Originally designed by John Johnson the theatre opened in 1875 and had a capacity for seating 2,500. Its stage, of mechanised timber is characteristic of Victorian theatres and is probably one of the earliest examples in English theatre with a facility for counterweight flying.
The theatre has had an extremely chequered past, in addition to its theatrical uses it has served as a cinema, a centre for Belgian refugees, part of a German internment camp and a BBC prop store.
Currently the theatre is undergoing a structural and compliance survey to ascertain its condition. Resulting from these works, a cost plan will be produced and a business case compiled to ascertain its viability for future use.
Although the theatre has been closed for many years, we occasionally open its doors to the public for viewing; as a safety precaution viewing of the theatre is seen from its foyer.