Welcome From The Chairman
- Whether this is your first visit, or one of many, I would like on behalf of the “Council of Management” and the entire Company to wish you a very warm welcome, and I sincerely hope you enjoy your visit to our truly unique little theatre. The Archway Theatre, affectionately known as “The Arch” dates back to 1939, although it was not until 1952 that performances were given here in the Arches under the road to Horley railway station.
- A full history of our theatre can be found in the foyer and also on our fantastic web site, which has recently been updated: www.archwaytheatre.co.uk. If you have a computer or access to one I recommend you find time to browse the site and I guarantee you will be fascinated by what you will discover!
- I joined the theatre in 1965 and it has been my second home (my wife sometimes says it’s my first!) ever since. Once you walk through those doors, you’re hooked! I do not know where those 45 odd years have gone (with my hair, I suspect!) and therefore I find it difficult to believe that it was 23 years ago that we re-opened (after losing only one production) after completion of our major conversion and extension providing a new stage and backstage facilities as well as 30 additional seats.
- However as you are aware we never stand still, for to do so, you go backwards! So already as the majority of you appreciate, we have started to invest and develop our ‘millennium project’, part of which has been the development and refurbishment of our two additional arches as a function room and rehearsal space with kitchen (available for hire at reasonable rates!) and a Studio Theatre capable of seating up to 65. These are already in use providing additional events for you to enjoy.
- We have also obtained planning permission and building regulations to begin our major building
project, which will join the aforementioned additional arches to the main theatre complex. We have undertaken many fundraising
events towards the cost of this work, but still require major sponsorship money to push forward with our total vision; a model of
which is on display in the foyer.
- Over the past 56 years we have built a reputation for a varied programme of high quality productions providing a balanced menu of plays from modern to period, drama to comedy, Shakespeare to Panto with the odd musical thrown in! Our annual attendance by you our loyal club members of an average 92% suggests that our selection formula is reasonably correct.
- However, as I am sure you appreciate, we cannot please all of the people all of the time. We are not complacent and if you have
any suggestions to make concerning our choice of play programme please feel free to write to me at the theatre or leave your
comments in the book after the show.
Our repertory of 10 plays for 10 nights plus the additional millennium facility does stretch our ‘human resources’ (all of whom are unpaid volunteers) to the limit. So we are constantly seeking new members to assist with all aspects of the theatre, from front of house and bar, backstage & lighting, construction & painting and of course ‘treading the boards’.
- If you have or know somebody
who has a desire to become part of the ‘Company’, please contact our Company Membership Secretary (07767 883541 or
contact us) or pick up an application form in the foyer.
We are a leading member of the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain (a collection of approx 100 Amateur Theatres who either own or lease their own premises) and we were delighted during 2008 to welcome the Guild’s President, Sir Ian McKellen, to a performance of Sir Alan Ayckbourne’s trilogy “Damsels In Distress”, which was a fi rst for the Guild with 3 member companies (Lewes Little Theatre, Oast Theatre Tonbridge and ourselves) touring 3 separate plays linked by a common set, to each others Theatres! Sir Ian (having started his acting career in Amateur Theatre) was extremely impressed with the performances and in particular with our little theatre. He was also knocked out by the ambitious nature of the project commenting “This venture is the sort of thing that Professional Theatre would shun, but which Amateurs are not afraid to attempt”. Praise Indeed!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, once again welcome and thank you for your valued support, it is very much appreciated.
Chairman - Archway Theatre