Playhouse

1133

The building which has survived as The Playhouse for seventy years, was built by Cecil Hepworth, Head of Hepworth Film Studios, as the power house for the film studios, which was one of the first indoor studios and one of the first to use artificial light. When the studios closed in 1924, the equipment was sold. The building was bought by George Carvill, the architect who had designed the building and an enthusiast of amateur theatre.

He designed a raked stage, wings, dressing rooms, orchestra pit, lounge and bar so that Walton would have a local theatre. Today it is used as a community theatre allowing the auditorium hall use for ballet etc. The building is quite low, with no balcony, the lounge and bar accommodation being upstairs. There is one elegant long window at the front, set in white painted brick-work. Inside, the minimal foyer with small round box office leads into the auditorium where the brickwork is painted dark red, with some gold designs, including the comedy and tragedy muses over the plain proscenium. In 1991 the building was under threat of demolition, but such was the public outcry that the Elmbridge Arts Council relented, and its use continues.

Built / Converted
1924
Dates of use
  • 1924 : continuing
Current state
Extant
Current use
Theatre (amateur theatre)
Address
Bridge Street, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
Website-
Further details
Other names
-
Events
  • Owner/Management: Later: (in continuation) Elmbridge Arts Council, owners
  • 1920 Design/Construction: as a power house
    George Carvill
    - Architect
  • 1920 Owner/Management: Hepworth Film Studios
  • 1924 Use: continuing
  • 1924 Alteration: converted to theatre
    George Carvill
    - Architect
  • 1924 Owner/Management: Walton & Weybridge UDC, owners; George Carvill, lessee
Capacities
  • Capacity
    Later
    Description
    1945: 252
  • Capacity
    Current
    Description
    220
Listings
  • Listing
    Not listed
Stage type
Rake
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: Depth: 18ft Width SL: 11ft SR: 11ft
Proscenium width: 18ft
Height to grid: No grid
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: None