Raising curtain on top amateur drama
SITUATED on busy Milkstone Road almost at the junction of Manchester Road is the Curtain Theatre.
This unassuming looking building has been the home of amateur drama in Rochdale for over 90 years, moving there in 1933.
Their performances continued throughout the years of the Second World War and they now produce four productions each year.
A registered charity, the theatre’s staff are a thoroughly committed volunteer group – some familiar such as John Savident, Colin Baker, Arthur Pentalow, Ben Ryan-Davies and Jack Lord.
There are, of course, a whole army of supportive skills.
These are the painters, joiners, scene-shifters, front of house staff and people who are able to tackle all and any situations, including a willingness to make a cup of tea or coffee as required.
Any and all assistance is given a warm welcome.
Over the years the ‘Curtain’, has provided a magnificently wide and eclectic variety of drama for the people of Rochdale, from the traditional Christmas fun of pantomime to the high drama that is Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Still to come this year are Alan Ayckbourne’s ‘Roleplay’ on October 17 and 19 of this month, then Treasure Island later.
Visiting this theatre is a joy.
The auditorium is the traditional Gothic style of decoration and seats 80, the stage, proscenium style with the musician’s ‘pit’.
Acoustically the theatre is very sound.
Disabled patrons have the benefit of a chair-lift should they require it, that is manned at all performances.
Staff wear a rather posh-looking robe, this however is traditional going back to the days when even the ‘stars’ were obliged to help out front of house. The robes prevented them from being recognised when they later went on stage, their recognition possibly detracting from the magic that is theatre.
Other facilities are on the ground floor, emergency exits are clearly marked and accessible.
Tea, coffee and biscuits are available at intervals, but it must be said that this is a rather squashy affair and possibly not for the faint-hearted.
Attendance at the theatre is by invitation which is much less daunting than it sounds.
In order to receive an invitation just telephone 01706 642008, your invitation will then be sent by post.
All performances are free to attend.
However, in order to maintain the theatre and continue supplying the very high quality of entertainment that they do, a small donation is requested, currently the sum is a very reasonable £7.
The Curtain Theatre exterior