Shanklin Theatre has been revived and has its doors open to welcome top acts and audiences as it has done for over 130 years.
During World War Two the Theatre was used for dances and other kinds of entertainment. The Theatre seated more than 700 people but when it was used for dancing, the seats would be moved to the side to leave a large dance floor. In the basement of the Theatre is the lower room, this was used for meetings and a bar until about 2005. The Bar has now been re-installed and is currently open before shows and during the interval. Also down there, the old Wartime Control Room, strengthened by large steel girders in case of bombing.
Many famous acts have appeared at Shanklin Theatre in the past such as Matt Monro, Arthur Askey, Charlie Chester, The Beverley Sisters, and more from Semprini to Clinton Ford, Arthur Lowe to Jimmy Tarbuck etc. etc.
The Theatre was threatened with closure and possible demolition, when in 2008 the Isle of Wight Council decided that the Theatre was no longer a financially viable proposition and gave notice it would close. A group formed The Friends of Shanklin Theatre to fight the closure and talked with Shanklin Town Council on forming a Trust to take the Theatre over. Now sporting a Grade II Listed Building Certificate, the Isle of Wight Council negotiated a transfer of operation and in April 2010 the keys were handed over. Both the very experienced Sound and Lighting Technician and the Stage Manager were also transferred, thus the Theatre continues to serve the audiences and the community. With the installation of the latest technology in the Box Office and a first class on line booking facility, Shanklin Theatre was now ready for the future.
Since that time, volunteers have done much to improve the Theatre, from painting the Dressing Rooms, installing outside lighting and adding to the sound system. 2011 saw such acts as the Moscow Ballet, Al Murray, Chas and Dave, Showaddywaddy, Joe Brown, Gareth Gates, Jethro, Joe Longthorne, Rick Wakeman, Joe Pasquale, Acker Bilk and Jenny Éclair.
A new Matrix Seating System was installed in 2010. This increased the capacity of the Theatre. The system enables the level auditorium to have the seating rearranged to suit the mode of entertainment, such as installing a Wrestling Ring where part of the audience normally sit or adjusted for Wheelchairs as and when required. Many of the acts that the Theatre has seen in 2011 have so enjoyed their visit to the Isle of Wight and many of those listed will be returning in 2012 when they will find an increased capacity of 615
Shanklin Theatre and all of the volunteers, under the full time Theatre Manager and Assistant Manager, offer a warm reception to both the audiences and the Acts them. Enquiries are always welcome and for further details contact Vic Farrow, Bookings Manager on 01983 862739 or email@example.com or visit our website www.shanklintheatre.com