Rais­ing cur­tain on top am­a­teur drama

Middleton Guardian - - WHAT’S ON WITH ALL ACROSS THE ARTS - EILEEN EARN­SHAW

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

Danny Lamb

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