The Astor Community Theatre is located in the seaside town of Deal on the East Kent coast; close to Canterbury, Dover and Sandwich. Today, The Astor is a unique, multi-purpose arts centre offering an eclectic mix of music, theatre, literary events, art exhibitions and films, as well as a range of classes and workshops which cater to all ages and tastes. The building itself, however, has a rich and varied history...

The land on which the theatre now stands was owned in the 18th and 19th Centuries by the Iggulden brothers; influential local land owners and frequent mayors of the town who were involved in shipping and brewing. They established Hills Brewery, which in 1901 Hills was sold to Thompson & Sons Brewery who closed it and the site was bought by Steed Bayley and Arthur Wise for re-development. Stanhope Road first appears in the 1906 Deal Street directory with the terrace of 11 houses and the General Post Office built opposite. The Stanhope Hall opened in December 1906 and appears in the 1907 edition of the Deal street directory. Initially, the hall was used for celebrations and business alike; hosting entertainment, meetings, and receptions including concerts and shows when bad weather hit the Pier Theatre. The space was also used as a roller-skating rink and in 1921 renamed the Winter Gardens Theatre before being refurbished in 1928. 

The Team

James Tillitt is artistic director of The Astor Theatre, which he brought back into operation as a focal point for Deal and East Kent's artistic community 10 years ago.
Simon is the General Manager at The Astor
Leigh is the Box Office Manager at The Astor, having joined us in March 2019 following a life long career spent in local estate agency. She is thrilled to be part of the team at the Community Theatre – she feels it really it the heart of the town and particularly as a great meeting place for newcomers to Deal and locals alike. Leigh was born in...
Lucia handles all Events bookings at The Astor; from weddings to corporate hires. Born and raised in Belfast, Lucia graduated from Queens’ University and, following a brief flirtation with journalism, she left Northern Ireland to begin her drama training at RADA in London. Lucia has worked extensively across the UK and Europe on stage and on...

Testimonials

  • The Astor is a unique place, theatre and meeting place.. Professionals mingle with amateurs and locals. It has wide ranging facilities for diverse activities. The management are helpful and friendly. It is a lovely place to perform watch participate.
  • We held our wedding reception here on 22 June with a live band and had the most amazing night! We wanted something relaxed and fun and that's exactly what we got. The separate bar area meant there was room to mingle and chat while the theatre area looked amazing with the lighting and had plenty of room to dance - we danced our socks off! Staff were great, putting out food, making sure people had drinks and security on the door ensured only our guests came in. I could not fault the "techie" guys who helped the band set up and made sure the sound was good all night. We had so many lovely compliments from our guests on both the band and the venue - totally made our night. The venue is centrally located and easy to get to using public transport. There is ample parking nearby in the evening and there are plenty of places to stay overnight nearby if you have travelled. I would recommend this venue for a large party with a live band.
  • A jewel in this thriving seaside town Such a genuinely wonderful theatre, bar restaurant, art gallery, tucked away in the up and coming seaside town
  • Always a warm welcome from Team Astor and patrons of your delightful little theatre and a privilege to play such a well run and much loved venue.’Use it or lose it’ is a phrase I always bandy about but we need people to pack out theatres like the Astor so that we can carry on the great tradition of LIVE! entertainment and encourage young people to enjoy it as we have always done.
  • The Astor Theatre is a central pillar of culture in Deal. Historically and currently, the theatre has served the community and beyond with vision and dignity. The outreach work and community engagement is exemplary and as a visiting performer I have always been welcomed with support and kindness. Long may the Astor continue to shine a light on the Kent coast, a beacon of theatre, film, music, performance and more.