The Questors Theatre

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The Questors Theatre
Address 12 Mattock Lane, London W5 5BQ
London
 United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°30′42″N 0°18′35″W / 51.51156°N 0.3097°W / 51.51156; -0.3097
Type Non-professional community theatre
Capacity 400 (Playhouse) 100 (Studio)
Construction
Opened 1929
Rebuilt 1964
Website
www.questors.org.uk

The Questors Theatre is a theatre venue and educational institution located in the London Borough of Ealing, west London. It is home of the Questors, the largest non-professional theatre company in Europe which hosts a season of around twenty productions a year and a member of the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain.

Activities[edit]

The Questors Theatre was founded in 1929 [1] by a group of 17 performers and – pursuing an adventurous artistic policy led by founder Alfred Emmet – has grown into a vibrant non-professional theatre company with a membership (as of 2013) of around 3,000. Around 600 of this number are actors, backstage technical crew and front-of-house staff, and a further 500 are active within the Questors Youth Theatre and student groups. The Questors Academy offers short courses in all aspects of theatre, a technical BA (Hons) in Theatre Production and continues to provide the prestigious part-time acting foundation course based on the teachings of Constantin Stanislavski for entry to Drama School as it has done since the late 1940s.

Site[edit]

The current Questors Theatre building was opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1964, replacing the previous theatre building which had been converted from an old church; and the new theatre's adaptable configuration was one of the first in a new wave of thrust stage theatres in Britain.[2] The site also contains a studio theatre (the Constantin Stanislavsky Room, built as a rehearsal room in 1960 and converted into a studio theatre in 1968), three rehearsal rooms (the Bernard Shaw Room built in 1958; the Michael Redgrave Room, opened in 1968, converted from part of the original Mattock Lodge; and the Alfred Emmet Room built in 1998), a scenery workshop, and a members' bar (The Grapevine, opened in 1959, converted from part of Mattock Lodge).[3]

History[edit]

The original building on the site, Mattock Lodge, is a house dating from the early 1850s, owned from around 1895 by Father O'Halloran who built a small church on the land behind the house, and on his death willed all the property to a Miss Ann Webb as life tenant, who then lived in the house with her sister.[4] In 1933 the Questors Conmpany, looking for a permanent venue, were invited to share the old church premises by the Ealing Boy Scouts.[5] By 1938, the Questors took over as the sole users of the church building and, following the death of Miss Webb, bought the freehold of the complete site on 25 April 1952 for £8,500.[6]

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead[edit]

In October 1964, the Questors was the venue for the first incarnation of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, directed by Stoppard himself with Stuart McCabe and Peter Whelan as the protagonists. It was a short one-act play in a showcase with four other pieces. [7]

Coarse acting[edit]

Writer Michael Green drew upon his experiences as an acting member of the Questors (from 1953) when he wrote his book The Art of Coarse Acting (published 1964) which he dedicated to the Questors.[8] In 1972, the Questors hosted the World Coarse Acting Championship, and then took The Coarse Acting Show to the 1977 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and The Coarse Acting Show 2 to the 1979 Festival Fringe.[9] The Coarse Acting Show 2 subsequently transferred to the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, where it was visited by HRH The Prince of Wales.[10] In 1984, the Questors presented the Third Great Coarse Acting Show at the Questors Theatre (which was again visited by HRH The Prince of Wales), and in 1988 took Coarse Acting Strikes Back to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[11]

Presidents[edit]

Among those who accepted an invitation between 1930 and 1944 to serve as the Questors' Presidents were Robert Atkins, Ion Swinley, Ben Webster, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies and Margaret Webster.[12] Subsequent presidents have been:[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Evans et al.
  2. ^ Evans et al.
  3. ^ Evans et al.
  4. ^ Evans et al.
  5. ^ Evans et al.
  6. ^ Evans et al.
  7. ^ http://archive.questors.org.uk/prods/1964/berlinplays/page.html
  8. ^ Evans et al.
  9. ^ Evans et al. & the Questors Theatre archive
  10. ^ Evans et al.
  11. ^ Evans et al. & the Questors Theatre archive
  12. ^ Evans et al.
  13. ^ Evans et al.

References[edit]

  • Evans, G et al. (1989). A Few Drops of Water: The Story of the Questors Theatre 1929–1989.

External links[edit]