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Independent theatre in Nottingham

1 October 09 words: Adrian Bhagat

There’s far more to theatre in Notts than just the Playhouse, Theatre Royal, and AmDram productions involving middle-aged men running around with their trousers round their ankles...

The Sandfield Theatre

Where is it?
In Lenton, opposite the Savoy Cinema on Derby Road.

How long has it been around?
Quite a while, now. It’s run by the City Council’s Education Department, providing opportunities for local schools and colleges to stage productions in a professional environment.

What does it specialise in?
As well as school productions, the theatre attracts professional productions including 2B Theatre’s very accessible and entertaining production of King Lear which showcased local acting and directing talent.

What’s it like inside?
A large stage and versatile performance space.

What’s coming up soon?
The New English Contemporary Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker (19 November – 5 December)

Does it do anything other than theatre?
Dance events, including several performances as part of the nottdance09 festival. Also hosts the annual Bands In The Sands competition, where school bands compete for
recognition and studio time – next one runs from 9 to 17 November.

What’s their policy on new actors?
Plays are mostly performed by students at local schools and colleges.

The Sandfield Centre, Lenton, NG7 1QH

The Lace Market Theatre

Where is it?
The Lace Market, obviously.

How long has it been around?
The company has occupied the current building since 1970, but the roots of the organisation go back to the twenties.

What does it specialise in?
Serious, well-acted drama by a company of excellent amateurs.

What’s it like inside?
An intimate stage with a 118-seat auditorium. Housed in an adapted Eighteenth Century chapel, the Lacey also has a large bar that serves as a studio space for smaller productions.

What’s coming up soon?
Holocaust drama Kindertransport (21 - 24 October), and Festen - the award-winning play about a dinner party that goes seriously, horribly wrong (9 –14 November).

Does it do anything other than theatre?
No.

What’s their policy on new actors?
Although auditions are open to non-members, you must join to take part in a play.

The Lace Market Theatre, Halifax Place, NG1 1QN.

The Nottingham Arts Theatre

Where is it?
In Hockley, close to the Broadway Cinema.

How long has it been around?
Since 1948,when it was set up and funded by the Co-Operative Society. Eight years ago, they decided that they no longer wished to be involved – luckily, a new company was created to continue the theatre’s activities in the same building.

What does it specialise in?
Mainly farces, musicals and World War II singalongs - but occasionally there are plays for a younger audience such as their successful production of rock musical Return to the
Forbidden Planet.

What’s it like inside?
A big, cold square room reminiscent of a run-down school hall. With a large stage and 320 seats, it’s by far the biggest indie theatre in Notts. Plans to renovate the building are
afoot, including the creation of a small studio space. Hopefully, they’ll also be doing something about the belowpar acoustics, and leaving the coffee bar untouched, as it sells bottles of Black Sheep Ale.

What’s coming up soon?
The Who’s Tommy (6 – 10 October), and another performance of The Nutcracker, this time performed by The Ballet Theatre UK (3 November)
Tuesday 3rd November: The Nutcracker (Ballet Theatre UK)
Saturday 28th November: Arabian Dance

Does it do anything other than theatre?
Does it ever – apart from performances a-plenty by many local dance schools, loads of touring professional shows pass through here, including ballet and dance companies, bands and even Derek Acorah-style clairvoyants.

What’s their policy on new actors?
New members are always welcome and auditions are open - meaning there’s no need to become a member if you want to act. There’s a very active youth theatre for eleven to eighteen year-olds too.

The Nottingham Arts Theatre 12 George Street, NG1 3BE.

The New Theatre

Where is it?
Situated in the Nottingham University campus.

How long has it been around?
Nobody knows, but the theatre was created by nicking space in the Archaeology and Classics building.

What does it specialise in?
Being the only entirely student-run theatre in the country (despite the fact that the University doesn’t have a drama department).

What’s it like inside?
A compact and modern-looking studio theatre.

What’s coming up soon?
Wait and see; now the students are back from their hols they will be putting in proposals for future productions.

Does it do anything other than theatre?
Nope.

What’s their policy on new actors?
If you want to get involved, you’re going to need to get yourself enrolled at the University. Time to retake those A-Levels…

The New Theatre, Cherry Tree Hill, University Park, NG7 2RD.

 

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