Theatre group desperately in need of a helping hand

Theatre group desperately in need of a helping hand

By Adele Forrest | 04/06/2021

Theatre group desperately in need of a helping hand
L-R producer and director Jeff Tiler, chairman Chris Thorpe and technical manager John Hill


A THEATRE company is hoping to raise the roof of its historic home - before there’s a dramatic ending.

Wombwell Thespians Dramatic Society is in need of £26,000 to completely replace the 150-year-old roof at the Playhouse Theatre on Park Street.

The former Methodist chapel dates back to 1869 and was converted into a theatre in 1969, opening to the public four years later.

Jeff Tiler, fundraising co-ordinator, said: “Just before the Covid-19 pandemic started last year, we were told that our theatre needed a new roof as the original slates are now starting to disintegrate due to weathering over the past 150 years.

“Apart from us doing repairs and bits and pieces, it’s stood the test of time but it’s just crumbling away and needs a complete re-roof, including the timbers, to bring it up to modern standards.”

The renovation work will cost £36,000 and so far the group, which was set up in 1926, has raised £10,000, half of which has been donated from The Bernard Sunley Foundation.

“Being a self-funding group, the society does not hold large reserves as we have always used our income to keep the theatre open,” said Jeff, who has been a member for 40 years.

“This means that we need to seek grants from outside funding organisations.

“If anyone can help with details of possible sources of funding or would like to help the society in any way please contact us.”

In 2011, the theatre expanded to become a community theatre to two other groups, The Real Music Centre Theatre Company (RMC) and Breakaleg Productions, who present a mix of traditional and contemporary theatre. 

Performances are still scheduled to go ahead as the current roof is weather proof with Breakaleg returning to the stage in September and the Thespians returning in October with Ladies Day by Amanda Whittington.

In December, they will also bring The Wind in the Willows to the stage.

“We hope to start rehearsals again on June 22,” added Jeff.

“During the past year, we have taken the opportunity to make long-needed improvements to the theatre - both externally and internally. 

“The back and sides have been landscaped and virtually the whole of the building has been re-wired.  The dressing room has been redecorated at long last and new fire doors have been fitted.”

For more information or to donate to the roof repairs contact Jeff on 07508 566767.

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