Bridge Theatre Company

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Freda Kelsall founded Bridge Theatre in 1987 in Hebden Bridge in the South Pennines. There was an amateur-owned Little Theatre (a converted bus garage) by the newly-restored canal, providing an intimate venue. Also, the area was a popular base for professional actors and theatre practitioners, midway between YTV and Granada.

The company began with an original Christmas play Jane And The Magic Pumpkin, with music by Christopher Irvin, which was booked the following year by Kirklees M.B.C.

By this time, it had also provided a summer repertory season (The Importance Of Being Earnest, Arms And The Man, Hedda Gabler) in Hebden Bridge.
More Christmas shows and repertory seasons followed, there, and at the Venn Street Arts Centre, Huddersfield, (Blithe Spirit, Trafford Tanzi, All My Sons, Uncle Vanya)until 1990 when the erstwhile bus garage was due to be demolished to make way for a new theatre on the same site.

Yorkshire Arts advised the company to try touring. 'Bridge' performed at theatrical and non-theatrical venues, mainly in the north of England, while Hebden Bridge Little Theatre was being rebuilt. These ranged geographically from the Whitehaven Rosehill to Chipping Norton Theatre, and included Municipal Halls, Churches and Chapels.

The most easterly venue was Sheringham Little Theatre, North Norfolk, which was to become the focus for twelve summer repertory seasons.

Meanwhile, Hebden Bridge Little Theatre re-opened, and the company performed more summer seasons there in tandem with Sheringham and revived the Christmas shows.

'Bridge' toured classic plays with the support of the National Council For Civic Theatre, (The Recruiting Officer, The Taming Of The Shrew, As You Like It), made regular visits to other venues, eg. the Richmond Georgian Theatre, and provided autumn, winter and spring repertory seasons at Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre and Buxton Opera House. Between the summer seasons 1996 and 1997, Sheringham Little Theatre was also completely gutted and rebuilt.

The company has had very little direct public funding itself, but its activity has helped to attract funding for host venues.

Bridge Theatre's celebration of repertory for Summer 2005 was staged at The Auden Theatre, Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk. This state-of-the-art 300-seat theatre opened seven years ago, and its beautiful setting and mixed programming have already endeared it to local audiences, making a major contribution to the performing arts in this region.

In previous summers, Bridge Theatre has conducted workshops and taken part in a shared production of Under Milk Wood with senior students .

The company looks forward to being reunited with its friendly audiences from near and far in these hospitable and welcoming new surroundings.

Bridge Theatre Company Jobs

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Alternative Company Names

Bridge Company, bridge tc, Bridge Theatre, Bridge Theatre Co, Bridge Theatre Co.