The Americans are coming! To help The Stables celebrate 60 glorious years

Volunteers are helping the public to mark an important milestone in the history of Stables Theatre writes Lynda Foy.

They are selling T-shirts, bottles of wine and other memorabilia to highlight the Diamond Jubilee of the Stables Theatre and Arts Centre in The Bourne. The 60th anniversary in June will also be celebrated by the visit of the Chicago Heights Drama Group to stage The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, by John Bishop.

The American theatre company and the Stables  launched an exchange programme 20 years ago and, since then, they have visited each other several times.

Stables volunteers (12)
Volunteers John Tudgay, Veronica Sceal, and Gill Jenks, left, with Golden Jubilee T shirts and programmes advertising the Chicago Drama Group’s production at the Stables Theatre.

Tickets for the Chicago group’s latest production on June 21st and 22nd and from June 26th to June 29th, are on sale at the Stables’ box office and selling well.

Gill Jenks, from the  theatre’s wardrobe department, said:  “If people become members then they get tickets at a reduced price. It’s excellent value for theatre tickets and there is a very high standard of shows here.”

The theatre offers a wide range of comedy, drama and youth productions, with its art gallery showing a variety of exhibitions, she added.

Box office worker John Tudgay says local people can book functions and events at the theatre and gallery.   

Veronica  Sceal,  a box office worker,  said:  “The theatre is now covering all aspects of performance. We have a lot of semi-professional people working here and the standard is very high. Owning our own theatre is a great advantage for us.”

The 125-seat theatre, originally a stable block dating from 1746, was in danger of being demolished in the 1950s until the Old Hastings Preservation Society stepped in. With support from the Georgian Society, the building was listed for its historic and architectural value.

Stables 1959
Dramatic transformation: The Stables Theatre, Hastings, in the 1950s and how the theatre looks today below.

Stables 2019

With help from Dick Perkins, a member of the Hastings and District Theatre Guild, the Stables Trust Limited was founded to convert the building into a theatre. It was opened by Sir Ralph Richardson on June 16th, 1959, and the building has been extensively expanded since then.

Diamond Jubilee events include a Jubilee service on June 30th at All Saints’ Church, Hastings Old Town, at 4pm and a Family Fun Day on August 18th from noon to 3pm. Other events include the Little Theatre Guild Conference, hosted at the Stables from September 20th to 22nd.

A LittleTheatre Gala Night will be held on September 21st with another Gala Night scheduled for November 22nd, the last night’s performance of Joking Apart by Alan Ayckbourn.     

More details about membership, tickets prices and souvenirs from the box office on 01424 423221 or http://www.stablestheatre.co.uk

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