Theatre Royal Winchester celebrating 40th anniversary since re-opening
PUBLISHED: 09:55 18 September 2018
This year Winchester’s Theatre Royal celebrates the 40th anniversary of its re-opening as a performance theatre
The theatre is looking for past volunteers and previous staff members to invite them to a special reunion and celebration event on Thursday 1 November 2018, 40 years to the day since it re-opened.
The theatre’s building started life as The Market Hotel in 1850. In 1914 it became a cine-variety venue, converting to a full-time cinema in 1924. This cinema closed in 1974. Threatened with demolition an action group was formed comprising of six Winchester thespians that were anxious to save the building for use as permanent theatre. A charitable trust was formed and subsequently purchased the building in 1977. Theatre Royal Winchester was then opened the following year on 1 November 1978 by the esteemed actor/playwright Robert Morley.
Deryck Newland, Chief Executive comments: “It is important that this milestone in the theatre’s history is marked accordingly. It will be a great opportunity for those volunteers and staff who were instrumental in the early years to gather in the theatre to reminisce and celebrate their achievements whilst enjoying some entertainment. The evening will also look to the future and our plans for the building and wider organisation ensuring that the theatre is still here in another 40 years.”
Phil Yates, a founder member of the ‘gang of six’ that saved the building said: “I hope to meet up again with some of the staff and volunteers from the early years. It will be an evening full of nostalgia I am sure.”