Roses Theatre

Roses Theatre

Infobox Company
company_name = The Roses Theatre
company_type = Arts and Entertainment
foundation = 1974 (opened 1975)
location = Tewkesbury, UK
key_people =
industry =
products = Live Theatre, Cinema, Community
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees = 50+
parent =
subsid =
homepage = [ Roses Theatre]

The Roses Theatre is an art-house cinema and live performance venue located in the centre of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England. Its main auditorium seats 375 and accommodates 35mm film / digital projection as well as live performance. It offers patrons a wide range of music, theatre, film and dance.


The Roses Theatre stands on the site of the Sabrina Cinema - an art deco cinema which closed in the 1960s.

The first plans for building an arts venue in Tewkesbury came about after a successful arts festival in the town during the early 1970s.

Work started on "Tewkesbury Film Theatre" in 1974 and opened as "The Roses Theatre" in October 1975 by Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne.

The Roses Theatre has been run by a number of Directors including Stan Stennett (from the TV soap "Crossroads") from 1980 to 1993 and under the "Roses Theatre Trust"; Robert Hamlin (former Director of Coventry's Belgrade Theatre) and currently Deborah Rees (former Director of Worcester's Swan Theatre)

Eric Morecambe

The popular British comedian Eric Morecambe collapsed in Dressing Room 1 at the theatre after taking a final curtain call in May 1984. He died shortly afterwards at Cheltenham General Hospital.

The theatre remembers the comic legend by naming the theatres' conference room after him. The Eric Morecambe Room is used by local and national companies for conferences and meetings. The theatre has been featured in TV shows documenting his life and featured photographs of his final performance as well as interviews with Stan Stennett who was a friend of Eric Morecambe. Despite rumours, no video footage is known to exist of Eric Morecambe's final performance.

Early 1990s Decline and Closures

Declining audience numbers around 1991 meant that Stan Stennett's lease of the theatre was not renewed by Tewkesbury Borough Council. The last feature film to be shown was Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 1993.

A new lease holder, the Crummles Theatre Company, was appointed by the Borough Council in 1993 and oversaw an extensive refurbishment of the theatre. The theatre re-opened in November of that year with a Gala event; performers that evening included Ned Sherrin, Michael Palin and Robert Lindsay. The new leaseholders succeeded in reversing the decline in audience numbers, and attendances for theatre productions, cinema showings, concerts, comedy and cabaret events grew significantly over the succeeding 18 months.

However financial problems forced Crummles Theatre Company into liquidation and in May 1995 Roses Theatre closed its doors after 20 years of business.

Re-Opening and The Roses Theatre Trust

There were strong protests against closure of the theatre, with campaigns on the streets of Tewkesbury and Gloucester and considerable media coverage by Severn Sound, Radio Wyvern, The Gloucestershire Echo, BBC Midlands Today and ITV Central News. The theatre was left closed for one year until The Roses Theatre Trust was formed by a small group of local businessmen in 1995 with the sole aim of saving the theatre. This proved successful, and the new Roses Theatre was opened in May 1996 for a trial run during the half-term holiday. Shortly afterwards the theatre was re-launched as a full time venue; this included a return to the theatre in January 1997 by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, who had opened the theatre 21 years previously.

In January 2006 Robert Hamlin, who was Theatre Director from its' re-launch in 1996, stepped down as Director after 10 fantastic years. Deborah Rees took on the role as Director in 2006. Previously, Deborah was Artistic Director of Worcester's Swan Theatre.

Upgrade to facilities

In 2001, Future Projections installed a new Dolby SR Processor replacing the original Westrex sound system. In 2006, The Roses Theatre installed new 35mm projection equipment that replaced the original Westrex/Westar Projector that has been in use at The Roses Theatre since it's opening and at The Sabrina Cinema. The Roses Theatre also installed a digital projector and joined the Digital Screen Network, together with Dolby Digital Surround Sound. This upgrade was made possible through a grant from the Arts Council and audience donations.

The Roses Theatre has also received another grant to replace the sound and lighting equipment within the theatre.

The Roses Theatre Pantomime

Since 1996, the Roses Theatre has staged an annual pantomime, running from the start of December until mid-January. There are two shows each day, and no film screenings take place during this period. It is written specially for The Roses Theatre by Ian Lauchlan and Will Brenton, the creators of Children's BBC's Tweenies and Playdays. Between 1996 and 2006 the pantomime was directed by the Roses Theatre's Manager, Robert Hamlin. The Roses' pantomime does not cast celebrities; instead, they cast professional actors and a chorus of teenagers living within Tewkesbury and the surrounding areas.

Crossroads stage show (1989)

In 1989 the Roses Theatre was transformed into the famous Crossroads Motel as part of the soap's 25th Anniversary.

Stan Stennett, manager of The Roses Theatre from 1980 to 1993, starred in Crossroads during the 1980s.

Pictures of The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ Go behind the scenes with BBC Gloucestershire as the Roses Theatre prepares for Christmas 07]
* [ Pictures of the Crossroads stage show in 1989]

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