The Playhouse, Cheltenham

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The Playhouse Theatre Cheltenham is a community theatre in Cheltenham, United Kingdom. It is a registered charity and has been run by volunteers since 1957. Built in 1806 by Henry Thompson[disambiguation needed], the theatre started life as the Montpellier Baths. The building was converted to a swimming pool in 1898 and then to a theatre in 1945.

History[edit]

In 1945, the Cheltenham Council realised the town’s lack of theatrical facilities, and converted the swimming pool into a theatre. The council funded the services of the front of house staff, the cashier and box office facilities and all the publicity. A consultant producer and resident stage manager were also provided at the council's expense to assist the amateur groups, although the production requirements and expenses remained the responsibility of the societies.

In April 1945, the first play was performed - Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw.

On the 5th April 1950, the theatre suffered a major setback when the auditorium was severely damaged by fire. The repair work was evidently undertaken with speed and The Playhouse was only closed for five months. However, the fire destroyed part of one of the theatre’s balconies (which were formerly viewing balconies for the swimming pool) and this was not restored until 2007.

In 2007, the theatre was flooded twice within the space of five weeks, along with many other parts of the UK. Only two performances had to be cancelled.

In 2008, the auditorium and green room underwent a £340,000 refurbishment, half the funding of which came from Cheltenham Borough Council, together with additional donations from the Summerfield Charitable Trust, Trefoil Trust, a generous bequest from a founder member, several of the resident non-professional companies and the charities own fundraising efforts.

Montpellier Baths[edit]

In 1716, the first Mineral springs were discovered in Cheltenham, transforming it into a spa. 1806 saw the opening of the Montpellier Baths built by Henry Thompson[disambiguation needed]. It boasted 14 warm baths, fitted with marble and Dutch tile, one large cold bath plus smaller ones and a boiler capable of heating up to 190°F.[1]

Recent productions[edit]

Resident societies[edit]

  • Ad Hoc Theatre Co
  • Deep End Theatre Company
  • Theatre Studio
  • The Playhouse Company

Companies[edit]

The following companies have presented work at The Playhouse:

  • Ad Hoc Theatre Co
  • Canvas Theatre Company (Professional Training)
  • Celtic Circle (Irish Dancing)
  • Cheltenham Children's Theatre Association
  • Cheltenham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CODS)
  • Deep End Theatre Company
  • Dreamshed Theatre Company (professional)
  • Focus Theatre Company (professional)
  • Friends Theatre Company
  • Jacob's Well Productions
  • Theatre Studio
  • The Cotswold Savoyards
  • The Playhouse Company

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°53′48″N 2°04′27″W / 51.896805°N 2.074265°W / 51.896805; -2.074265