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The Blakehay Theatre, Weston-super-Mare

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Title: The Blakehay Theatre, Weston-super-Mare  
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Subject: Hans Price, Weston-super-Mare, Culture of Somerset
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Blakehay Theatre, Weston-super-Mare

The Blakehay Theatre, is a 207 seat theatre in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, England.


Originally built in 1850 as Wadham Street Baptist Church.[1] The building was Weston-super-Mare's first Baptist church, and was also the town's first public building.[2] In 1862 Hans Price, who became the town's leading architect, was commissioned to adapt and enlarge the building.[3] The name comes from "Black Hay", a field that originally lay between the High Street and Wadham Street.[3]

During World War II the theatre was hit by incendiary bombs. After the war it was rebuilt inside the original Victorian shell. In 1985 the building ceased to be a place of worship. In 1986 the Blakehay was saved from demolition and replacement with a block of flats by the actions of the Weston-super-Mare Building Trust and run by the Civic Society who converted into a venue for amateur and professional events and public meetings.[4] The original 230 church seats were placed on a new raked platform and the old Baptistery turned into a stage.[3]

In September 2004 Weston Town Council purchased the theatre for £195,000.[5]

  • 1850 - The Blakehay is Built
  • 1862 - The Blakehay is Enlarged
  • 1985 - The Blakehay Closes as a place of worship
  • 2004 - Weston-super-Mare Town Council Purchases The Blakehay
  • 2010 - Refurbishment begins- Work starts on refurbishing parts of the building including new toilets and bar area.
  • August 2011 - All of the theatre lighting and sound equipment are updated with new equipment.
  • August 2011 - The Jill Dando Cafe opens its doors to all and is managed by the charity The Brandon Trust.
  • September 2011 - The new theatre sound equipment is installed.
  • November 2011 - The NEW external signage, lighting and notice boards are unveiled.
  • 2012 The Comedy Box comes to Weston! - New monthly run of comedy shows from Bristol.
  • June 2012 - The Welsh National Opera performs at the theatre and in Weston-super-Mare for the first time.
  • Chew Moo Ice Creams are sold at the theatre
  • September 2012 - Launch of the New What's On Guide for the theatre.
  • September — December 2012 - The theatre is alive with a full programme of events for the winter.
  • March 2013 - The Jill Dando Cafe closes and The Brandon Trust moves from the Jill Dando Cafe to their new premises @Worle.
  • March 2013 - The front of the building gets a new lick of paint.
  • March 2013 - The backstage areas get a fresh coat of paint and the scene dock is enlarged.
  • April 2013 - Blakehay Buddy scheme launches.
  • April 2013 - Saturday Morning Children Shows are launched for a trial season.
  • May 2013 - New Online Booking facility is launched. Seating is numbered.
  • June 2013 - What's On Guide Launch Evenings are introduced.
  • August 2013 - Building works were completed to stop the damp!
  • September 2013 - New Community Evening Classes are launched with Contemporary Dance Lessons on a Wednesday evening.
  • November 2013 - Children's Saturday morning shows are back for a season.
  • December 2013 - First professional family Christmas show goes ahead at the theatre

Current use

The Blakehay Theatre operates as being a live events venue programming local and regional theatre, music and dance.[6] The venue is also home to the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) Concert Band[7] and Weston College Performing Arts department. Facilities in the building include the main Auditorium, Upper Studio, Theatre Bar, two dressing rooms and a Box Office.


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External links

  • Official Website
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