Kemble’s Riot

Ever witnessed a riot… in a theatre? Relive the 1809 audience rebellion!

“A rollicking good night out in this audience participatory piece of anarchic fun”

When The Theatre Royal burnt down in 1809, the actor-manager had no insurance. To pay for the rebuilding he raised the ticket prices… and the audience rioted for 66 nights!

You, the public, exercise your awesome power in Adrian Bunting’s inflammatory period play for today. Winner ‘best play’ Brighton Festival 2011.

We stamped, we bellowed, we sang cheerfully anachronistic protest songs. It’s good-tempered, it gets the blood pumping, it’s marvellously liberating…There’s a certain naughty frisson to all this, since lead actor George Dillon is Brighton’s own Kemble: shouting him down in his home city is like booing Simon Callow himself off the stage. But Dillon’s a good sport about it all, manfully hamming up his early scenes and deriding us, his hated audience, as soon as he thinks our backs might be turned.