New Mills Theatre Breathes New Life into Historic Building

Photographs have been released of the Art Theatre in New Mills, High Peak following a £46,000 refurbishment.

The restoration delivered largely by volunteers includes the installation of London’s famous West End, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane seats.

Drury Lane seats

More than 1800 volunteer hours were calculated over a 11-week programme including 100 rolls of wallpaper and 80 litres of paint. In addition to this, the fitting of new carpet featuring the Art Theatre logo (360 m2), new safety flooring (200 m2), new skirting and dado rails (120 m2) and a new heating system.

Announced early in January, New Mills Art Theatre was one of three chosen venues to be gifted the iconic comfy golden seats from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. To mark this occasion and to celebrate 60 years of managing and wholly funding the building, the Directors of New Mills Art Theatre Ltd embarked on a project to transform the auditorium into a warm and welcoming public building for all of New Mills and District to enjoy.

The first theatre to be built on the site was the New Mills Hippodrome, which opened in June 1911. The theatre closed in April 1921 and reopened in August 1921 as the ‘Art Picture Playhouse’. It was commissioned by local theatrical entrepreneurs Messrs. Walters and Law, who had been granted planning permission for their ambitious proposals which had been drawn up by the northern theatre specialist, Albert Winstanley [1876-1943]. The choice of the new name was significant and of the moment. The reconstruction took place whilst cinema was still ‘silent’ but aspiring to bigger and better artistic aspirations.

Today, New Mills Art Theatre continues to promote a variety of programmes serving local community groups and semi-professional acts. The theatre provides a public service at no cost to the public purse.

Next month they are the home for the High Peak Independent Film Festival (12-16 June) and the Musical “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” (21-23 June) by Bowden Theatre Works in association with New Mills AODS.

Audiences will also be delighted to see a programme of events throughout the year including clairvoyant David Holt, Freedom!’19 – a George Michael tribute concert, Pinked Floyd – a Pink Floyd tribute act, a week’s run of performances by New Mills AODS with the Musical “The Sound of Music” and a one night performance from comedian and actor Dave Spikey. Announced last week, the 2020 pantomime to be performed by Friends of the Art Theatre will be Hansel & Gretel. See facebook @newmillstheatre for more details.

Beverley Eaves, Director of New Mills Art Theatre, said: “It puts a whole new outlook on getting bums on seats. It’s all about team work and making the Art Theatre accessible to a future generation for another 60 years”.

She added, “The theatre is loved and run entirely by volunteers. This kind of asset delivers high public worth and deserves to be supported wherever and how ever possible”.

You can help New Mills Art Theatre by being a Theatre Supporter and/or a member of New Mills AODS. Look out for their Sponsor a Seat initiative which will offer the public a chance to name a seat by way of support. Photo credit: Mike Petch

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