Formerly known as the Ritz, Weymouth Pavilion is the town’s entertainment hub.
Dating back to 1908, the original theatre was destroyed in a fire in 1954, before being rebuilt in 1958. But that wasn’t the end of the Pavilion’s turbulent times, as it would go on to face a lot of uncertainty in later years.
Back in 2006, the Pavilion was due to undergo an ambitious redevelopment as part of a £135-million redevelopment scheme ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. The 10-acre site was set to be transformed, with the addition of a brand new theatre space, a World Heritage Site visitor centre, shopping arcade and marina, alongside other new facilities including a hotel, undercover car park and ferry terminal. Sadly though, when the 2009 economic recession hit, these plans were cancelled.
The Pavilion’s future seemed bleak in 2012, when the Weymouth Borough Council announced that they were considering saving money by demolishing the building in favour of building a car park. Thankfully, a local group launched a campaign to save their beloved theatre and, in 2013, it was handed over to a local businessman to run as a not-for-profit business.
Since then, Weymouth Pavilion has gone from strength to strength, seeing its visiting numbers double within a year of reopening. Today, it puts on an array of events, including stand-up comedy acts, classic plays, opera, live music performances, touring musicals and, of course, the seasonal pantomime. Make sure you check the website to see what events are planned during your visit.
The Pavilion is divided into five separate event spaces, including the thoughtfully laid out 988-capacity main theatre and the 600-capacity Ocean Room ballroom, alongside other meeting and function rooms. If you want to enjoy a pre-theatre meal, then the Piano Room restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere and ever-changing menu filled with British favourites. Pre-show meals are limited to 40 per performance though, so booking is highly recommended.
Alternatively, if you fancy refuelling with a hot drink, cream tea, sandwich or freshly baked cake, scone or flapjack, then head to the Ritz Café. Seating is available in the foyer and Piano Bar and, when the sun shines, you can tuck into your treats on the outdoor picnic tables or head to the balcony to enjoy stunning views of the bay.
There are two council pay & display car parks available at the Pavilion, including the Pavilion Car Park located at the rear of the building and additional parking spaces at the Pavilion Forecourt. Parking is free from 6pm to 8am, and our Weymouth Seafront hotel is conveniently located just a few minutes’ drive away.