|The Lamb Inn, Eastbourne|
Lamb Inn and Theatre
|Address||36 High Street
|Designation||Grade II Listed|
The Lamb Theatre is a fringe theatre, situated above the Lamb Inn in Old Town, Eastbourne. The first pub theatre in Eastbourne, it hosts a range of performance events at Eastbourne's oldest pub. The theatre was founded in August 2009, though the Lamb's roots as a performance space go much deeper; in the 19th century it was used by Augustus Egg and Charles Dickens to host their own theatrical events.
The modern revival of theatrical productions at the Lamb in Eastbourne's original High Street revives a historic tradition at what was once the centre of the village's cultural and social life.
The 18th century extension of the original hostelry whose cellars date back to the 12th century was used as the Assembly Rooms of the village and theatrical productions were among the social activities which took place there. Notable amongst these were amateur dramatic productions in some of which Dickens participated.
The Blue Plaque on Pilgrims opposite - which is Eastbourne's oldest house and pre-dates the Lamb - records: "Charles Dickens made several visits to this ancient house in the 1830s." Two of his close friends were Holman Hunt the artist and Dickens who would join Egg at his summer retreat, Hunt coming over from his home in Fairlight and Dickens down from London.
Their common interest was amateur dramatics and they would rehearse their parts across the road at Pilgrims and then put on the plays either at the now disappeared theatre in South Street (taking their refreshment at the still existing Dickens Tea Rooms in South Street) or in the Assembly Rooms at the Lamb.
The theatre today
The theatre was revived in 2009, and had a regular programme of theatre events, usually on Sunday afternoons. Readings from authors such as Dickens, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare have been performed on numerous occasions.
- "Medieval History in Eastbourne". Eastbourne Borough Council.
- "Oldest town inn begins new life as theatre". Eastbourne Herald. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
- "The Lamb, Theatre and Dickens". The Lamb Theatre.
- "Charles Dickens Blue Plaque in Eastbourne, East Sussex". Geograph.
- "Colin Baker appears at the Lamb Theatre". Eastbourne Herald.