Roses Theatre

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Roses Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Founded 1973 (opened 1975)
Headquarters Tewkesbury, England, UK
Products Live Theatre, Cinema, Community
Number of employees
Website Roses Theatre

The Roses Theatre is an arts centre located in the centre of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England. Its main auditorium seats 375 and accommodates 35mm film / digital projection as well as live performance. It offers patrons a wide range of music, theatre, film and dance. The seating layout is based on "the Continental system" avoiding the loss of seats on the axis of the theatre.


The Roses Theatre stands on the site of the Sabrina Cinema - an art deco cinema which closed in the 1960s.[1]

Building work started in 1973 and, at that time, Romans remains were unearthed and the project was suspended whilst a full archaeological exploration of the site was conducted. This took some six months and, due to the poor nature of the medieval excavated material, large quantities of ballast were imported. However the project was completed 2 weeks ahead of a revised schedule in 1975, despite delays occasioned by a nation steel shortage.The theatre cost £300,000 to build[citation needed] and featured state-of-the-art sound, lighting and projection equipment. The fly tower is the third highest structure in Tewkesbury.[citation needed] The architects were The Preece Payne Partnership of Gloucester and the project Partner was Roger Payne, assisted by James Rendell.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, attended the Opening Gala, which took place on 30 October 1975.[citation needed]

The Roses Theatre was run as a council arts centre from 1975 to 1980 by the Courtyard Arts Trust. Since 1980, the theatre has been run by a number of different companies and organisations, which includes the Stennett Company (1980–1993) and the Crummels Theatre Company (1994–1995).


The Stennett Company, who ran the theatre from 1980, lost the fight to renew their lease of the theatre in 1993.[citation needed]

Tewkesbury Borough Council appointed a London-based theatre company, the Crummels Theatre Company. The theatre reopened in November 1994 after nearly a year of closure due to essential maintenance and refurbishment work. The gala reopening event included performances by Ned Sherrin, Michael Palin and Robert Lindsay.

Financial difficulties forced the Crummels Theatre Company into liquidation and, subsequently, the Roses Theatre closed in May 1995.

Charitable trust and reopening[edit]

Talks of forming a charitable trust to run the theatre had been circulating since the early 1990s when the lease of the theatre was available following the Stennett Company's run.[citation needed]

In 1995, the Roses Theatre Trust was formed, which won a 21-year licence to run the theatre from Tewkesbury Borough Council. The Roses Theatre reopened in 1996 with Robert Hamlin as Theatre Director. Previously, from 1980, Robert had been Director of the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. In 2006, Deborah Rees took over from Robert Hamlin as Director.[citation needed]

Eric Morecambe[edit]

The popular British comedian Eric Morecambe collapsed just off stage at the theatre after taking a final curtain call in May 1984. He never regained consciousness and died shortly afterwards at Cheltenham General Hospital.

The theatre remembers the comic legend by naming the theatres' conference room after him. The Eric Morecambe Room is used by local and national companies for conferences and meetings. The theatre has been featured in TV shows documenting his life and featured photographs of his final performance as well as interviews with Stan Stennett who was a friend of Eric Morecambe. Despite rumours, no video footage is known to exist of Eric Morecambe's final performance.

1989 Crossroads stageshow[edit]

In 1989 the Roses Theatre was transformed into the famous Crossroads Motel as part of the soap's 25th Anniversary.

Stan Stennett, manager of the Roses Theatre from 1980 to 1993, starred in Crossroads during the 1980s.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°59′45.5″N 2°9′17.5″W / 51.995972°N 2.154861°W / 51.995972; -2.154861