Brighton Dome celebrates its creative history with tours, talks and family friendly events at Heritage Open Day

1 Sep 2023

Brighton Dome opens its doors on Sunday 10 September for Heritage Open Day, a free all-day event comprising performances, tours and crafts celebrating this year’s theme of ‘creativity unwrapped’. Visitors are invited to explore the venue’s wide-ranging history, from the First World War and the suffragettes to performances from the first jazz band to travel to the UK and David Bowie.

In the Concert Hall, a staged reading of local writer Dulani Kulasinghe’s poem Letters Home explores the First World War from the perspective of two young soldiers from St Lucia. The poem is part of We Hear You Now, an audio trail across six miles of Seven Sisters Country Park and the Sussex Heritage Coast that reframes the English pastoral image of this iconic chalk landscape.

On a walking tour of the Royal Pavilion Estate and surrounding areas, Louise Peskett, author of The Fearless and Fabulous Women of Brighton will share stories of some of the intriguing, adventurous, outrageous and scandalously little-known women of the city’s past. Guests can also sneak a peek behind the curtain and follow in the footsteps of legends such as Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie in a Backstage Tour. Some of the more surprising roles the iconic venue has played in history will be revealed, alongside a rare glimpse of the entrance to the infamous tunnel to the Royal Pavilion.

In the Foyer, local jazz legends Lawrence Jones and Terry Seabrook, will play music inspired by the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, one of the first jazz bands to play in the UK with a four-week residency at Brighton Dome in 1921. There are also drop-in craft activities, including a Toy Theatre Workshop for ages 5 and up and all the family can dress up as their favourite Brighton Dome idol and strike a pose in GladRags Costume Hire’s photobooth!

In the Founders Room, immersive experiences will allow visitors to explore the history of Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange. Created as part of FutureScope Heritage XR, an initiative from Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Digital Catapult, supported by Wired Sussex, stories of the venue’s history are told using digital technologies including augmented reality (AR), surround sound and 5G. Brighton Dome memorabilia will also be on display, celebrating the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s legendary Ziggy Stardust performance and the release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which was debuted live at Brighton Dome in 1972. For Brighton residents with memories of ABBA’s historic Eurovision win in 1974, there will be an opportunity to share these and find out how to be involved with the venue’s celebration of the 50th anniversary next year.

Heritage Open Day runs from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 10 September at Brighton Dome. Visitors are welcome to drop in at any time to enjoy the Foyer activities and memorabilia. The tours and poetry performance can be booked in advance via the Brighton Dome website. 

For more information and performance times visit

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