Theatre ready to raise refurbished roof!

The roof before the repairsThe roof before the repairs
The roof before the repairs
AN AMATUER dramatics group is home and dry – literally – after donations from generous fundraisers helped finish a modernisation and repair project on its 150-year-old HQ.

The Playhouse Theatre, home of Wombwell Thespians, is a former Methodist Church dating from 1869 which suffered natural wear and tear over the decades.

The venue on Park Street was originally purchased for the Wombwell Thespians – who were founded in 1926 – by local business man P.J. Burke in 1969.

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The building was converted to a theatre which opened in 1973.

Jeff Tiler, the group's producer and director said: “The roof had been repaired several times but after a major repair in 2018 at a cost of £3,900, the contractor advised us that this was only a stop-gap measure and that a new roof was needed as the original slates were starting to disintegrate due to weathering over the past 150 years.

“This would make the building weather-proof, prevent further deterioration and bring the roof space up to current building regulations, including modern roof insulation, which would have the double benefit of reducing the theatre's on-going costs in heating and electricity and make the building more environmentally friendly for the future.

“Overall, we raised £25,500 of the eventual total cost of £42,500.

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“Thank you to M Hudson Roofing Ltd who carried out the work in the promised time-scale despite encountering an angry wasps' nest and working through several days of very wet weather!

“And I would like to re-iterate our grateful thanks to all those who have contributed financially to our project, especially The Bernard Sunley Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The Freshgate Trust, Barnsley Council Better Barnsley Bond and Captain Allott’s Trust.”

He added: “If we had not had the roof replaced then, I believe, there would have been major problems following the recent storms.”

Wombwell Thespians’ most recent production was 'Say It With Flowers', a comedy by Jane Thornton which had a three-night run last month.

Planned shows lined up for next year by the society include 'Hello ... Is There Any Body There?' a parody whodunnit by Ian Hornby in May.

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