Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre
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|Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre|
The exterior from Broad Street
|Location||Spain Lane, Boston, Lincolnshire, England|
|Designated||27 March 1949|
Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centree is Grade II* listed. The two-storey building was the refectory of a Dominican friary that was "heavily restored and altered" in 1963 when an eastern gable was rebuilt with casement windows added. The interior retains a 17th-century staircase, although not in its original position. Pevsner describes the building as a 90 feet (27 m) long "Friars Hall", running on an east to west axis with its upper floor previously the refectory. At the Suppression of the Monasteries material from the Friary was used to repair sea walls.
Blackfriars Friary was formed some time during the 13th Century. The first written record is from 1288 when it was noted that the friary had been rebuilt after being destroyed by fire. In 1300 the friary housed a total of 29 friars. The surviving building was converted into a theatre in 1965.
The Centre's first professional director was appointed in 1980, and today a theatre manager is assisted by box office, administration, front of house and bar volunteers. It comprises a theatre with a 230-seat auditorium, a foyer gallery, a revue bar, and an art studio.
In its heyday[when?] the arts centre provided art classes, including night classes in still life, life drawing, screen printing, needlework and photography. It included various residences[clarification needed] and numerous outreach workers throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Groups which used the arts centre included the Boston Playgoers, Wyberton Theatrical Society, Boston Operatic, Strolling Players, Boston Youth Theatre (later adopted by Blackfriars as its own BYTe), Boston Jazz Club, Boston Folk Club, Boston Children's Theatre, and a Saturday dance class. Some still use the Centre occasionally for performance and events. Recent performances have included tribute acts and community-led theatre.
The building hosts occasional exhibitions, performances, workshops, classes and activities, art exhibitions, including that by Craig Kerrecoe, and talks by public figures, including Ann Widdecombe. It runs a children's theatre festival during school holidays.
Stump Radio was established at the centre with help from Spalding's Tulip Radio, and broadcast during July and August 2006, and in 2007. The station is now Endeavour FM, presenting news, music and community events through local presenters.
- Historic England. "Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston (1389013)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Harris, John; The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire p. 474; Penguin, (1964); revised by Nicholas Antram (1989), Yale University Press. ISBN 0300096208
- Cox, J. Charles (1916) Lincolnshire p. 74; Methuen & Co. Ltd.
- Burton, Melanie; "Plaza will set the scene: Blackfriars – a theatre in dreamland"; Lincolnshire Life, April 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012
- Bale, Bernard; "Peter Pan"; The Stage Reviews, 3 January 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012
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