Chorley Theatre opens new studio space nearly four years in the making

Nearly four years in the making Chorley Theatre has opened a new studio space for the community.

By Emma Downey
Friday, 19th November 2021, 10:55 am

The grand opening of the space took place on Wednesday and the Mayor of Chorley, Councillor Steve Holgate and Libby Burke, who is set to Direct a production of Macbeth in the theatre in March 2022, were on hand to cut the ribbon.

Seating up to 100 people with a bar area and toilets the studio sits next door to the theatre on the site of a former Indian restaurant and will play host to special events, rehearsals, community groups, music, plays and comedy.

Ian Robinson, Operations Director at Chorley Theatre, said: “This a great new room that will add to the events we offer, and to Chorley in general. It’s taken nearly four years to get open, with the last 18 months being a particular struggle.

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Chorley theatre ribbon cutting (L-R main): Alistair Bradley (Leader of Chorley Council), Ian Robinson (Operations Director at Chorley Theatre), Lesley Duckworth (CADOS President), Libby Burke (Director of upcoming Macbeth production), Mayor of Chorley (Councillor Steve Holgate), Zoe Jones (Director of upcoming pantomime, The Snow Queen), Rebecca Moran (actress, lead in The Snow Queen). All others are cast members of up coming pantomime, The Snow Queen.

“We’d like to thank everyone who supported the project, especially Chorley Council, and those who made donations in recent months. We look forward to being able to stage more exciting events and provide even more opportunities for local talent to perform in front of Chorley audiences.”

Chorley Council supported the expansion as part of its investment into the local economy and creative arts by purchasing the derelict unit allowing for the Theatre to occupy the space.

Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council said, “We’re thrilled to have supported the expansion of the Chorley Theatre and it was great to be a part of the grand opening. To have such a vibrant and diverse venue in the town is a wonderful asset and people across the borough have been enjoying performances for generations.

“As a Council we are committed to investing in our local community and to support our local economy to thrive.

Chorley Theatre.

“I look forward to seeing how the Theatre uses its new studio space and encourage everyone check out the venue’s up-coming productions.”

The historic Chorley Theatre on Dole Lane first opened its doors in 1910 as a picture house and has been operated by the award-winning Chorley Amateur Dramatic & Operatic Society (CADOS) since the 1960s. They have always staged at least six productions a year at the venue and will now be adding at least four plays in the new Studio.

It is also the home of Chorley Youth Theatre who meet every Saturday, putting on shows throughout the year; and Chorley Empire Cinema, with regular film screenings making the building one of the oldest still-operating purpose-built cinemas in the world.

Over the last decade it has built a reputation for comedy with shows by Jason Manford and John Bishop among others, becoming a regular stop for touring shows.

Chorley Theatre.

The Theatre is run by volunteers, with famous former members including Steve Pemberton, from the League of Gentlemen, and Barry Mason, composer of Delilah.