The Upstairs Theatre has fixed seating for an audience of 210 and, while it is primarily a proscenium arch stage, it has also been adapted for thrust staging. This is where we stage many of our large-scale productions such as, "Into The Woods," and, "Anything Goes."
The Downstairs Theatre is a smaller, more intimate space, capable of seating up to 100 people. It combines the flexibility of an open space with an unusual sunken floor (the remains of a plunge bath) that allows for the creation of several levels. Both venues are used not only for College productions but also for IGCSE and A Level Drama & Theatre Studies. The Theatre also houses the ATV Room (Ampleforth Television) where everything from news reports to recordings of productions can be made.
More recently, our state of the art Performing Arts Centre has been built - a specialist studio with a sprung floor, dance bars, mirrored walls and professional theatre sound and lighting facilities. This is the perfect venue for Dance lessons and shows, as well as evening concerts and Music and Drama classes.
A Brief History:
In 1908 Mr Peter Feeny offered to build a theatre at Ampleforth and on 6th May 1909 the cornerstone was laid. The first recorded use of the theatre was on 27th July 1910 for a concert at which Fr Abbot distributed prizes. The first play in the New Theatre, as it was referred to, was the Nativity Mystery Play, performed at 4.30pm on 21st December 1910. On the evening of 14th June 1911 the Exhibition play was, for the first time, acted in the theatre.
The theatre also housed a plunge bath and changing rooms in its lower levels. In 1922 a cinema projector was acquired but could not be used in the theatre until 1923 when electric lighting and central heating was installed. In Lent term 1995 the first Inter- House drama competition took place.
The Green Room:
For those interested in the backstage running of the theatre, there is our Friday afternoon Green Room activity. Students help to build the sets, make props, rig lights and run the shows.
Alongside our regular attenders, additional students are drafted in at showtime to prepare make-up and costume. Our full time theatre technician, Michael, is on hand to provide technical support and expertise and encourage students in their projects.
The Green Room society is the more social side of the Theatre and also provides opportunities to work backstage for productions. The Green Room is open every Break and for a subscription of £7 a term members meet to eat biscuits, drink coffee and talk theatre. Members are expected to be involved with productions, in whatever capacity they most enjoy, throughout the rehearsal process and the show itself.
The Green Room have recently been building their biggest, most exciting sets yet. This is an exciting time to be part of our Theatre! Theatre Laurels are awarded in the Sixth Form to actors and members of the Green Room who have shown a sustained commitment to the Theatre and generously given not only their talent but also their time.
Ampleforth productions have included the following:
- Wind In The Willows
- Into The Woods
- The railway Children
- After Juliet
- The lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Cole Porter's Anything Goes
- An Ideal Husband
- Leave it to Psmith
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead