For many people, the Conquest Theatre has become a lifeline, offering social interaction in a comfortable, safe environment, together with the opportunity to see the arts at a reasonable cost without significant travel. As a result, the theatre and its programme of activities has become a vital part of their social lives.
The current theatre building opened in December 1991 at a cost of a little over £250,000.
As a flourishing venue the Conquest Theatre’s amateur drama group has a membership of approximately 50 people drawn from all age groups. There is also an active Youth Theatre that has about 40 members aged between 5 and 18. Local people are actively encouraged to engage with activities around theatre, whether acting, directing, producing, costume-making, prop-making, creating scenery etc.
The Conquest Theatre is now bursting at its seams. We have recently received enquiries regarding regular singing groups, performing and circus act workshops and are looking to encourage regular Jazz and Blues musical evenings showcasing local and visiting talent. We have not been able to satisfy any of these, but this demonstrates that there is a need for the sort of space we want to build. Looking to the future, we concluded that:
- Currently the theatre’s auditorium seats 150 people and has the supporting areas of foyer, dressing rooms and workshop.
- Productions by the Theatre’s in-house amateur drama group, which has been nurtured and supported in recent years, have grown to such an extent that they now require more space and facilities.
- The foyer area does not have sufficient space by modern standards. The bar and coffee bar have poor facilities and separate locations in the premises but with updating and improvement have the potential to raise further income to support other activities in the theatre.
In the future we would like to deliver:
- 225 seats (up from 150)
- Provide an additional rehearsal area similar to the current stage space which can be operated separately from the remainder of the Theatre.
- Extend and rejuvenate the foyer area to offer a more open and welcoming environment. We would reposition and integrate the bar and café facilities.
Overall this would mean that there is plenty of space to socialise and meet the expectations of a modern audience.
£450,000 investment will deliver our vision
Allocating £75,000 of our retained funds for the project will still leave us money for additional fittings once the extension is complete. Local fundraising by members of the theatre is ongoing and we are confident that we will add in excess of £10,000 to this figure within the next twelve months.
We need £365,000 by donation / sponsorship