Whether you’re looking for live music, theatre, stand-up comedy or watch professional sport, you’ll find all this and more when it comes to entertainment in Portsmouth.
Entertainment in Portsmouth
Head to our dedicated page on the Portsmouth Guildhall to find out more about the city centre landmark that’s welcomed The Beatles, Depeche Mode and Radiohead to its stage.
A 500-capacity live music venue in Southsea, The Wedgewood Rooms opened in 1992 and has hosted names including Gorillaz, Oasis and Pulp and continues to be a venue that champions up-and-coming bands on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream. Known locally as ‘the Wedge’, the club also hosts regular comics including Jo Brand and Michael McIntyre as well as regular tribute bands and guest club nights. The club also has a 100-capacity second room called The Edge, which hosts after-show parties, acoustic sessions and more edgy acts.
Further north and just next to Fratton Park is The Rifle Club. A popular home for live music including local and national touring bands and tribute acts, the venue used to be a rifle range, hence the name. Local promoters put on a wide range of acts spanning reggae, funk, indie and acoustic music, so check in advance to find out who’s playing when you’re in town.
New Theatre Royal
A 700-capacity theatre dating back to 1854, the New Theatre Royal is a prestigious city centre venue just next to the Guildhall. Reopened in 2015 after a multi-million-pound refurbishment, the theatre has a strong programme of events spanning comedy, drama, dance, workshops, family events and more. Legend has it that Charles Dickens may – just may – have performed at the theatre in the 19th century, but confirmed names that have trodden the boards include Morecambe and Wise and Laurel and Hardy. Designed by Victorian architects Charles Phipps and Frank Matcham, it’s one of the last remaining Phipps/Matcham theatres in use and is a gorgeous four-tiered auditorium with several balconies, private stalls and amazing wall and roof sculptures and art.
Over in Southsea and a short walk from The Wedgewood, Kings Theatre is a restored Edwardian 1,500-capacity theatre. First opened in 1907, the theatre has put on everything from comedy and opera to dance, musicals and plays in a stunning Grade II listed proscenium arch theatre. More recently, the theatre has hosted musicals and family-friendly events including Mamma Mia, High School Musical and Teletubbies, while Take That, The Police and Elvis tribute acts have brought a bit of rock and roll to the theatre. There’s an on-site bar selling drinks and snacks, while there are plenty of bars and cafés nearby including The Phoenix which we’ve included in our Portsmouth nightlife section.
The oldest theatre in Portsmouth, Groundlings was built in 1784 as a school before it closed in 1962. Derelict and essentially a burnt-out shell, it was bought in 2010 and underwent a huge restoration project and has once again become a buzzing community-based building putting on everything from Shakespeare plays to annual panto, fuelled by a strong local community. Located a stone’s throw from Portsmouth Harbour, it’s a passionate theatre and a short walk from our City Centre hotel.
A weekly comedy throwdown that’s been running for over 15 years, Tiger Comedy with Dave’s Comedy takes place every Saturday at Gunwharf Quays Tiger Tiger. With four hand-picked comics and a compere on hand to tickle your funny bone, you can start the night with a two-course menu in the Tiger Tiger restaurant before heading into the comedy show.
Held every month, the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club is held at the Portsmouth Guildhall and has hosted big-name comics like John Bishop, Jason Manford and Sarah Millican in its time. The format includes four comedians, full bar service and two interval breaks during the show, with doors opening at 7.30pm.
Head to our Fratton Park page to find out more about the Premier League-standard football stadium, home to Portsmouth Football Club.
A huge grass sport complex that can host cricket, rugby and football matches, United Services Recreation Ground was once home to Hampshire County Cricket Club, but is now more commonly used by the Royal Navy Rugby Union team and the United Services Portsmouth Rugby Football Club. Located between the Gunwharf Quays and the University of Portsmouth, it’s a great place to come and watch some highly able amateur teams battle it out including Portsmouth Hockey Club who boast four men’s sides, two women’s teams and several junior teams.