New theatre production celebrates the history of The Royal Clarence Hotel

Karen Chapman
Karen Chapman

Cygnet Theatre, together with Wren Music, will celebrate the history of Exeter’s much loved Royal Clarence Hotel with ‘Fire At The Clarence!’, a large-scale community production this autumn.

Playwright Mark Carey said, “Buildings hold something specific in their very fabric. To visit a house where a great person lived is to discover something about them that could never be described in a biography.

“This must have something to do with what has happened in these spaces. The walls must soak up something of the people who have spent time within them. So what happens when those walls burn? Where do those traces go when these buildings are destroyed?

“In October 2016 Exeter lost one of its most iconic buildings – the Royal Clarence Hotel. The reek of wet and smouldering plaster that filled the Cathedral Green that day was a smell not experienced since the Blitz. Now the first hotel in England is an empty shell. Or is it? Maybe, as the guests were led away to safety, the ghosts of those who had stayed in the hotel over hundreds of years rose up in the heat and walked away into the city.”

Mark Carey’s new play brings vivid life to the famous, infamous and little known characters who lived, worked, played and died at the Royal Clarence Hotel. ‘Fire At The Clarence!’ will be performed at Cygnet Theatre, Friars Gate, Exeter, EX2 4AZ and will run 31st October to 3rd November and 7th November to 11th November at 7:30pm daily, with an extra performance on 11th November at 2pm. Tickets are £10, £8 for children and £30 for a family ticket.

Cygnet Theatre has thirty years’ experience of helping young actors to develop their individual qualities. Actors joining Cygnet’s unique full-time professional training work as part of an ensemble (Cygnet Company), committed to public performances from day one. They learn from expert professionals as well as their peers and audiences. Graduates have gone on to work successfully for stage, film, TV and radio, form their own companies and found theatres.

Cygnet Theatre’s Three Year Professional Acting course is an ongoing developmental process.

Student actors learn technical skills and key approaches whilst playing increasingly demanding roles in front of a paying public. Students gain practical experience of various theatrical styles, including devising and new writing. Short courses are also run for those wanting to develop their stage or screen acting and the theatre school’s thriving youth theatre, Cygnet Youth Theatre, runs throughout the year to engage with school-age young people.

The theatre plays a key role in the region’s arts scene, supporting local artists to present their own work at the theatre and other professional venues in Exeter and on tour.

Visit and for further information and to book tickets or contact or 01392 277189.

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