In 1972, the theatre club found a more permanent home when the former Wesleyan Chapel (built 1882 in Percy Street) was purchased and converted to become a 189 seat theatre. It is with great pride that the organisation now own their own theatre, which is due to the enterprise of many of its founder members.
Situated in Percy Street, and virtually hidden away just a few yards from the busy main street, visitors to the theatre have often described it as a ‘little jewel’. Over the years many alterations and improvements have been carried out to the building, and refurbishment work has ensured the comfort of all the patrons whilst affording good facilities for its members.
The main focus of activity is performing plays within the theatre; however, the social side is also recognised as being equally important. There are regular club nights when members put on play-readings, mini-play performances, quiz nights and such like. Coffee is served every Saturday morning when members meet to chat, discuss and plan various social activities. Play-readings are a regular occurrence too, usually before any formal auditions.
Everything within the theatre, whether associated with productions, rehearsals, stage management or props is carried out by the members. The theatre has its own script library and is in a position to hire out scenery cloths and furniture.
During the main theatre season, five main productions are scheduled. Each play is performed over six nights from Monday to Saturday. In the winter season, pantomimes run throughout January, usually with twelve performances, which include Saturday matinees. More details and information can be found on the theatre website here.
Tynemouth Priory Theatre will be open to the public on Saturday 14th September 2013 as part of the forthcoming Heritage Open Days and members of the theatre group will be on hand to provide behind the scenes tours between 12 noon and 4pm.
With grateful thanks to Ray Lowry for his assistance in compiling this article.
by Charlie Steel © 2013
His published books include ‘Monkseaton Village’ Vols 1 & 2, and ‘North Shields Public Houses, Inns & Taverns Part 1’, all of which are available from most local booksellers.