Prince Philip Opening Hero



Named for HRH Prince Phillip The Duke Of Edinburgh, the Princes Hall, Aldershot is a multi purpose centre in Aldershot, Hampshire, owned and managed by Rushmoor Borough Council.

The main auditorium can currently seat 595 in a 'terraced' seating layout or over 800 for a standing concert. An additional 3 function rooms named the Princes Suite, the Edinburgh Suite and the Tichbourne Suite (after the prominent Aldershot family) are available for hire for conference, parties and weddings.

HRH Prince Phillip The Duke Of Edinburgh formally opened the building on Thursday 22nd May 1973.

Prince Phillip announced the opening of the building with the words:

"I'm sure this centre will be a tremendous success...but I can't help feeling that you should all now jump up and start dancing. In case there's any doubt - the place is now open."


This footage was graciously provided by Princes Hall regular, Clare, who was one of two lucky local school children who took part in the opening ceremony, and can be seen in the video with her teacher walking into the venue, alongside other dignitaries.

The very first concert at the venue was actually in October 1972, six months before the official opening, where Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen performed to a sell out audience. 

Princes Hall Foyer in 1989

The theatre has since built up quite a hall of fame, welcoming a host of actors, comedians and singers to tread the boards. Little & Large, The Krankies, Val Doonican, Barbara Dickson, Danny La Rue, Lenny Henry, Norman Wisdom, Des O'Connor and Alvin Stardust are also some of the names who brought their shows to the venue during the 80s and 90s.

The Hollies, Jane McDonald, Jools Holland, Joan Armatrading and Katherine Jenkins. It has also attracted many top name comedians including Jimmy Carr, Frank Skinner, Rhod Gilbert, Sarah Millican, Lee Mack, Al Murray, Harry Hill and, of course, the legendary Ken Dodd, appears throughout the early 2000s.

The Princes Hall was originally designed as a civic venue to be used by the council for hosting formal and mayoral events. An unusual design with the main auditorium on the first floor and small meeting rooms beneath created an impressive staircase and entrance. The Princes Hall stands on the corner of Wellington Avenue and Princes Way (formally Barrack Road) originally the site of Warburg Barracks, which then gave its name to the Warburg multi-storey car park, replaced by the Westgate Leisure complex in 2012.

An extensive refurbishment occurred between 1989 and 1990 and bought the Princes Hall into the layout you see today.

Building Work at the Princes Hall, Aldershot, 1985

The ground floor was extended out under the first floor to create more space, until now these areas had been used for parking and storage; the building appeared to float on concrete piers. The toilets were moved from the first (what is now the foyer bar) to the ground floor and enlarged. The two small rooms were also extended to form the two function rooms; the Princes & Tichbourne Suites. The backstage area was redeveloped from the original caretakers flat, by extending and enlarging to include two workshops, new dressing rooms a backstage area and for the first time a stage door and lift.

Until this point all set, scenery, props and equipment used in any shows were bought in up through the main entrance, up the main steps at the front of the building.

The Princes Hall was re-opened on 17th December 1990 by the then Mayor of Rushmoor Cllr AM Ferrier.

For a short period during 1990 the Princes Hall was renamed 'Princes', but due to public demand quickly returned to its original name.

Held nearly every year since the early 1970s the Princes Hall pantomime has proven to be a hit with all ages young and old. Legendary entertainers Clive Dunn, Tommy Trinder and Harry H. Corbett all appeared in pantomimes at the theatre in early years, with "Aldershot pantomime legend" Robert Hopkins producing and starring in the Princes Hall pantomimes since 1994. The Princes Hall prides itself on producing a pantomime that's magical and enchanting and fun for all ages.

Many additional improvements including automatic doors, more comfortable and automatic terraced seating, new motorised fly bars over the stage and the redecoration of the auditorium, bar and suites were made between the 2000 and 2010. The Princes Hall has also benefited from an increased programme of events including many famous names, such as Ken Dodd, Jools Holland, Joe Pasquale, Tony Christie and many more. During May 2006 the Princes Hall hosted its first ever ice show, Snow White ON ICE featuring the Russian Ice Stars and over 14 tonnes of crushed ice on the stage.

Whilst all theatres were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Princes Hall hosted the local food hub, and from 2021 to 2023 the local vaccination centre; helping with the task of giving in excess 95,000 immunisations.

40th Anniversary 2013

From the 22nd May to 1st June 2013 we held an exhibition of memorabilia from the past 40 years, taken from the Princes Hall archives.

40th anniversary of Princes Hall logo

With over 100,000 people flocking through its doors every year, the Princes Hall has never been more popular.

David Phillips, Theatre Manager said, "The Princes Hall holds a special place in the hearts of many local people. The exhibition of memorabilia from our archives will give people the chance to have a stroll down memory lane".

For more information on the general history of the Princes Hall, visit our History page or take a look at our pantomime archives.

40th Anniversary Exhibition


50th Anniversary 2023


On 22nd May, to mark our 50th anniversary, the Mayor of Rushmoor, Councillor John Marsh was the guest of honour at a tree planting ceremony.

50th anniversary of Princes Hall logo

Two delightful Cercis Canadensis trees are now part of the Princes Hall landscape, and stand proudly either side of the War Memorial at the front of the building.

Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Operational Services, Councillor Maurice Sheehan said:

“The fact that the Princes Hall is still going strong half a century on is a testament to those who had the vision to bring a top class venue to Aldershot, and to the many people who have worked so hard to keep it successful for all these years. For many local people it is the first place they go when looking for quality entertainment for the whole family.”

For more information on the general history of the Princes Hall, visit our History page or take a look at our pantomime archives.