As befits a city that’s given the world acting talent like Jason Statham, John Hurt and rising Hollywood star Jack O’Connell, Derby has several impressive theatres putting on a diverse range of productions.
Theatre in Derby
The latest addition to Derby’s entertainment and cultural scene, Derby Arena is a vast 5,000-capacity arena built in Pride Park, a business park also home to Derby County’s football ground. Although primarily a venue for pop concerts and bicycle races, it also regularly hosts big-name comedians including Jimmy Carr and Russell Brand, and the city’s annual pantomime. The arena comes with 1,000 spaces in the adjoining car park and is a five-minute drive from our Derby East hotel.
Now run by the University of Derby, Derby Theatre boasts two auditoriums and was originally opened in 1975 under the name Derby Playhouse. Reopened in 2009 as Derby Theatre with a manifesto to entertain and educate, the theatre produces several high-class shows each year, including past productions of Yes, Prime Minister, Driving Miss Daisy, Great Expectations, Alice in Wonderland, and Horrible Histories. They don’t just host traditional plays, however, with stunt shows, comics, musicals, pantomimes and dance recitals regularly booked. The main auditorium can hold 535 with the smaller studio theatre, seating 110 people, used for more experimental works. You can also grab a snack or a pre- or post-show drink at the café and bar, and you can pre-order your interval drinks so you don’t need to queue. Part of the Derby Shopping Centre, you can use their car park while our City Centre (Riverlights) hotel is easily walkable.
A Grade II listed building, the Guildhall Theatre has a 260-seat auditorium that’s often used by amateur groups putting on a wide range of programmes including folk, comedy, jazz, musicals and children’s events. A busy theatre with over a dozen events each month, they also host the annual Derby Folk Festival every October. A well-run space with some seriously good productions that would put a venue twice the size to shame, theatre fans should definitely check ahead to see what’s on.
Since launching in 1998, Deda has become Derby’s home of dance-orientated arts, putting on shows that span ballet and contemporary dance as well as a wide range of dance classes. The theatre space hosts cabaret shows, circus-style acts and family-friendly events and is home to the Cube, a cool café bar that serves up a wide range of craft ales, locally sourced food and even hosts regular poetry sessions.