Latest Updates

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 7 August 2020

Plans for re-opening are gathering pace, and we’re really excited to be announcing the latest addition to our panto cast today – X Factor finalist Sean Smith who will play Dick Whittington.

Portsmouth-born Sean shot to fame as one half of the duo Same Difference after reaching the final of the X Factor and being signed to Simon Cowell’s record label, where they released two albums. Sean has recently been combining theatre work with the release of his debut album Solo, and was reunited with his sister to record a special charity single with all proceeds going towards the NHS.

Our pantomime is really starting to take shape now, and I’m over the moon to have Sean joining Jack Edwards leading the cast this year. Sean represents everything we are looking for as part of our panto this year – a huge talent born and bred in Pompey. We’re proud to be showcasing the talent we have in our community.

We are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that when Christmas comes around, we can have a fantastic time, where everyone is in a safe environment, and I encourage everybody to show their support for our wonderful theatre and buy tickets for a proper family night out!

Stay in touch and stay safe!

With All Best Wishes.

Paul Woolf, CEO

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 17 July 2020

Another busy week here for Team Kings as we begin our seven-week countdown to get our beautiful venue ready to welcome audiences back. The first event in our Film+ season on Saturday 5 September is 42nd Street, which includes a pre-show Q&A with the star of the show Bonnie Langford.

Thank you all for your support of the season. Because of our current limited capacity due to social distancing this event has very few tickets left so if you want to be one of the first people back through our doors please book now.

Our Meet and Greet with Sir Matthew Bourne on Saturday 3 October is already sold out, and tickets for the film screenings (Swan Lake, The Red Shoes and The Car Man), and Q&As on the same day are also selling fast, so booking in advance is particularly recommended.

During the coronavirus crisis we have been cheering and celebrating the key workers who have supported us all during lockdown and into the ‘new normal’. Now it is our chance to give something back.

I know that many of you have been waiting for this news so I can confirm that on Wednesday 2 December at 7pm we will be presenting a free performance of Dick Whittington for key workers and their families. There are 400 tickets available (which is our current panto capacity in line with social distancing) and these will be allocated via ballot.

The ballot is now open and closes at 5pm on Friday 24 July. Details of how to enter the ballot and our terms and conditions can be found here.

With All Best Wishes.

Paul Woolf, CEO

Monday 6 July 2020

The Kings welcomes the news of the government support package for the Arts. live entertainment and heritage sectors in the UK announced yesterday. We read with interest the press release last night and now await the detail to advise how this will help regional venues in the theatre and music sectors, large and small. The Kings is a charity that currently has no Arts Council funding and a small amount of local council subsidy for our community and education programmes. While we wait for details of the funding package, we will continue to lobby our case to allow us to open with all appropriate safety measures as soon as possible.

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 26 June 2020

This week I wanted to share with you my letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden which formed The Kings submission to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Task Force for re-starting the theatre industry. We’ve watched with a sense of dismay as the narrative for the entire UK theatre industry has been predicated on a small number of West End Theatres and wanted to be a voice for regional theatres like us who want to open our doors as soon as we can and begin to provide the entertainment we are all craving.

Dear Mr Dowden

I am not a man driven to communicate with politicians but the way in which regional theatre is being ignored is both distressing and astonishing in equal measure. It seems to me that a few theatre owners in the West End have the ear of the government and when they say they are mothballing for a year the government then move on and ignore the rest of the industry. Today’s news tells us that pubs, cinemas and museums will be reopening BUT not a single word about regional theatre!!

As CEO of the Kings Theatre in Portsmouth I appeal to you to consider all aspects of theatre in the UK. The local arts and regional theatre is being destroyed by the crisis and we need to be able to open in a controlled manner to remain financially independent, contribute to the local economy, and retain talented staff. We have also a positive role in the mental health of the community providing entertainment, community and educational activities and stimulation.

The DCMS narrative is too focused on the West End and a few very wealthy impresarios. Regional theatre is a very different beast and they are not comparable in the support and actions we need.

My theatre largely operates on the Box Office takings, and we are successful. Furthermore, all our ticket money is ring-fenced so every audience member has been able to have a refund.

With no income since March we can only survive if we can open by November and produce our Pantomime. Leave aside the need for this to enable us to survive, the 40,000 odd people who year on year attend our panto need to have this event. We play a huge part in the cultural well-being of Portsmouth and the surrounding area and it would be a crime if we were allowed to die simply because focus is on a few and not on the many.

We have worked out if we scale down the production, allow for social distancing which reduces the house to c.400 per performance and reduce the ticket price to £20 we will enter 2021 in the black. The people of Portsmouth are supporting us and ticket sales are buoyant. We have been very public about the safety measures we are putting in place and our audiences and staff trust us to keep them safe. All tickets are sold with a guarantee that money will be refunded in full if we are prevented from opening.

The other aspect of regional theatre is that it depends on the weekly tours and one night shows. All the time there is no road map to re-opening the producers, promotors and artists who provide the rich and varied programmes will not survive.

There is not enough money to financially support a bail out of all the local theatres, producers, promotors and artists in the country. Let us get back to work so we can earn money, keep people on the pay roll and stimulate local business around us. Give us the guidelines that we need to work under and we will do it.


Yours sincerely

Paul Woolf, CEO Kings Theatre Trust Ltd

This was sent on Monday 22 June and we will keep you all updated as to any replies we get. If you feel as passionate about this as I do can I ask you please to mail your local MP and make a noise too. The more we can encourage the debate the better.

In the meantime, as always, stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you back to The Kings very soon.

With All Best Wishes

Paul Woolf
CEO Kings Theatre

We are working hard to reschedule as many of the affected performances as possible. Confirmed reschedules can be found here.

For the latest government advice and information, please click here.

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 12 June 2020

Following our news about Panto last week I am very pleased to say ticket sales are strong with many Peter Pan ticket holders rolling over their tickets to 2021 and buying new tickets for Dick Whittington. Please encourage your family and friends to support the Kings this Christmas by buying a ticket. Remember all tickets are £20 and if for any reason the government stop us from going ahead we guarantee you a refund of your ticket price (ticket price excludes £1.50 per ticket booking fee.).

Jack and I will be appearing on Facebook Live on Thursday 18 June, at 12pm to answer questions about the panto.

I was delighted to head into the theatre to pick up a fantastic donation from Mike Shemeld from the Havant based Depro Group. Mike has donated 2 units of his product The Steri-EZ, a multi-purpose spray dispenser that easily and safely sterilises using disinfectants and pesticides, and removes odours. We’ll be using the units in our new cleaning regime in the auditorium and public spaces when we re-open the theatre and it will be an important part of the measures we are putting in place to keep our audiences safe. This represents a donation of £1000 of equipment for the theatre and as you can imagine in these times during lock-down we were overwhelmed by Mike and his team’s generosity and look forward to welcoming them back to the theatre when we re-open.

Enjoy the weekend – the good weather is coming back.

Paul Woolf
CEO Kings Theatre

You can find more information about the changes to our Panto and the steps being taken to ensure the comfort and safety of our audiences on the FAQ page.

For the latest government advice and information, please click here.

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 5 June 2020

Good Afternoon,

It’s a busy day at the Kings Theatre, as you will have seen if you caught our Facebook Live earlier. If you missed it you can re-watch it here.

During our Facebook Live we announced that because of the enforced closure of theatres and after liaison with our creative team and co-producer, we will be  postponing Peter Pan until next year when it will run from Saturday 27 November until Friday 31 December 2021.

But Team Kings will not be defeated and what would Pompey be without the Kings Panto? After all the heartache we’ve been through during lockdown we are all going to need some fun – and we are going to deliver that in buckets full! We’re delighted to reveal that for Christmas 2020 the Kings will premiere Dick Whittington starring Pompey’s favourite Dame, Jack Edwards, alongside a host of local favourites which will run at the Kings from Saturday 28 November until Thursday 31 December 2020. All your favourites will be there including 12 Days of Christmas (so let’s hope we can source enough toilet rolls!!)

The current situation has meant times are hard for many of us so we have decided to price all seats at £20 and we are limiting the audience numbers to 400 per show to comply with current social distancing. And you have my guarantee that if for any reason we are not allowed by the Government to put on the show we guarantee a refund of your ticket price.

Your comfort and safety is our primary concern as we prepare to re-open, so we’re deep cleaning the venue (as well as putting new carpet in the stalls). Once open we will have an increased daily cleaning programme with hand sanitisers and free face masks available for audiences. There will be non-contact temperature checks for all staff, performers and customers, and we’ll be implementing crowd control measures including audience entrance and exit and flow through the venue.

We’re asking you to show your support for your Kings by buying a ticket and joining us for what will be a wonderful show

Stay safe and well,

Paul Woolf
CEO Kings Theatre

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 29 May 2020

Good Evening

Hopefully you are well and have had a chance to enjoy some of this glorious weather.

Slowly the lockdown is easing – but we still have no clarification about when it will be possible to open our doors and raise the curtain.

In the meantime we are preparing for when we can open, developing plans to keep you, staff, and performers all safe. We are also doing essential maintenance inside the theatre; painting the dressing rooms, sorting and testing all our stage equipment, changing light bulbs – you can only imagine how many are in the theatre – and I’m delighted to announce we are improving the flooring in the Stalls. I agree it is well overdue, but it is one of the few silver linings that at last we have the time to do it now.

I’ll be taking a look over the building tomorrow (Saturday 30 May) with our talented Creative Director, Mr Jack Edwards, and you can join us LIVE on Facebook from 1pm. We’ll be talking about the theatre and our plans for reopening – when it’s safe to do so – as well as discovering some parts of the building that aren’t often seen by the public. So join us on Facebook for what is sure to be a unique backstage tour!

Jack has spent the last few weeks on the hot line to new and old producers booking and moving a great line up of shows into 2021. We have some incredible performances to look forward to, from Pop Princesses to Comedy at the Kings and lots in between. We’re sure there’s something to suit you and all your family and friends. You have my word if any shows do not go on, you will be able to exchange or get a refund (excluding fees) for any tickets bought.

Thank you for supporting us through this time – without you the audience – we are nothing. And as I said before I am personally committed to steering the Kings through this uncertain time and we will be ready to open as soon as we can.

Stay safe and well,

Paul Woolf
CEO Kings Theatre

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 15 May 2020

As the days merge into one I start by hoping you are well.

This week the Kings has cause to reflect on the remarkable achievements of Frank Matcham, the architect of the theatre.

Sunday 16 May marks the 100th anniversary of his death and in remembering him it gives us the chance to celebrate what an amazing theatre we have. Up until recently I was in the Kings most days but still never tire of looking up at the ceiling or the sight of the auditorium from the stage.

Building over 150 theatres including the London Palladium, London Coliseum and the Blackpool Grand, Matcham was the leading theatre architect of his time although extraordinarily snubbed by the profession as he wasn’t qualified. Theatre owners recognised his skill though, and his eye for beauty, lavishness, and a very important fact for you – sightlines – all Matcham theatres have great sightlines. Today only 21 Matcham theatres have survived so we are blessed to still have this notable theatre in the city.

As for many the lock down continues to present us with problems but we are hoping the new ministerial task force that is looking at the entertainment sector will give us some dates to work to. Rest assured we are rescheduling and booking an amazing programme for when we get the green light, and we are actively considering all safety measures.

When you can come back, and are waiting for the show to start, take some time to look up and remind yourself how beautiful the Kings is.

With All Best Wishes.
Paul Woolf, CEO


Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 1 May 2020

I cycled past the Kings last weekend and the sun was shining on Aurora – our golden statue standing guard high above the Kings. She was standing so bright and strong it filled me with a sense of optimism for the future amidst the uncertainty.

So what does that future look like? We at the Kings are, just like you, waiting for news on how the lock down will unfold. Reading all the signs and following requests from producers to move shows we have taken the decision to postpone and reschedule all shows up to 31 July 2020. If you have tickets for July we will be writing to you and all ticket holders directly so please keep an eye on your inbox. We are currently working with a severely reduced active team and have one person working in Box Office to answer your queries during office hours Monday – Friday, so please bear with us as our reply to you may take longer than usual.

But this hasn’t stopped us planning for reopening. You may have watched me and Jack Edwards on our Facebook Live session this week – if not you can watch it here. During the session we heard live that the actor we wanted to play Peter Pan in our Panto has said yes. You will adore him – and I can’t wait to reveal who he is.

I am also delighted to announce two new shows going on sale today. We have Come What May: The Ultimate Moulin Rouge Tribute, on Tuesday 29th September, if you liked the movie and love musicals you will love this. And we have The Rocketmen an amazing review of the fabulous and timeless songs of Sir Elton John on the 22nd March 2021. Have a look at our website and you will see other great shows coming up in the Autumn and Winter.

Please be assured that we are thinking hard about all the measures that have to be in place to make the theatre a safe place to be on your return. Keep well,

With All Best Wishes.
Paul Woolf, CEO

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 24 April 2020

First and foremost I hope you and your family and friends are keeping safe and well.

Although the curtain is down at the moment we are busy making plans to raise it and welcome you back. I would love to share these plans with you and am thrilled to say that Jack Edwards and I will be back with our 3rd Facebook Live on Wednesday 29 April at 1pm. Join us on Wednesday for our live conversation or you can submit your questions now on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you and we’ll have more details of our previously announced free panto performance for NHS and other key workers. Tune in on Wednesday here.

The programming engine continues to purr away as we plan for the lead up to Christmas and 2021.

I am delighted to announce that the BBC Big Band are coming to perform two spectacular concerts. The first is Wednesday 4 November, where the BBC Big Band will be presenting The Sound of the Cinema – a spectacular concert featuring some of the greatest movie sound-tracks of all time, and even better they will be joined by internationally renowned guest vocalist Emer McParland. And then on Tuesday 10 November we’d love you to join us and the BBC Big Band for a VE Day 75th Anniversary Concert. A very special event inspired by the war years and commemorating all those that lived through these times, the band will be playing the music which provided the backdrop to this momentous period of our history.

We would love to see you at these events and of course the other new shows going on sale. See our website for the best seats while they are still available.

Hope to see you Wednesday. Stay in touch and stay safe!

With All Best Wishes.
Paul Woolf, CEO

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 14 April 2020

All of us at the Kings hope you and yours are well and safe.

We hope you managed to make the best of the Easter weekend. Saying this we haven’t forgotten that key workers were hard at it and many in very difficult circumstances. The Kings would like to say our own thank you to NHS and other key workers and I am delighted to announce we will be inviting them to a free outing to the Pantomime this Christmas. More details about this will follow.

Last week Jack Edwards and I hosted our first ‘socially distanced’ live chat. It was good to hear your questions and for your supportive comments. If you missed it you can watch it here. It was a lot of fun for us and we plan on running more sessions on a regular basis. We will email when we know the next date and hopefully you can join us or post your questions beforehand.

Another highlight is we have managed to secure a rescheduled date for the mighty We Will Rock You. This has moved to Monday 31 May – Saturday 5 June 2021. All ticket holders were emailed last week so please check your emails for full information. Your tickets have been exchanged into the equivalent performance so if you were coming on Monday 3 June your tickets are now valid for Monday 31 May 2021. Your seats remain the same. If you have any questions please do contact our Box Office In the words of Queen – The Show Must Go On – and we agree!

As I have mentioned previously we have a small Box Office team working remotely. We are continuing to contact all customers for our rescheduled shows. Please bear with us as we are working through an enormous amount of emails and messages via social media – but we are managing to respond to everyone in the end.

Looking ahead we are working with both regular and new promoters and our future programming for 2021 is looking terrific. Over the next few weeks I plan to share some of our new programming with you so please do keep an eye out for this weekly email and across our website and social media. Saying this you can be assured your safety is our priority and we are already thinking how we manage this when the lockdown is relaxed to make it safe, comfortable and easy for you to return to the theatre again.

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 6 April 2020

We have been working away rescheduling our fabulous line up of shows and looking ahead to 2021. We can’t wait to tell you about the amazing programme we have coming up.

I am pleased to say most customers for our April and May shows have now been contacted, so if you have not seen the email please check your junk/spam folder. If you have any queries you can reach us at but please bear with us as it may take longer than usual to reply to messages.

On behalf of the Kings I would like to thank everyone who has donated their ticket money. This will make a real difference to the theatre when we can reopen and your generosity is humbling at such a difficult time.

Sadly due to our reduced active staff we have been forced to temporarily close Box Office phone lines for a short time. Please keep an eye on our website and across our social media channels for future information about the phone lines re-opening and of course for other news about our shows.

With All Best Wishes.
Paul Woolf, CEO

We are working hard to reschedule as many of the affected performances as possible. Confirmed reschedules can be found here.

For the latest government advice and information, please click here.

Update from our CEO, Paul Woolf | 24 March 2020

With the recent statements from the UK government regarding social distancing, and ongoing conversations with the Producers of shows coming to the theatre, we are sad to announce that the Kings is extending its temporary closure up to Sunday 31 May 2020.

We are working tirelessly to reschedule our fabulous line up of shows in this period and if you have tickets we will be contacting you as soon as we have the news.

During these exceptional times we have a small Box Office team working off-site who are dealing with a huge number of queries. All details about how to exchange tickets will be included in the individual emails we are sending to ticket holders as we confirm details with the Producers. May I ask you to bear with us and where possible not contact Box Office until directed to do so.

Saying that, we are still on sale with all shows after May including our spectacular Christmas Panto, Peter Pan (starring Only Fools and Horses’ Boycie – John Challis and our very own Jack Edwards).

Unfortunately due to the reduced numbers of our active team we will now be closing the Kings Theatre Box Office phone lines for a short time. Please keep an eye on our website and across our social media channels for future information about the phone lines re-opening.

You can also reach us at but please note it may take longer than usual to reply to messages.

We are updating social media and our website as we get news so please keep an eye on the latest information.

It is for many of us the first time something of this magnitude has impacted each and every one of us in such a significant way. I am committed to managing the Kings Theatre through this period and hope to be welcoming you back very soon to give you the first class live theatre we all deserve.

With All Best Wishes.
Paul Woolf, CEO

We are working hard to reschedule as many of the affected performances as possible. Confirmed reschedules can be found here.

For the latest government advice and information, please click here.

Ways You Can Support

Make a Donation

As a registered charity (1088254), we rely on the support of our audience and community. In these unprecedented times your donation – whatever the amount, will help to protect the Theatre and ensure that it continues to thrive.

Please follow the link to Donate Now. Your support is hugely appreciated.

Sponsor a Seat | Leave a Legacy

Consider securing your place in Kings Theatre history by sponsoring a seat and have the message of your choice engraved onto a plaque and placed onto one of our seats. Your name, personal dedication or company will be visible for all to see.

If you love visiting the Kings and want to be a part of what’s to come, why not sponsor a seat for yourself or a loved one? Give the gift of Theatre! Find out more here.

Keep Engaging with the Theatre

Keep an eye on your email inbox and stay connected with the Kings Theatre on social media. Whilst we are currently unable to keep entertaining in person, we can still bring the show to you.

Sign up to our Newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook and stay tuned.

Look Ahead to our Upcoming Shows

Although the curtain is currently down in the Theatre and the Ghost Light flickering on the stage, rest assured that work is continuing behind the scenes. Whilst we all have that bit of down-time, why not draw up a wish-list of the shows you’d like to see.

Take a look at our What’s On Guide. We’ll be flying to Neverland very soon…

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