the Stalls; and take a moment to listen carefully and we’re not talking about listing for music here… Make yourself comfortable, relax and you might just hear the clip-clop of ghostly hooves; it’s Escape, one of the Prince Regent’s horses!

Let’s go back a bit before the Escape’s time… The Prince Regent got into a lot of hot water over his expenses; he had spent far too much modernising his accommodation in London. So in 1786 he ran away to hide in Brighton, renting a modest farmhouse next to the Steine. It only took him two years to decide to develop the original building.

Amongst the collection of Prince George’s passions (and there were so many of them!) were his horses. From 1803 to 1808 huge efforts were expended building a massive and lavish riding school and stables. The stable block dwarfed the original Pavilion, so he called in John Nash to remodel the Royal Pavilion into the far from modest building we see today.

It is the stable block that now houses the Brighton Museum, our Concert Hall, Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre.

The Dome in its original form (now Brighton Dome Concert Hall), light and airy with very large (and ultimately, very expensive) roof windows.

Queen Victoria was not as enthusiastic about Brighton as the Prince Regent; she felt that the Royal Pavilion’s position did not allow her enough privacy; especially with so many people flocking to Brighton on the railway. So the Pavilion and the adjacent stable block were sold to the City of Brighton in 1850.

The stable block was converted in 1860 and was used as assembly rooms.

The Illustrated News. Caption: The Dome plays host to Southern Counties Exhibition 1867

And into the 20th and 21st century we’ve played host to a number of celebrated performers. 1973 saw David Bowie appear on our stage with tickets at £1.20

In the past our walls have reverberated to some incredible music, Jimmy Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Cure, ABBA, Nina Simone and David Bowie – to name but a few!

We are no less proud of the current crop of productions that grace our stage. Some are commissioned especially for the Brighton Festival, at other times we select the most vibrant acts for our year-round Music programme. This year’s crop includes MogwaiFKA twigsHow To Dress Well and Jon Hopkins.

Did you know all of these stars have performed here too…?

Brighton Dome - History & Heritage - Musical Milestones

You can find out more about our history at our Heritage Open Day Saturday 13 September 2014, this is a FREE event and Backstage tours will run throughout the day and are bookable in advance on 01273 709709