History of BOAT

In April 2013 Brighton playwright and construction manager, Adrian Bunting, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died in May 2013, aged 47. In his final days Adrian threw his efforts into realising a long held ambition; the creation of a permanent open-air theatre for the city he loved. Adrian identified the perfect site, the redundant bowling green in Dyke Road Park, drew up designs and left his life savings of £18,000 to kick-start the project. Shortly before he passed away he asked four friends – Steve Turner, Claire Raftery, James Payne and Donna Close – if they would see his dream through.

Working with supporters and partners, Adrian’s friends negotiated the design and planning process, established Brighton Open Air Theatre as a charity and ensured an additional £100,000 was raised through stand-up comedy benefits, an art auction and many hugely generous individual donations. In October 2014 planning permission was granted. Construction began in January 2015.

BOAT was formally opened by Adrian’s Mother; Isobelle Bunting, on the 9th May 2015, almost two years to the day after Adrian passed away.

Since its opening in 2015 BOAT has gone from strength to strength. Over 10,000 people have visited the theatre and it is now well established as part of Brighton and Hove’s cultural landscape. In its third year BOAT will welcome 40 different local national and international companies with over 100 performances.

BOAT’s story touches the hearts of all those who hear it. It is testimony to the power of friendship and collective goodwill. That ‘BOAT spirit’ is perfectly crystallised in the amazing work of its volunteers. Both front of house and backstage they work tirelessly to ensure BOAT remains a magical place to be.

As BOAT’s voyage continues it’s vital that people are encouraged to share in the journey. If you’re interested in being a part of the crew, in any shape or form, please get in touch via brightonopenairtheatre@gmail.com

If you would like to make a donation that would also be gratefully received.

MENU