April 24, 2023

Performing  on the Stones of our Ancestors

For many years now I have wanted us to perform in the oldest theatre in the UK. When I say old I don’t mean a couple of centuries, I mean specifically 140AD for that is when they have dated the Roman Theatre in the city known as Verulamium. It is now known as St Albans after the Christian saint who was later martyred there.

You can visit the theatre today, but you would be forgiven for thinking it was a pile of old stones. Well of course it is in ruins being over 2000 years old, but you can still make out where the stage  and audience were. It’s a bit unusual because most theatres in Roman and Greek times were built on sloping sites so the audience could easily see the action. Here it is a gentle slope but as you can see the stage is prominent. It would have been a raised wooden stage but obviously that is long gone.

When we set up Theatretrain in 1992 we started large scale performances from the first year and originally my plan was to perform at all the theatres in London. Well that is a bit impractical because there are about 150 of them and most of them can’t accommodate our kind of numbers. Then many theatres have in them big sets that can’t be changed, and some have no space for dressing rooms. So it came down to those big theatres that can be taken over by us for a day. I still want us to perform in the Royal Opera House and the Royal National Theatre but the powers that be have not, as yet, smiled upon our request. Having said that I have been having discussions with another London theatre that we have never performed at before and I am expecting to make an announcement later in the year.


We like performing in the open air because it gives our students a different kind of experience. The weather can play a part and one worry is that you do all the hard work, and it might pour down with rain on the day – and we know that can happen even in the height of summer.

Yet I would still like to tick off Verulamium. We would have to hire a generator because we’d need microphones and speakers as we would like the audience to hear the show!

I also love the thought that we would be performing at a place where we know Roman people were doing the same over 2000 years ago.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

Related Articles

Flying through Flanders

Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, recounts his Antwerp escapade, from coffee calamities to exploring vibrant theatres and explores how Belgium see value in the arts.
Read more >

Crazy for You

Join Theatretrain Artistic Director Kevin Dowsett as he shares the enchanting experience of watching 'Crazy for You' at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Dive into the magic of tap dancing, embrace the cheesy love stories, and discover why this musical is a perfect blend of joy and optimism.
Read more >

A Success Story

Dive into the vibrant world of theatre magic with Kevin Dowsett, Theatretrain's Artistic Director. Today, he shares the incredible journey of Callum Balmforth, a former student turned professional performer, making waves on and offstage!
Read more >

Saying Yes to Ideas

In this insightful blog, our Artistic Director, Kevin Dowsett, explores the power of saying yes to ideas and the transformative impact it can have on creativity and communication.
Read more >

I Have a Dream   

In this blog post by Kevin Dowsett, the realms of reality TV and musical theatre come together. The blog provides a exploration of the inner mechanisms of a reality show, the varied skills of its contestants, and the skill of establishing a connection with an audience through song and character. His distinctive viewpoints illuminate this considerate analysis. For the complete blog post, please click on the link either above or below in the bio. ☝️👇
Read more >

Important Things in the Arts

In this blog by Theatretrain Director Kevin Dowsett, we delve into the vital role the arts played in his school days and how they shaped his career. Discover the concerning decline in performing arts education and the need to bring it back into the core of the school curriculum. Kevin emphasizes the life skills and personal growth that the arts provide and underscores their intrinsic value in nurturing young minds.
Read more >