Scene Four: Growing Pains 2000-2020

The turn of the millenium brought a new set of challenges to the theatre. The "new" theatre was now thirty years old and beginning to show its age, after all it was intended as an agricultural building, not a public performance space. The roof was leaking, the heating inadequate and the toilets basic. To demolish the building and replace like with like would cost several hundreds of thousands of pounds and building regulations for public buildings and car parks are more demanding than thirty years ago and a simple replacement agricultural building would no longer be considered adequate. On the other hand, a fully equipped, properly built theatre could cost over a million pounds.

The only viable option appeared to be to sell all or part of the land and use the significant proceeds to build, buy, refurbish, lease or rent a new home on a new location. And so a decade of searching, frustration and dead-ends began. I have lost count of the number of options explored which we discounted or could not make work for us. Meanwhile, all but essential maintenance was carried out on the existing theatre as we expected to move at any minute, so the deterioration continued.

Can you help with missing dates or photos?

Last Tango in Little Grimley 2005
How The Other Half Loves 2009
'Allo 'Allo 2010
Little Shop of Horrors 2013
Hi-de-hi! 2014
Murdered to death 2015
Imagine me and you 2016
Time of my life 2018
Crazy Horses 2019
  • Last Tango in Little Grimley 2005
  • How The Other Half Loves 2009
  • 'Allo 'Allo 2010
  • Little Shop of Horrors 2013
  • Hi-de-hi! 2014
  • Murdered to death 2015
  • Imagine me and you 2016
  • Time of my life 2018
  • Crazy Horses 2019

In preparation for the potential move, and the need to apply for loans and grants, the Theatre became a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, overseen by trustees and a management committee, all of whom are unpaid volunteers. However, the financial crisis of 2008 was the final straw that dramatically reduced the value of the land. And so a decision was taken to refurbish, extend and improve the existing building where possible and a programme of works was initiated. This resulted in a new roof, complete rewiring, upgraded central heating, new youth changing rooms as well as a gantry for sound and light systems. Once the remedial work was complete, we turned our attention to extending the theatre with a new foyer to contain additional toilets, accessible entrance, disabled facilities and a youth workshop room. These improvements have cost nearly £200,000 and are thanks to the generosity of our members, audience and local organisations.

John Priddle digging the foundations for the new gallery (Aug 2015)
The new sound and lighting gallery (Aug 2015)
New gallery in production (Feb 2016)
The earthworks begin (Apr 2019)
Concrete foundation is laid (May 2019)
The building being assembled (May 2019)
No roof (Jun 2019)
The outside walls are finished (Sept 2019)
A doorway into the auditorium (Oct 2019)
The doorway gets larger (Oct 2019)
Internal concrete flooring (Dec 2019)
A basic shell (Jan 2020)
No internal walls (Jan 2020)
The internal walls under construction (May 2020)
  • John Priddle digging the foundations for the new gallery (Aug 2015)
  • The new sound and lighting gallery (Aug 2015)
  • New gallery in production (Feb 2016)
  • The earthworks begin (Apr 2019)
  • Concrete foundation is laid (May 2019)
  • The building being assembled (May 2019)
  • No roof (Jun 2019)
  • The outside walls are finished (Sept 2019)
  • A doorway into the auditorium (Oct 2019)
  • The doorway gets larger (Oct 2019)
  • Internal concrete flooring (Dec 2019)
  • A basic shell (Jan 2020)
  • No internal walls (Jan 2020)
  • The internal walls under construction (May 2020)

Previous page: Scene Three: Youth Theatre 1976-1999
Next page: Youth Theatre

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